Planned Success?

On a frigid fall night in New York, as I stood in front of the basketball hoop on my driveway, my mind was spinning.  It was 2 AM before my first day of classes as a high schooler, but more importantly it was the night before the tryouts for the JV basketball team. The prior season I rode the bench and was doing everything in my control during the offseason to perfect my game.

 

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What I looked like before high school

I was never the greatest athlete nor was I born with the greatest talent, but coming into high school everyone started fresh in the eyes of the new coach.  Hobbes’s manifested the theory that all men were created equal.  Everyone starts at a similar point whether it be sports, school, or acting and have the ability to control their own destiny.

One the biggest inspirations in my life is Tom Brady.  Everyone knows of tom Brady as the nine time all star and three time super bowl champion, however this was not always the case.  He was never the most talented quarterback and did not have a prototypical body and arm that scouts looked for in quarterbacks.  He was even forced to split time with quarterback Drew Henson, during his senior season at Michigan.  Brady ended up being picked with the 199th pick in the sixth round, with six quarterbacks being selected before him.  He can be seen crying during an interview, because of how upset he was about being pick so late in the draft.

 

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Tom Brady looking scrawny and weak at the NFL Combine 

However, Brady shut up his critics and took advantage of his fresh start in the NFL.  Brady spent countless hours at the gym, and outworked everyone.  Similar to Brady’s success, I ended up being a three year starter on my varsity basketball team, overcoming my deficiencies.

 

In this instance Brady showed that there is an element of control in how successful one becomes.  This was also evident from what I achieved on my high school team.

But does everyone have control over whether they succeed? Does everyone get the job they want?  Can the strength of the weak really take out the strength of the strong?  Do we really believe no is subordinate to anyone else?

 

I did end up starting on my varsity team because I worked head and shoulders more than anyone else.  However, the star of the team rarely put in hours at the gym, quarreled with the coaches, and skipped mandatory workouts because of his natural talent.  Is it really in our control to decide where we end up?  I would have loved to go to the NBA, was it realistic or even a possibility? Heck no!


Nonetheless, I believe that Hobbes is stating that everyone cannot be completely equal in the long run and people don’t have complete control over whether they succeed or not rather it is up to them to make the most out of their given opportunities.  Hobbes also states that “strength of the weak really take out the strength of the strong” which I believe means that generally the weak may not be able to take down the strong, but on any given night anything could happen.  And Herb Brooks, the USA Hockey coach from the Miracle movie, perfectly sums it up by preaching that “One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight.”  

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One comment

  1. katemrod · November 7, 2014

    I found this blog post extremely interesting. While I do believe certain people are simply gifted athletically, one aspect of sport that I find fascinating is that natural ability can only go so far before an athlete has to put in hard, dedicated time into his sport. Also, the unpredictability of sport is what makes it so compelling. Now there is no denying that certain people are just better athletes than others. For example, by just the age of 10, Sidney Crosby was scoring somewhere between 250-300 points in just 55 games, even though he was playing with boys three years his senior. That’s just absolutely incredible natural talent. But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t work hard or is above any other player in the NHL. Chris Kunitz, his linemate for the past few years now, has a Stanley Cup and a Gold Medal, despite never being drafted at all. Bottom line, sport is nothing without work ethic and dedication. And, if you can’t tell I’m from Pittsburgh at this point, I show one more example. In 2013, after a 20+ year playoff drought, the Pittsburgh Pirates had one chance to showcase their talent: the wild-card game. Despite being the total underdogs, on that one night, they prevailed to beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-2. I believe their success on that one night can be contributed to pure work ethic and the unifying quality of being part of a team. That’s what I love about sports- on any given night, anything can happen.

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