DNA or Hard Work

You’d be forgiven if you failed to catch an article in today’s Wall Street Journal called, The NHL’s Telepathic Twins.  It’s worth a look because it discusses whether the phenomenal success of the Vancouver Canucks’ Sedin twins is due to their shared DNA or to the many years they’ve played together, practicing the same things day after day.  The article also mentions two synchronized swimmers who achieved Olympic success, who spent so much time together they synchronized their heartbeats before a meet.

I’m not a huge sports guy anymore.  I once was, many moons ago.  But, a slow and steady disconnect occurred for me over the course of twenty years (the Toronto Maple Leafs are mostly to blame, but not completely) to the point now where I feel that professional sports, by and large, is a racket. I feel it has become simply a device meant to enrich a very lucky few at the expense of a great many who just want to believe in a dream.  

So when sports does catch my attention at all these days, it seems to be when it deals with a particularly quirky topic or with rare moments of athletic beauty.  I’ve always been enthralled with the grace of a fade-away jumper, a one-handed leaping catch in the end zone, a time-stopping glove save, and a perfectly placed bunt.  They’re extremely rare and perhaps so because those might be the nexus moments of science and human spirit.  You can’t plan for them to happen as effortlessly as they appear but you can work had and do all the right things to increase the odds that they will.  In the college basketball obsessed years of my youth, Bill Cartwright was one player who stood out for me. Besides the fact that he was good, his appeal for me lay in one specific and very interesting behavior. He practiced shooting baskets each day of the year and was so disciplined about it that he made sure he successfully shot at least one hundred baskets per day, from a different spot everyday but from one spot on any given day.  That’s focus and determination.  It paid off for him and he likely had no idea of the influence he had on guys like me who read about it in Sports Illustrated as we tried to find ways to inspire our own game.  The notion is similar to what my wife and I said to our niece who is studying the viola.  We read it somewhere and it seems to make sense….. practice something, any one thing or task, one thousand times and you’ll become a master of it.  Juggle three balls, shoot a basket from the same spot, pass a puck to the same person without looking, or play a concerto over and over, everyday.  You can probably tell by now which side of the DNA vs Time debate I come down on.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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