Sources of Inspiration

On Saturday, I watched the USA women’s basketball team play Croatia. It was a fantastic game, mostly because the US team was anticipated to dominate (in an exhibition game, the US beat Croatia by 54 points), but didn’t do so until the fourth quarter. At several points, it looked like Croatia might win. As it turned out, the final score was 81-56. My friend, who steadfastly predicted that the US women would win by over 20 points despite leading by only 4 points with 9 minutes left in the game, remarked that when one team is so much better than another, the underdog’s luck will eventually run out. This reaffirmed my faith that sports, like many things, are more about achievement and skill than luck (yes, I root for the dynasties/the Yankees/Michael Phelps because I love to witness true greatness). Congratulations to both teams for their achievements.

For my last post as a July guest blogger, I am linking to one of the other favorite things I’ve viewed this summer. It’s a TED talk by brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor about her experience having a stroke, and the insights she gained about how the different sides of the brain impact our perceptions of our place in this world. Like the Olympics, it’s truly inspiring.

Thanks to CoOp for the opportunity to blog during a wonderful July. In addition to being truly awestruck by the achievements of our athletes and brain researchers, I finished my law review article, precipitated by great comments on posts during my April guest blogging stint. I have greatly enjoyed the discussions on my other posts as well.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Howard Wasserman says:

    Actually, one of the interesting (and ignored) things is how much sports *is* all about luck, especially in a single game or a short series. A lot depends on just how big the gap between the teams is. For every game like this, there are countless examples in which the better team let a weaker team hang around for a long time and ultimately ended up losing when strange things happened.

  2. A.J. Sutter says:

    Affirming Howard: e.g. World & European football (soccer) champions Spain being eliminated in the first round of Olympic competition, after losing to Japan and Honduras.

    And then there are the sports where winning is dependent on judging, adding other things to the mix than achievement, skill and luck.

    And, apropos of the “many things,” there are things like the ability to find and retain a job, in which achievement and skill are gradually becoming less reliable guarantors of success.

    The tendency of sports to brand people as winners and losers is maybe not what we ought to admire most about them. Is someone who gets a gold as the product of a multi-million-dollar, high-tech national program that he has pursued full-time for years more “truly great” than someone from a poorer country who makes it into the Olympic finals while she’s been working her day job or taking care of a sick family member? I’m not sure it’s so easy to say.