Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sports: Gamers

There is an interesting figure in sports: the Gamer.  I don't think it translates to real life at all.  We don't really have practices in the corporate world that we can crap our way through only to come up big for three hours a week (or every few nights depending on your sport).  Sure there are moments more important than others, but by and large we have to at least be passable almost all the time.

Gamers are different.  They suck in tryouts, suck in practices, but when they get on the field, the court, the ice, they kill.  Rags to riches quarterbacks are a good example.  Tom Brady, Trent Dilfer, even Brett Favre, these guys all performed poorly enough in evaluations to be relegated to the bench at one point in their careers, but their rings speak for themselves.  When gameday comes, they're straight up money.

I've been that way my entire life when it comes to sports.  I got cut from the Bowling team twice before finally making it into the final slot.  Every start I had resulted in a career high series and the team won the league championship.  Baseball wasn't too different in high school either.  I made the team as a pitcher at the pitching coach's insistence and started the season #6 in the rotation.  By the end of the season I was the guy warming up in the bullpen should things go awry in the sectional championship game.  I always used to pitch batting practice in other leagues because the batters would be all over me and it was be good for their confidence, but come gametime I was money.  The last three years I played I finished 9-0, 9-1, and 2-4 on teams that finished 13-2, 13-6, and 2-12, and most of those were complete games.

I can't explain the trait and it's an unfortunate one to have in any world where you don't have to perform.  Status is obtained through consistently good performances.  You rarely get the big money moment without having proven yourself unequivocally.  That hurts those of us that do better when the pressure and the difficulty are amped up.  We have to wade through all the mundane shit we aren't good at before we get to that point, and because of our nature, we often never do.  My best grades were in my most difficult classes...but I had to struggle through the early classes to get there, at times questioning whether I had the talent to make it.  My best work was on the hardest project on which I had almost full control...but that responsibility was borne out of luck, typically it takes a while before you get to that point, you have to earn that trust.

I've never been the sit on the bench and learn type guy.  Give me the ball and let's go.  I just hope I can find a way to use that to my advantage rather than be inhibited by it.

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