The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The greatest athlete

This is an odd topic for me. I don't care about professional sports and care little about sports in general, but I'm stilling writing this one.

Pick the greatest human athlete ever. Who is your pick? Why?

Before I tell you my pick, which will surprise you, let's look at what makes a great athlete.

Stamina - Got to be able to go the distance and then some. Overtime matters.

Talent - Well, yeah. Gotta have that in extremely large amounts.

Dedication - Frankly dedication will cover gaps in talent to get an athlete to certain places, but without talent, the athlete will never rise to the very top.

Coaching - Yep. Gotta have a good coach. Been covering high school sports now for nearly 30 years. Coaches matter. I rank coaches as important as talent. All the talent in the world won't get you anywhere if you don't know how to use it. At the same time, a truly great coach can develop innate talent to the full extent.

Intellect - Don't have to be a rocket scientist, but an average IQ? Maybe. But the top athlete must have a very high "sports IQ" or he's not going to get far.

Size - Size matters. But what matters more are the above items. Of course the top echelon can't be missing one meal from starvation nor can they be the size of a mountain.

Determination - I see this as different from dedication. Determination is the willingness to sacrifice. Dedication is the willingness to practice.

Physical ability - By this I mean able to get knocked down, get up and keep going and deliver punishment in return.

Camaraderie - A truly top athlete has to know he's not getting there by himself. He's part of a team effort.

Coordination - Well, yeah, but it's important below, so I list it.

Probably more need to be listed, but that's as far as I'm taking this.

Lemme give you one criteria that is not reflected above - the ability to perform well in other sports.

So my top pick?

Wayne Greztsky. He is the greatest pro hockey player the world has ever seen.

Why? Look at hockey.

It combines heavy physical activity and impacts (football, wrestling, rugby).

It combines endurance and stamina (running sports, basketball, lacrosse).

It has hand-eye coordination (baseball, basketball).

It has strength and physical agility. It's done on ice with skates!

As for the other qualifiers, anyone who says Greztsky doesn't have those in abundance does not know much about the man.

In the world of sports, very few have managed to cross from one to another and be a success. Many have tried. Babe Ruth was great at baseball and wrestling. Basketball? I seriously doubt it.

If you took Greztsky from hockey and moved him to another sport, I believe he could adapt and be one of the few who could cross over and be very good. I also say he could move to yet a third sport and be very good. A fourth? Yes.

There is no other sport that combines and demands as much from an athlete as pro hockey. Remember, Hockey has no regular breaks in the action like so many other sports. Yes, it has stopped for penalties and timeouts, but so do other sports. 

Basketball is nonstop action, but basketball does not see players body-checked nearly as hard as hockey.  The physical violence in hockey is on par with pro football. The necessary stamina is on the same level as marathon runners.

Ok. Argument started. Gimme your pick and the reasons!

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