Friday, 8 June 2012

When We Believe

We want to believe. 

It's a universal human trait. Sports can bring this to center stage because instead of armies and religions, we can invest into our favorite teams without (usually) bloodshed. Last night LeBron James made many believe. Not that he's one of the greatest to ever grace the NBA--we already knew that. But we believed that's what a man looks like when he realizes his potential.

Let's step back a moment to 2008. It's the Olympics and Usain Bolt is the fastest human alive. The gun pops and the 100m race is off the blocks. Bolt immediately jumps ahead of his competitors, showcasing his aweinspiring speed and talent. For 9 seconds, the universal human spirit is enriched by the reminder of how great we can be. About how it's worth it to be the best at whatever you do. Not for the adulation, but for the sake of doing something no one else can do.

But then sometimes happens, something spirit-breaking. 

Usain Bolt showboats, eases up at the end, and effortlessly wins the race. He kicked his legs into the air and held his hands up. While he still beat the world record, he didn't fulfill his potential. Just take a look at the video for proof.
 He was young and in peak condition and his world record could have been even better. But instead, he wanted to brag during the biggest moment of his life. And that's what I remember most about him: that he acted like a jackass and let us all down by scoffing at destiny. And now, he's slower than he was and is complaining about the new Omega starting blocks as an excuse for his time slipping.

He awakens the conqueror within.

Fast forward to last night. LeBron has the taste for blood in his mouth and the hunger for victory burning in his soul. His eyes flash focus. He dominates the court, every inch of it. Slamming down rebounds, exploiting every defensive gaffe, and puzzling the Celtics with  twisting, vexing driving lanes to the hoop. At halftime, he said he only wanted to be aggressive and keep up the aggression. And that he did. And we love him for it. He took what was his. He awakened the conqueror in us all. The pursuit of excellence that drives the building of cities and great romances. LeBron dominated for four quarters and rightfully annihilated Boston. And I believe once more that potential fulfilled is beauty incarnate.

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