Career Calling

April 30, 2012

Sabbath, April 29, 2012

[“Sabbath” is this blog’s Sunday feature that ponders life and work.]

From Perfection to Pain

I didn’t think sports would be my subject again this week.  Last Sunday I attended a great tribute to Japanese-American World War II veterans.  That was going to be my subject – until Derrick Rose made one of his patented, twisting drives to the basket and tore his ACL.

Last week was the joy of sports, a perfect game.  This week, pain.  The meme on sports talk radio is that the Bulls would not win anyway, which is followed up with some cliché about Rose’s future ability to play.  What is ignored in all of this is Derrick Rose, a competitor slightly less fierce than Michael Jordan.  I’ve watched Rose since he was leading Simeon High School to Illinois state championships.  Even as a teenager, he lifted his teammates, made them better, drove them to win.

Rose suffered several injuries this year.  He looked uncomfortable on the bench, impatiently waiting to play again.  Now he faces surgery and rehab.  Will he come back with the same speed and reactions?  Will this injury ruin a promising career, reminding us of names from the past like David Thompson, Bill Walton, and, more recently, Yao Ming?  When an athlete’s body breaks, there is no certainty that a medical treatment can fix it.  I hope Rose comes back as the same player.  He is – the present tense is intentional and hopeful – a joy to watch.

As I’m not giving up on Rose, I’m not giving up on his team.  “They can’t win,” the experts tell us.  These, of course, are the same experts who did not predict the New York Giants’ win in last year’s Super Bowl or the St. Louis Cardinals’ victory in the World Series.  This is LeBron’s year, Kobe’s year, the smart ones tell us.  Maybe it will be, but I’m not giving up on the team that had the most wins in the regular season, many of them coming with Rose on the bench.

The Bulls fight every game.  They don’t have big names as some of their opponents do, but they do the little things like play defense and rebound. That gives me some hope, and I will root for this team until they are knocked out of the playoffs.  Go Bulls!

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