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Why We Should All Go a Little Linsane
Husband: "Sports-related thing!"
Husband (with feeling): "SPORTS-RELATED THING!"
Wife: "Yes, you're absolutely right. "
Husband: "No...Sports! Related! Thing!?!"
Lately though, he's been telling me about a story that really captured my imagination -- along with the rest of the world's. Jeremy Lin, as every sports fan knows (and every spouse of a sports fan has a vague awareness of), has in the past few weeks gone from being an unknown bench player who was sleeping on his brother's couch to being the subject of ecstatic, punning headlines on every sports page everywhere. (LINSANITY!) When several of the Knicks' main players had to sit out with injuries, recent Harvard grad Lin was called up to play. What resulted was a five-game (so far) winning streak, ecstatic fan freak-outs, an increased interest in the usually uninspiring New York Knicks, and a flurry of editorials on how Lin's emergence will change the world of race in sports.
I love what Jay Caspian Kang wrote for Grantland: "Then there's this very sappy reason for why Linsanity has taken off in New York: Basketball is at its best when five guys who love to play with one another outhustle and outplay a more talented opponent...The Linsanity Knicks run hard, play unselfishly, chest-bump, and play with a swagger that has nothing to do with the other team." In other words, here are people working hard, playing together, and having fun. Isn't that what sports should be all about? Or, for that matter, life? (Read Kang's whole piece for a cogent analysis of what makes this player great.)
What really inspires about the Lin story—uh, Linspires?—is the idea that someone's prodigious talents can be quietly overlooked for years, and that if he keeps working hard and doing what he loves, something good will come of it. He might just even school a group of sweaty millionaires in the true meaning of teamwork.
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