Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Rarity of Greatness

"And greatness, no matter how brief, stays with a man." - Gene Hackman at the end of the movie The Replacements.
I recently watched a replay of the 2013 ESPN E:60 program where they profiled pitchers that have thrown a perfect game in baseball. This feat is a rarity, only 23 official perfect games have been thrown in major league baseball in the last 151 years (218,400 games as of mid-2019). This got me thinking about winning championships. Though I don't have the data to back this up, winning a championship is also rare. Considering the number of athletes competing in EVERY sport throughout time, winning a championship has to be rare. The Tom Bradys, Michael Jordans, and Dale Earnhardts of the world are a rarity, the vast majority of people who have participated in sports have never won a championship.

In the many years of multiple sports that I participated in, I only have one championship to my name, the 1974 Copper Bowl (Tucson) in youth football where we beat Montebello, CA 40-14. We were undefeated (9-0-2) and a motley crew of misfits with a coach who, in only three years of coaching, won 3 straight championships; he knew what he was doing, he knew how to win a championship. The team I quarterbacked was his only undefeated team (it was also his last).
The point to all this is that nobody can ever take that championship away from me; I will forever be a champion and to paraphrase Gene Hackman, that will always stay with me. I have achieved something rare and it does mean something all these years later. The feeling never goes away and it's a good anchor for anything in life - I know how to win. This applies to any endeavor that I take on. I have been on top many times in my life and that lone championship so long ago taught me how to get there and continues to do so.
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