.One of the reasons we all love sports is that we get to see greatness. We enjoy when athletes perform at the highest level on the biggest stage when the lights are brightest. Greatness is not a term that can be used loosely as it does not fit very many athletes. It is not a slight to those that are not considered great, we are simply talking about a very select group with that uncanny ability. Only this past weekend we saw another example of greatness as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, rallied his football team from what appeared to be certain defeat with a game winning touchdown pass with five seconds left in a comeback win over the New Orleans Saints. Brady has three super bowl wins on his resume, we were not surprised by his latest accomplishment. We have seen it before.
Some like to refer to this clutch gene as the “it” factor. An athlete either has “It” or they don’t. How does Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jerry Rice, Magic Johnson, Joe Montana and others on that level do it. Others routinely fail in the spotlight, but these great athletes, somehow are able to summon that little extra when they absolutely must have it. I really struggle to explain how Kobe Bryant can miss his first 10 shots of a game, yet hit a game winner as time expires because he has this belief that even if he fails, the next time, he will succeed because he knows he is that good. Athletes such as these all have several things in common – similarities that define their greatness. An athlete can only be truly considered “great” if they have that rare combination of refusing to lose, supreme confidence and God given ability to take it to the next level, the ability to transcend the game, and a set of mental intangibles that most others simply do not possess.
There have been many studies done but there is no definite theory as to where greatness comes from. We will probably speculate until the end of time, but every time we see a Muhammad Ali overcome a bigger stronger George Foreman, or a Serena Williams make other world class athletes look like mere mortals trying to take down Superwoman we watch in amazement and are all awestruck. Yes a collective “Wow’ !! So the next time you see Usain Bolt blazing through the tape at the finish line ahead of guys who worked just as hard on their craft I guess we can only shrug and say, “Now that right there, is what you call greatness”. We may never fully be able to explain it, but we will always be able to recognize it