Thursday, September 01, 2005

Not Happy With the Result? Just Quit

Blogs, I guess, are sometimes viewed as some sort of electronic confessional, at least as they are used by some bloggers and viewed by some blog readers. That being the case, I confess that I am a bit of a sports junkie. It is probably due to the fact that I was such a poor student in grammar school that by the time I got to high school I found myself in school six days a week trying to catch up, and the only respite from the "catching up" was sports. In any case, here I am still mad because the Dodgers moved; I’m wondering if the Knicks will make it back to the NBA finals in my life time; and worried sick that Eli Manning might not be "the answer" and if I should start a petition to bring back Y.A. Tittle.

What got me thinking about all this? While doing my three hour, 143 mile weekend commute to my house in Rhode Island, I came across a sports nut named Jim Rome, that I now understand (and after listening to him was not surprised to learn) has had millions of listeners for many years (he calls them "clones"). Jim rants about a lot of stuff, has a great and funky sense of humor, which is reflected back in many of the calls and/or e-mails that he gets during the course of a broadcast and many of which are very funny.

While the focus is sports, we all know perfectly well that sports and what goes on in sports is simply a microcosm of our society in general, and as such, Rome often talks about things that remind you just how unimportant some things are and -- more importantly -- reminds you to keep things in perspective.

By way of example, this past Friday, he was talking about why he had decided to give up golf. He called it a tough game, and said it was too hard to really get good. And besides, he read a story from a paper somewhere out West about a guy who had been in a wheelchair since he was injured in an auto accident nearly 20 years ago and who had just scored the second hole-in-one in his career. With his semi-sarcastic humor, he was telling the audience that he was going to quit since clearly the odds of an able-bodied person getting a hole-in-one was almost actuarially impossible, and here was a man in a wheelchair who had not only gotten one but two, there was certainly no point in Rome working any more at trying to get any better.

Rome then went on for roughly ten minutes talking about the scores of things that most of us complain about all the time as we feel frustrated about really important stuff like people who don't signal for turns or feeling sorry for ourselves because things didn't go so well at the office. I can't recall all the examples he gave, but after each one he would just say "Quit." As he continued with example after example, it just made you feel smaller and smaller and more ashamed of yourself when you realized that any time you think you have put effort into something and haven't attained your goal maybe you needed to rethink the word “effort.” I thought about it even as I was stuck in traffic and waiting behind all those folks headed to Cape Cod.

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