Jeremy Lin Phenomenon

February/20/2012 16:24PM
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The Jeremy Lin phenomenon reminds me of a favorite poem. Thomas Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard.  Gray writes about how many buried souls in a country churchyard might have been blessed with exceptional talents but led ordinary lives where those talents were never exposed. It sure looked like Jeremy Lin was headed that way.

It hearkens to Moneyball, the baseball book and movie about finding the under-rated talent and winning without spending millions to put together a team  of winners.

Jeremy Lin probably saved coach Mike D’Antoni’s job with the Knicks.  Should that be the case? If you were the General Manager or owner of the Knicks, would this save or lose D’Antoni’s job? Tough call, isn’t it?

If the coach couldn’t see Lin’s talent and was about to cut him that week, is he a good coach and judge of talent? Can he say, two other NBA coaches cut Lin, that shows I’m no different?

Every day, hiring and firing decisions are made all over the world where Jeremy Lin mistakes are made. Elections are held where Jeremy Lin mistakes are made.

Every day people with exceptional talent pack it in for the rest of their lives, just as the people in Gray’s churchyard did and accept the fact that they can’t put any more effort into showing other’s their talent.

To me that’s the story of Jeremy Lin. Everyday from grade school to the pros, a loser plays while a Jeremy Lin sits the bench. A loser gets hired while a Jeremy Lin goes unemployed.  A Jeremy Lin gets laid off while a suck-up keeps a job. A would-be Steve Jobs gives up when the 10th bank turns him down for a loan.  A politician’s daughter gets a college scholarship while a Jeremy Lin gives up the college dream when he gets turned down for an academic scholarship.

In Lin’s case, a coach started him out of necessity. He saved the coach, saved the Knicks season, filled up the Garden, made the NBA global, and created the biggest ethnic hype in sports in decades.

But, don’t rejoice. That same coach can turn him back into a pumpkin.

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid   45
  Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
  Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
  Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;   50
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
  And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
  The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,   55
  And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden that with dauntless breast
  The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.   60
Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
  The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
  And read their history in a nation’s eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone   65
  Their glowing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
  And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
  To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,   70
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
  With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.
Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
  Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life   75
  They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect
  Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
  Implores the passing tribute of a sigh
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