Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Moral Imperative Of Optimism

These days, everything is about the Warriors. At the dentist's I talk Jesse at the front desk, wondering at Monday night's game for the ages, observing that, looking forward, the Spurs are vulnerable and we might face OKC. At the front desk of my gym, the pretty attendant says, “Go dubs!” (“dub” stands for the “W” in Warriors -- phonetically, say "W" and it starts with the sound "dub"). Her colleague Charles asks me what I think about the game last night. It's just all over town, thinking about the Warriors, looking forward to the close out.

I see my old swimming friend Dean in the hot tub after working out. Now retired, Dean was a teacher of at risk kids. His wife is a therapist. She ran a workshop last weekend and wondered to the group what inspired them. There were various things, but they all agree on one: the Warriors. Dean says that he looked back over his list of at-risk students and realized that eight were now dead. Nonetheless, he plowed on with his work and now plows on with his life. When he meditates, he thinks: the Warriors never give up, and I won't either.

We all know it's temporary, like all of life. Appreciate it while you have it. Someone said that the Warriors are at their apogee right now, and that's probably right. Bodies age and decay, contracts expire and greener fields beckon. Coaches get recruited elsewhere. Be Here Now.

At the same time, while working out I listened to the Fareed Zakaria podcast with the former Finance Minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis. He tells Fareed how Europe is falling apart. He says, what if Greece were Nevada, and no one were around to bail them out, and the contagion spread to Missouri, and then Oklahoma, and then California. That's what is happening in Europe, that's what must be prevented.

“Are you optimistic or pessimistic?” asked Fareed.

Varoufakis replied: “There is a moral imperative to be optimistic. To be optimistic is to express a faith. There are no facts, just belief.”

In other words, when you launch the shot, you have to think every time that it is going in, and when it doesn't, just launch again and believe again. That's the only way to win. That's what shooters believe, that's what Curry thought when he passed it to Harrison Barnes for the tying shot, “I showed him confidence in him.” Confidence matters.

Which is imitating which, life or sports?

Budd Shenkin

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