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Performance Entire

Often a great performance is seen as a triumph of the individual. The athlete’s buzzer-beating shot or musician’s lyrical breakthrough become personal feats against the odds, moments when; despite all assumptions, a conclusion was defied and reality was redefined. Too often internal factors are given credit as talent and skill sponge up the reason for the performance. This is a simplification that disregards the more numerous external factors that played a factor. As an example, consider the athlete:

In the final seconds of a basketball game, one player will hold the ball and possess an opportunity that other players do not. Possessing the ball, this player has the direct ability to change the score. Hindering his or her ability are the external factors acting for or against the ability to affect the score. We can re-categorize the player’s team members as everyone working for an action that benefits the player and likewise the player’s opponents are anyone working against the player. What of the other factors? The fans in the stand, the external factors of weather, uninvolved sounds and the countless other “non-game” factors within the player’s perception. Anything perceivable by the player becomes a component affecting the player.

When we fail to consider these factors we fail to see the true sport. The greatest moments in sports are not so much triumphs of great athletes but moments of incredible luck, times of whimsy when the world shut down briefly to allow success. Are these religious moments? Perhaps for some they are, but what we can know is that great performances are moments of incredible rhythm where the plethora of factors that make up our world gel in such a way to allow a player’s intention to take place. View a great performance and see the individual’s majesty on display, take heed of the great skill and perhaps assume such skill is beyond one’s ability. Say, “I couldn’t do that” or “He’s amazing,” but be aware of such a hazard. One may find these moments of witness as assuring signs for self-doubt, but what of the other factors. Should we not everything at work. Should not the greatest gust of awe go to the sheer absurdity of the moment.

  1. Sean Breslin
    June 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Great read!


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