My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


On Underdogs and Artistry

I think pulling for the underdog is practically a tenet of the American Creed.

Americans LOVE the underdog. I think it might have something to do with how the whole thing started--a ragtag bunch of militias held together by the force of personality of one man, and ideal, and . . .what? duct tape? going against THE dominant army in the world at that time. I mean, really, what were the odds? And I think it's pretty much become part of the American psyche that we love to root for the little guy, the David against Goliath.

And I'm as American as the next guy in this regard: I like underdogs. I appreciate the struggle of guts and heart and spirit trying to overcome superior physical prowess.

That said, I watch with rapt attention every single time Tiger Woods is in contention in a golf tournament.

It's not just that he's physically dominant in the sport, which he is. Though, there are guys who hit it farther, there are certainly guys who hit it straighter, better putters, etc . . . But, there is nobody--NOBODY--who combines his physical gifts with his creativity (I mean, really, an eight-iron, splayed open, from the sand trap 45 yards short of the green!!), and then puts that together with an impossible force of will. Dan Patrick went through a list of the final round playing partners of Tiger in majors and their average score was well over par, while Tiger hums along at a few shots under par, winning by about 5 strokes.

It is much the same way that I appreciate Mozart--it isn't that he's doing something nobody else can do; it's that he's doing things others can do in ways that NOBODY has conceived of, and doing it so perfectly that it just looks like a completely different thing.

Everybody has their own art form. Everybody has the potential to do one thing--their thing--well enough to elevate it from whatever mundane task it is into an art form. Whether that is solving equations, or training dogs, or raising children, or laying concrete, when it is done with precise care and singular purpose, it has the potential to reach artistic levels.

And that is what separates Tiger. Watching him play golf is a lot like watching a true craftsman finding his groove and creating something unique and wonderful. And, sure, it's just a game, it's just a sport.

But it's a privilege to be around when somebody is elevating their thing to an art form. And, maybe it's counter-cultural to hope Tiger keeps winning--and winning big.

But, then again, I'll bet there were observers who watched Wellington and Cornwallis do their thing in their time and just marvelled at how they changed the world. And maybe even some Americans were among those observers.

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