I was watching the movie TROY the other day with my wife and friends, and it got me thinking. It brought to mind a multitude of my life experiences and inspired me in a way that my wife and perhaps no woman could ever truly understand.
Yes, Brad Pitt (Greece's Achilles) and supporting actors Eric Bana (Prince Hector of Troy) and Orlando Bloom (Prince Paris of Troy) got themselves into incredible condition for the movie, but the message I was left with is much deeper than that. Watching Achilles cut through his opponents like a hot knife through butter, violence aside, was a beautiful thing.
Why Was It Beautiful?
I use beautiful as the word I possess that best describes the human display of an absolutely dominating skill. It is greatness in its purest form. If you have ever gotten goose bumps from watching an athlete destroy their competition, smash a world record or come through in the clutch against all odds, you are starting to feel me. Feats like this are not frequent but when accomplished the feeling you get from seeing it is powerful, it is like you are sharing in the success of the athlete.
In happens so rarely in fact that, like with Achilles, it keeps people talking about the person or event for generations to follow. I can probably count on one hand how many times I have beard witness to these acts of greatness:
| Ben Johnson's world record smashing sprint in 1988 comes to mind, Michael Jordan's buzzer beating shot form the NBA Championship against the Utah Jazz, The Raiders Marcus Allen's Super Bowl record-setting performance in 1984 against the Redskins is still vivid in my mind (yes I love the Raiders!)
... and last but not least, Ronnie Coleman walking out on stage at the last Mr. Olympia in such condition that caused a collective gasp, followed by eerie silence as the crowd viewed the specimen in disbelief.
It is the heightened mental level these athletes possess that adds to the male appeal of downright dominance. It is clear that what separates the great athletes from the good ones is the higher level of mind state compared to their peers. Consider this example. Barry Bonds, arguably the most dominant offensive juggernaut in Major League Baseball history and the single season home run record holder with 73 home runs in 2001 and who was walked a record 198 times in 2003 displays this mind state of greatness.
The man has been intentionally walked with the bases loaded. No single player in baseball history has ever been walked with the bases loaded! Not even Babe Ruth! Barry will go games without seeing a pitch because the pitcher on the mound knows that if he pitches to him, it could cost them the game. Whenever the pitcher is either brave enough to challenge him, or makes a mistake, Barry makes him pay by crushing the ball over the fence.
His 6 MVP trophies and records aside, what is really impressive is the ability to go up to the plate and know that you are probably not going to see a pitch to hit and still be focused and ready for that one opportunity to deliver and then do it! It is this display that speaks monuments of the focus and control of the mind that Barry Bonds exhibits.
Success is not an option for Barry, and never was the thought of failure. This truly amazing state of mind is further evidenced when the competitor has the audacity, as some might call it, to actually call the event before it happens. I call it confidence.
Achilles declared in detail how he would dissect Hector at the start of their battle. Babe Ruth pointed to where he was going to hit his home run during the 1932 World Series. Muhammed Ali in his prime would decide before his fights which round he would knock his opponents out. And more recently, Antonio Tarver asked the reigning champ and ranked best pound for pound fighter in the world, Roy Jones Jr. in their rematch before their fight when the referee asked "Got any questions," "What's your excuse this time Roy?" All these great competitors knew in their mind that they were going to triumph. Success was the only option.
My Personal Experiance
Myself, I have had the luck of experiencing this personally on a few occasions, granted never on the WORLD-CLASS level, nevertheless, experiences, and ones I will never forget. The first event that comes to mind was my performance at the Lincoln High School Wrestling Tournament.
I destroyed all five of my opponents with pins and set a tournament record with a pin in 9 seconds on my way to "gold" and the most outstanding wrestler in the entire tournament honors. Another one that comes to mind was a high school football playoff game where I recorded two sacks, a safety, and several tackles behind the line of scrimmage in a 12-to-0 defensive struggle victory.
I guess it did not hurt having the competing offensive line triple team now, NFL All-pro Dallas Cowboy Defensive Tackle La'Roi Glover, but it still was memorable performance. And yet another memorable performance was with a game tying two-run home run in the 9th inning in the MABL (Men's Adult Baseball League) Championship, followed by a 11th inning solo shot that won the game against the hated Senators (who had beaten us in the championships the year before). I wound up going 5-for-5 with 2 home runs, 5 runs driven in and I threw out 2 runners trying to steal on me from behind the plate.
I am sad to say it, but now that I recently turned 30, I don't think I will reach that state is sports again. My baseball, wrestling and football days are well behind me. That beautiful feeling of dominance or more appropriately put as greatness is strong and addictive.
To this very moment I crave this feeling and the drive to relive my successes of the past are as strong as ever. Thanks to the movie Troy, I somewhat realized that each and every one of us has greatness inside. We are all capable of reaching the ultimate level of success in any aspect of our lives that we choose. Thankfully we are not limited to just athletics.
Each and every one of us can attain that pinnacle position in our profession, family, life, or circle of friends. We all have the ability to become that employer, educator, leader, husband, father or son that will make the witnesses to our existence speak of us long after we leave this world. There is greatness inside us all. Believe that. If the saying "You only live once" turns out to be true, then like the elite athlete, throughout our lives, SUCCESS IS THE ONLY OPTION. And like EMENEM said. "You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, because opportunity comes once in a lifetime."