Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jerry West

Yesterday my co-ed flag football team lost 6-0. We had the ball on the 2 yard line with one play remaining and couldn't score. I hate losing. I have the annoying tendency to wrap my identity into the task presently at hand - even if that task is co-ed flag football. Thus losing is more than losing; it is a mini-identity crisis. It took some some heartbreak a few years ago to realize just how crippling this tendency can be. Slowly I'm learning a better way to live, and I think I'm finally becoming an enjoyable person to be around.

Yet it's good to know that I'm not alone. I just read this article on Jerry West, and we seem to have a lot in common. I wish we shared the same athletic prowess, but alas we share the same dysfunction - perfectionism. In spite of unparalleled respect in NBA circles, West says, "Self-esteem is something I still battle. People look at me and say you've got fame, you've got admiration, you've done this, you've done that. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't done anything." In spite of 14 All-Star appearances, 7 appearances in the NBA Finals, and 1 NBA Championship, West says, "All I did was learn how to lose... Go in that other locker room and see what it's like. It's the worst feeling in the world. You feel like you're lost. You hate yourself. You can't stand yourself, and we praise the winners."

The article is a fascinating, surprisingly honest take on one of the NBA's greatest stars. It reminded me of the pitfalls of defining myself by my performance. But beyond the psychology, it's a great read.

- Joel

1 comment:

Mom said...

Glad to see you still have time to blog. You've grown so much! I loved you before but really like who you are becoming!