Badgered with Ben Algar: Good Luck

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What to do? What to do? What is worth “IT?” How can one gauge that question?

Gorge Saunders, acclaimed fiction writer, once told me, “And so it’s like, well, that girl is either going to go out with you or not. And she’s going to either have fun or not. So it’s up to you to make sure she has a great date. Same thing with writing a book. You can be as smart as you like, but if you can’t make the story alive then you lose. You have to be sensitive to what you have that makes you special as an artist. And it takes time to figure that out.”

You have to have a feeling for your surrounding, for yourself and reality.

“So football players, right? You’re saying they’re not just glunk heads who have an affinity for bear hugging other men? And soccer players aren’t just thespians with good foot to eye coordination? And baseball isn’t a league of junkies and drunks? And basketball isn’t just a league of criminals who were dealt a better hand than the rest?”

No, not exactly, because those are some riveting descriptions of professional sports, a look at them from very creative angles. But, no. What Saunders and I are getting at is that the athlete is changing, and that emotional value needs to be contextualized in the world of professional sports for one to figure himself or herself out.

Robert Griffin III (RGIII) revolutionizes the game of football, and now he’s conducting the DC train. Washington picked RGIII second overall in the NFL draft after trading up for the Ram’s second pick with three first round picks and one second round pick.

So was it worth it?

DC fans all over the nation have flocked to stores to buy their own RGIII jerseys, even before the college football phenom appears under center. It seems Redskins’ fans’ dreams have come true. I can attest to that. Finally, a quarterback with grit and talent, and the motivation needed to charge a talented offense and inspire a ruggedly tough defense.

After not having a winning season since 2007, RGIII seems to be the teaspoon of sugar that’ll make the medicine go down, hopefully for a record number of touchdowns. I project that the mobile quarterback will make its mark on the NFL, and that the stationary QB hasn’t solidified itself as the champion formula. And while all QBs have to be mobile in some way, it should be recognized that the QBs who find comfort outside of the pocket have made great feats in the modern day NFL.

I couldn’t be more excited, and neither could DC fans.

But what’s more important is what RGIII brings to the sport, which is near and dear to his heart: creativity.

In my experience I’ve noticed that creativity inspires athletes everwhere. Take for instance formations, plays and unorthodox tactics. Every athlete wants to bring something new to his or her sport, whether it is an old-fashion game play or a revolutionized tactic. Sports continually revolutionize in part because of the players that perform them and because of board consensus.

We’ll watch Big Ben from Pittsburgh take his team to the Super Bowl, win and leave a talented opponent in shambles. Ben can split apart a defense better than a hatchet cleaves a coconut. And his size advances his game to new levels, making his mobility much more of a weapon than opponents might assume. But he’s still playing hardball, a cutthroat gridiron game that existed well before Big Ben slipped into a Steelers’ jersey.

Now, I mean no disrespect towards Big Ben and the Steelers. They’re a fantastic football team. There’s more to sports, and players are just now starting to realize.

Say Joe Schmoe writes a book. He could emulate Hemingway, for all it’s worth. His writing would probably sound stilted. His sentences overused. And his voice wouldn’t have any complexion, color or personality. He’s the Hemingway of today.

Critics may say, “He’s the Hemingway of today, a revolutionary fiction writer with the clarity of his predecessor and idol. Schmoe boils his words down perfectly, contracting that which the significant Hemingway had before him.”

That’s nice and all, but wouldn’t you think Schmoe would rather receive praise like this?:

“Schmoe trumps the world of fiction writers with a style all his own. The newfound phenom grabs ahold of you, holds his words to your throat and beckons you to fall in love with his writing. Schmoe revolutionizes fiction in a way that Hemingway only wish he had.”

The second critique intimates the feeling of actual accomplishment. Having made a personal feat, one which defines the individual in his own terms, makes the endeavor much more bold and inspiring.

Derrick Rose hasn’t had difficulty finding his creativity on the court. The basketball phenom plays his game three ticks faster than everyone else on the court. His shooting is in shambles, but his ball penetration is out of this world. Rose intimates himself as the most dangerous player in the league. At six foot five inches, Rose might seem like a perimeter shooting point guard, but the world must also hold its secrets.

Rose won MVP his third year in the league, proving to himself and the NBA that his game, though unorthodox, trumps the competition.

And there are athletes like this all over the nation. Lebron James, the linebacker of shooting guards in the NBA. John Isner, a tennis player with basketball height and a game as solid as the world’s number one. Travis Pastrana, X Games idol turned Nascar driver.

RGIII isn’t the first to inspire his game, but there is something about him that makes people believe he’ll be the initiator of a sport revolution.

You take one look at the kid and you’ll think … prime rib for those hungry linebackers and outside tackles. You’ll see him walking around in his uniform, goofy cartoon socks on his feet and running up his legs. His smile is like a blooming flower, he’s engaged to be married and he has a Heisman Trophy under his belt. And if you hear him talk about football you get the idea that the kid could’ve had any passion in the world and would’ve made it work for his future. He’s motivated by the sport, not the money.

RGIII is the epitome of what sports have become and are now being recognized for. RGIII will no doubt make his mark in every way he can. Washington needs the help. Perhaps all they needed was a player who loved the sport, a kid who’s in touch with himself and can make the experience of playing pro-ball a memorable one.

I played baseball for years. I played hardball, literally and figuratively. The game never changed. I wasn’t ready to make my mark. I new kids who tried to, but I was never close friends with them.

After finding out that I gained an immense satisfaction from making things up, writing and storytelling, I realized that my training in baseball was all for naught. I went about it the wrong way. Instead of doing something because I loved it, I tried to be the absolute best. Early on in my writing career I made the same mistake.

But eventually I found out what makes one better than the other.

A winner is born of passion and sincere motivation while attempters are born of hopeless attempts at gold digging and false intimation.

I’m truly inspired by the works of big name authors, screenwriters and directors. But the works of inspired artists who exist on the fringe of stardom, those who have either found a sincere passion for art or who have the will to make it somehow and are trying to fall in love with it, inspires me.

Good for RGIII, wearing his Angry Bird knee socks and his steadfast attempt to be himself no matter what the world says of him. So what if he’s a football player in the NFL at this point. As a person, RGIII has made the most significant of all accomplishments.

So while I graduate and move on with my life, and RGIII moves on with his career, I wish every last one of you the best of luck. Remember that the key to success is not harbored in a bank, trust fund or lucky break. You should learn to love what you do, learn to be yourself and not let critics tell you that you’re no different than the rest.

Good luck Badgered fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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