There Are Billions of Us & We Still Find Us Interesting ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, December 07, 2007

There Are Billions of Us & We Still Find Us Interesting

A Lesson in Individuality from Basketball

Humans, they're everywhere. What's surprising is that we still spend most of our lives watching each other and haven't started sorting each other by model and make.

The amazing ubiquity of us strikes me when I read about basketball recruits and NCAA game breakdowns. Maybe you're not a hoops aficionado like me--but you could reach the same conclusion by reading People or the FYI section of your local paper. But in the basketball world, I find myself asking, How many "blue chip post players" can we have, and still distinguish them from each other? How many prep stars can be labeled the "saviors of their programs" before the whole prep star genre becomes redundant?

Amazingly, each player, and there are thousands, emerge with nuanced personalities and abilities. Tyler Hansborough (Center, North Carolina) is lanky, slightly insane, and plays like an animal. Mario Chalmers (Guard, Kansas) is super-quick, wears an innocent expression, and likes to shoot daggers late in the game. The persona is part of the package.

It would be easier to just label all these players numerically and catalog them by their stats, but this absolutely fails to capture the real potential of a player. This is why we talk about "glue guys" the players who win games but don't fill the stat sheet. And we find the same dynamic in play when we glance around us in the classroom, library, grocery store, wherever.

People are similar but different. They defy easy categories. This is why biographies are interesting and why we do not like to be reduced to "talkative" or "introverted" or even "smart." Summing each other up so quickly actually becomes dehumanizing.

This is because, under Jesus' authorship, we're all characters, designed as unique image bearers rather than economy-model machines emerging from the mindless cogs of a deterministic universe.

Human individuality, and the way it inevitably emerges even in those whose game we think we know, is one of the most obvious evidences for a Creator. Consider it a little lesson from basketball.

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R. Sherman said...

For Christians, we must realize that because of our individuality, there is a specific role for us to play in His plan. To carry the basketball analogy further, how many good teams suddenly stink, after one of the "glue guys" moves on.

Given that we're two weeks into HS basketball, I feel another post coming on.


k.murphy said...

Glue guys.

Love it. Working on raising a few 'glue guys/gals' here in TX, myself. Sometimes it can be so hard to really explain (to said guys/gals) WHY its not always the ones getting all the glory (ie, the 40pt shooters) that are truly the KEY, ya know? (as it is in life) And then there's that THING called 'humility'. Sheesh. For kids, they are learning that GLORY is where its parents, hard to counter it, but always critical. Thx for post...I'm out here readin...keep it up!

Ariel said...

To carry the basketball analogy further, how many good teams suddenly stink, after one of the "glue guys" moves on.

Isn't that the truth. And then some teams get better when the superstar gets Texas losing Kevin Durant and coming out ahead.

Thanks for the comment, Kris. I hear what you're saying...raising kids to see that humility is a crowning achievement is a huge challenge these days, especially when you have Sportscenter and competitive games to play up the glory of luck to you (and us). Thanks so much for reading!


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife