I have a thing for SportsCenter. There’s something about ESPN that just really does it for me. And I know what it is (besides the overflow of testosterone). This news media outlet is not scary. Every other news station out there tries to reach out, grab your eyeballs and attach them to their screen with teasers like, “How we know you’re going to die a violent death and HOW YOU JUST MIGHT, MAYBE, POSSIBLY BE ABLE TO STOP IT!!! Next on the News at 10.”
But not the guys at SportsCenter.
They love the game, the love the athletes, they have fun. And when there is drama – cough, cough ‘Tiger’ – they somehow still manage to stick to the facts and not so much the soap opera, focusing on what it will mean to the game of golf. I know, it’s mind-blowing.
This morning I was at the gym, and while I really abhor TV, the screens are inescapable. So I make sure that I’m stationed in front of SportsCenter – just in case my Eye of the Tiger concentration should get distracted. Which it did. And I found myself watching highlights from the Olympics – where yesterday, Lindsey Vonn and two other U.S. dudes won gold medals. And then I was watching crazy basketball highlights where huge men were leaping gracefully into the sky at just the right moment, catching the ball and slamming it into the basket.
Makes me tingle
I got shivers. Everything I saw was so beautiful, so extraordinary. It made me work out harder, feeling my own strength and power. It also made me think about Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk. You know her, right? She wrote Eat, Pray, Love – a masterful memoir that is so authentically real it’s almost blog like. Almost.
In her talk, which I highly recommend that any human (but especially us creative types) watch (and I’ve posted below), she talks about creative genius. She talks about the fact that now that she’s ostensibly hit her ultimate peak with her last book, it is expected that she can only go downhill with her highly anticipated follow-up.
Apparently, this is a typical phenomenon for anyone who has reached such heights. As she notes, she topped out at 40, so she has 40 more years (give or take) of never being quite that good again – according to this fear-based wisdom, that is.
Lindsey Vonn is 26. When she gets home in a few weeks, will she sink into a deep, dark depression and think that she’ll never be that good again? Will others assume that as well? Is this, then, as good as it gets?
I’m going to say NO. And I’m going to say it in a very loud and strong voice. Because ewwww. Who wants to live like that? I can tell you that I do not.
When these professional basketball players woke up yesterday morning, they knew they were good athletes, they knew they were strong and agile. But did they know exactly how the ball would come to them during the game? Did the know exactly how they would jump and twist and grab and dunk? No and no.
Gilbert discusses the unrealistic expectations we place on geniuses to be genius…and it made me think about what’s coming next, what we can’t see – how maybe some thing, some accomplishment, some physical and creative feat is still out there, around the corner, barreling towards us.
Yesterday, I (and Writing Roads) had a really, really good day. When I woke up, all I had was me – my knowledge of who I am and what I want to do. The rest lay before me sight unseen. I had no reason to think the day would unfold like it did, but as I sat on the edge of my bed, ready to put my feet on the floor and get moving, I thought, Who the hell knows? Maybe today will be the day that things really come together. Maybe today will be my best day yet.
And it was. You know why? Because I’m with SportsCenter. I’m not in it for the fear. I’m in it for the love of the game and its players and my team. And because I really do think there’s always somewhere farther, longer, stronger, better and higher to go.
Image credit: jjaani