Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thinking about the Gifts of Michael Jordan

When he was younger and (perhaps) only dimly
if at all aware of the transient nature
of his athletic gifts, Michael Jordan routinely
performed improvisational acts of acrobatic genius.

Now, at the zenith of his physical maturity
with the accumulation of myriad miracles
as part and parcel of his psychic/physical being,
his statements – his legacy – his gifts to us -
he has measured moments when
he seems to make time stand still
and use space as a three-dimensional
step ladder twisting and turning his body
to supernatural affect; defying gravity
and all the known laws of physics.

He has done this all before,
He has done this all the long.
He can no longer even amaze himself.

And we, having watched all this blessed while,
in disbelief and awe, as the divine and human kind
intersect in this temporal time-space-and place,

We have come to take much too much for granted,
and only the taped highlights will allow our progeny
to see the Miracles of Michael which miss entirely
the entire point of being Michael Jordan!
And that is this: to show what one human being
can WILL himself to do, to defy gravity,
to over come the odds after failing
even to make his high school basketball team.
that he perservered, and after many losses,
and many losing campaigns, trooped on valiantly,
ultimately to TRIUMPH, again, and again, and again,
and again, and again, and again -
but – and these were always the keys
always the critical things -
he did it for the team; for those newbies,
veterans though they may have been,
who had yet to win a ring, and for THAT thing,
did Michael exhort his colleagues in greatness
the incomprable Pippen, the Genius Rodman,
The yoemen – Grant and Cartwright,
The undefensible one – Kuckok
The three-points specialists –
Kerr, Paxon, Brown, Hodges, Buechler
The one from down under – Longley
The one who sacrificed his
offense the better to play defense – Harper
the cutest NBA All Star ever – Armstrong
the best announcer of them all – King,
the brilliant late season pick up
whose father was a Motown singer – Bison Dele,
The defensive specialist / three-point shooter Brown,
those whose names all (save we few) have forgotten -
Blanton, Courtney, English, McCray,
Hansen, Hopson, Randall, Sparrow, Nevitt,
Haley, Simpkins, Caffey, Steigna,
Nealey, Tucker, Walker, Levingston,
Booth, Burrell, Klein, LaRue, Vaughn
the Williams' – Scott and Corey,
the hydra heads – Perdue, Wennington,
Edwards, Salley, Parrish
And the glove-fitting coaches – Jackson/Bach -
The two of these – Jordan/ Jackson so attuned,
so in synch to the ultimate objective
to be World Champions, nothing less,
and to do so year in and year out,
With all the distractions, with all the pain
of preparation required, all the focus,
almost 100 games per year, and all the training
required, especially in the off season,
for it is the work one does in the off season
that determines the progress that player will make
as a professional NBA player,
but also as a trusted team mate,
who will thoroughly know, understand, and
most importantly, ACCEPT the role that
the TEAM requires of him,
Yes, THAT was the greatness of MJ
Not that when he soared he flew,
But that in order to win, it was sometimes
necessary that he soar; in order to inspire,
to DEMAND 100% of his team mates
(nothing less was acceptable; nothing more required)
One had to be selfless, one had to know one's limitations,
and in Michael's case – the sky was the limit,
there were no limitations, but, in order to accomplish that – to play basketball on THAT über-surreal plane
of athletic performance, delimited by physics,
as it is presently understood,
that DEMANDED that Michael play as a Deity
like a Diety of a very ancient time,
When the gods walked the earth,

It was simply that, of Michael
That his will to win on the basketball court
Was so strong, so intense, so focused,
That it required him to unleash the inner deity
Which resodes in each and every one of us.

And if Michael Jordan could unleash his inner deity,
As have others who have come before him,
And as have others who will came after,

Then, why can't we all?
What holds us back?
Is it our will that holds us back?
Or is it that we have not imagined
What we could accomplish
If we were to let go of orthodoxy,
Let go of the limitations we are told that bind us

What could we do, if only we were to
be like Mike?
(And if Jesus Christ Incarnate were to return to earth
(Again, in this time-space-and place intersect,
(Would you be entirely surprised to see Him
(Leading by example His life as a professional
(basket ball player? Or perhaps a singer
(in a Rock & Roll Band calling itself
(Blessed Union of Souls, and singing
(“I believe that will find the answer
(I believe that Love will find the way.”)