Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why I Watch

The NBA Finals are about to kick off, and it got me thinking.

I've been watching pro basketball since I was a little kid, and I rarely miss the Finals. When I was younger, my father teased my brother and I all the time about getting so involved in professional sports. His favorite taunt was "You don't make any money when they win." Of course, my dad is now a Tiger Woods fanatic, and I never miss an opportunity to throw his taunt back in his face.

 Such is the circle of life.

Anyway, lately I've been thinking about the way I spend my time. As a married father of two, time is one of my most precious possessions. There is always something that needs to be done at my house and over the years I've had much less time to devote to watching the NBA and following its players.

But, the love is still there.

I still love talking about basketball, thinking about basketball and watching basketball. Over the years I've been exposed to different aspects of the game from coaches and friends (Shout to M32 for all those late night film sessions) and I think I've gained a decent appreciation for the nuances of the sport. Often, I will go over techniques with a friend of mine and everyday we're amazed at all the little things that these professional athletes consider when making themselves outstanding.

I think that's how I justify my time investment in sports. Honestly, it's not like they're very important in the grand scheme of life. The outcomes of contrived contests will not save lives or feed people. Sports are not important despite what people tell you about how they build character and save lives. It's true that they can do that, but so can a lot of things. And you don't get paid millions of dollars for doing most of them.

But, what sports do provide, if you're intrepid enough to search for it, is an ability to acquire knowledge and then put it into action on a fairly obvious basis. They can allow you to examine cause and effect, or considering the impact human relationships have on outcomes. When you're pondering how Kobe managed to escape a double team with a smooth reverse pivot, you should stop and consider the hours of dedication and preparation that go into truly being great. Looking at John Stockton or Deron Williams run the pick and roll is a lesson in mastery.

Watching NBA should give you an appreciation for anybody who has attained mastery in the their craft. It doesn't mattern if their craft isn't particularly important in the grand scheme of life. Just the chance to watch mastery, is a privilege.

And that's why I watch.



Redbonegirl97 said...

Great post and point of view.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Shady_Grady said...

There is a book by Malcolm Gladwell that argues that it takes at least 10,000 hours of work to reach mastery in a given field.

There are stories of Coltrane practicing between concert sets. Prince, James Brown and Bob Marley would rehearse their bands for upwards of ten hours a day and then go into the studio to record. Hendrix was considered odd for the amount of guitar practice he did as a paratrooper and later as a session guitarist. Even as a superstar his obsessive attention to detail drove other musicians to distraction.

Hard work pays.

Raving Black Lunatic