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I’m with SportsCenter

By February 18, 2010How To, Myth or Reality, Writing

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.

Ah…fear-based wisdom

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.

Waking up

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

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    I love that Elizabeth Gilbert TED talk. I saw it a while ago and it made me want to have sex with her. I did read Committed (her follow up to Eat Pray Love) and I think it’s actually a better book. Might not sell as many copies, but she’s definitely following her calling and that’s the most any of us can hope for in this life.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..The Oddest Communication Advice You’ll Ever Read =-.

  • Mary says:

    I love the energy in this post and the SportsCenter analogies but I personally find Gilbert to be false, contrived and annoying so I skipped over that part….anyway, thanks for the reminder to be in the moment and not keep trying to look ahead.
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Reusing and Recycling Old Wallpaper Samples into Paintings =-.

  • Oh wow! I’m so glad I have discovered you (I know…which rock have I been hiding under). I love how down to earth your words are and yes, just like Sport Center, filled with love.

    Your last two paragraphs really hit me hard (whiny baby tears being strongly suppressed)…

    “When I woke up, all I had was me – my knowledge of who I am and what I want to do…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.”

    Every morning I wake up I KNOW what I want to do with my life. I’ve been struggling to do it the way others do it, fighting my natural urge just to share as I am and according to my passion.

    Thank you for this post. I’m going to continue to go farther, play longer and stronger and reach my greatest heights!


  • Julie Roads says:

    Well, now you’re going to make me cry, Farah! Stop fighting that natural urge. There’s only one you, yes? The world is waiting to see what YOU bring to the table.

  • *sniff sniff* Thanks Julie! I just reread your blog and listened to the video 3 times…you have no idea what you’ve inspired in me right now :)Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Farrah! Keep us posted…can’t wait to see what you do with this inspiration!!!

  • Thanks Julie! I will! :) HUGS!
    .-= Farrah J Phoenix´s last blog ..Book to Movie Hype: Can it Last? =-.

  • Aaron Pogue says:

    That was exquisite, Julie. I came here for solid advice about writing (Kelly claims you know your stuff), but I was not prepared.

    I love the way you put this post together — the message and the method. Your intro grabbed me, your body was striking, but the way you pulled it all together at the end was just beautiful.

    Your article about lying and copyblogging is clever and genuine, but this one is genius. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Aaron Pogue´s last blog ..What I Learned about Writing this Week from Aaron Pogue =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thank you, Aaron! I’m not gonna lie, that’s got to be one of my favorite comments ever!

    The solid advice usually comes by way of private consultation…this ‘advice’is often much more intangible and open to personal interpretation – which I love.

    Can’t wait to check out your site…

  • Julie Velez says:

    Hi Julie!

    Amazing post! Aaron (above) actually recommended it to me and I <3 it a lot. I saw EG's TED talk a while back and it struck me very similarly. However, I was not nearly as eloquent when I tried to tell other people about it! Anyway, kudos! You've got yourself a new reader!


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