Nick's Journal
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2006-09-08 15:44:53 (UTC)

What makes someone bad to good to great?

i think i'm crazy, i can't subscribe to what seems to be the
most simplistic notion in all of humanity. there are some
people who are just amazing at something and then there are
those who just suck. really it's completely objective. i
mean when i watched michael jordan shoot fade-aways or
reggie bush hurtle over a defender for that one instance i
would think to myself....good god...this person is fucking
amazing. i mean not just good, but great.
or when shania twain comes onto my playlist (not that i have
ANY of her songs) and then she's followed by led zeppelin or
bob dylan or allman brothers.
now for music you could say that it isn't objective. music
is art and what one likes is purely subjective. but come
on...we can all agree at least (whether you like them or
not) that led zeppelin had more talent than britney spears.
or take for example tracy chapman an artist who i didn't
particularly like, i mean i can still conede that she was
far more talented than say justin timberlake. but i might
as well leave the area of artistry alone as it is just bound
to devolve into a shit storm on of subjectivity.
but sports. now sports is objective. tiger woods is great
it's fucking annoying. he's amazing and golf has just
turned into a spectactle in which we watch in utter
astonishment the capability of one player. in football we
have someone like tom brady, the penultimate in cool then
you have someone like joey harrington. in basketball you
have michael jordan and then you have oh i don't even know.
it's not my point to enumerate all the great players from
the good ones and then furthermore from the horrible ones.
my point does this change come about?
i subscribe to the "any given sunday" theory...that on any
given sunday one team can beat another. gosh now that i'm
writing this entry it seems so much harder to put my
thoughts into words. it's not just what makes tiger great
but what makes michael jordan better than steve kerr?
is it inherent? obviously a good deal of it all boils down
to simple phsycial capability. shit look at terrell owens
look at the williams sisters, some people are just literally
BUILT to be superstars. but that's not all. is inherent to
be able to pick out a receiver as three 400 lb men rush at
you? is it inherent in you to be able to calmly hit a lob
shot over a bunker 2 inches from the hole?
then there's practice. practice means it all. shit we've
all heard it before while watching the'd you
do it? i practiced! i practiced until i thought my heart
would explode!
really? and what about the guy who finished second by a
tenth of a second? if he had hit that one extra step or
pushed that one extra inch he would be the one saying what
you are what gave you that extra inch? was it
an extra hour of practice? an extra minute? second?
am i just answering my own question here?
is it just a simple combination of the two? practice and an
inherent capability? is it as if you had the hardware for a
supercomputer in front of you? what good is the most
powerful computer if it doesn't have the correct software?
is that what inherent ability and practice are to each other?
is that what separates people?
i don't know why i can't accept this. it's just that i
don't understand why the worst players in a league can't
automatically become the best. i mean look at Aaron Brooks
of the Oakland Raiders (former New Orleans Saints) he must
be one of the dumbest Quarterbacks alive..he constantly gets
more shots at it...and what if? what if this year he just
blows up? 30 touchdowns 2 interceptions and 10,000 yards?
is that possible?
that just brings up those flash in the pan guys. the ones
who razzle and dazzle you for one year than fade away into
if i look at my law comrades i see that some of them were
just simply NOT DESIGNED to think like a lawyer. they just
can't do it. it's not mean...but it's quite obvious when
they argue. so now you take care of those in the first what makes the best lawyers? the ones who always
continually learn? is it experience? the letter of the law
is experience and obviously a lawyer of 30 years just knows
more and is ready for more scenarios than a 2 year lawyer.
well then let me pose this theory (combined with the
'tipping point theory of malcolm gladwell)
life is not a level playing field some of us are born poor
some of us are born crippled some of us are born none too
bright. we are not all able to do everything (despite what
the ACLU and the feminists wish to say to contrary). i
believe we are all better at certain things than other
things (take michael jordan and baseball...he was
then once you find that and realize it practice the hell
out of it. dedicate everything you can to be the best
surgeon, the best accountant the best golfer the best tennis
player. now we're in the second stage of my theory. you've
had your break-out season you've shown what you can do and
then comes the tipping point. at some point there is a
cut-off between the flash in the pan and the longevity of
fame garnered by larry bird or joe montana. admittedly i
don't know what that point is. is it that one putt that
drops? that one pass that completes? i don't know. but
just somewhere along the lines you hit that break-out run
and cross the goal line and you've tipped over into stardom.
at that point you enter what the sports guy has called the
"screw it, I'm keith hernandez" stage. it's where a guy has
done so well that he just does things that a normal guy
would not do. take kobe bryant, the man shoots about 110
shots a game and banks in 81 points...impressive? sure!
but who else would dare do that? take brett favre vs. the
eagles about 2-3 years ago. they're down 3 with about a
minute left; they have a 4th and 28 in the middle of the over right? nope..instead brett favre shoots a
laser at antonio freeman right down the middle. i bet all
of the defenders on the eagles must have been like..."
way, he's not going straight down the...god damn it!"
then it is just as simple as you having had the INHERENT
good things feed upon themselves and eventually snowball
into something great.
well that's what i'll try to think from now on as i watch

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