|Baby Mario Kart|
A few weeks ago, I played Mario Kart on a Nintendo Gamecube, for the first time. Both for Mario Kart and the Gamecube (yes, don't judge me!). I played with another friend, C, who had also never played hand-held video games before. What was interesting was how the Dutchman, who witnessed our feeble attempts at racing Mario around the different tracks, remarked that I played better than C.
It would be easy to pin it down to ability, but opportunity should also be taken into account. For example, I had access to computers and all kinds of technological gizmos since I was five, while C only encountered and started regularly using a computer in her workplace, at the age of 23 or so.
The level of hand-eye coordination or whatever other psychomotor skills I have must be in part due to having been exposed to years of computers, online games, Tamagotchis, and electronic diaries, calendars, dictionaries, etc. I had the opportunity of being able to use all these things. I also had the opportunity to take computer lessons in school at the age of 10, where we experimented with typing games.
Take oil painting and sports for example. In high school I had a friend who was really good at oil painting. But that was because his parents were both artists and so he had the opportunity to experiment and gain experience in using oils, which is an expensive painting medium!
In the ISS, the students play sports every Sunday. For soccer especially, more women get the opportunity to play in an all-women's team, and so they get better. It would be fallacious to say that girls can't play soccer well when they may have never had the opportunity to play, train, and develop skills before.
Likewise, during my short stint as a sports assistant in Boccia, it was clear how good equipment was particularly crucial to the success of the training and performance of athletes in the BC3 category. Even in the Olympics, where athletes try to shave off milliseconds from their time, a special streamlined outfit that costs thousands of dollars can help.
Therefore, opportunity comes with money, and what we often mistake as ability can often be the result of life chances that are linked to one's class.