“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Harry Truman
On a recent cruise I was compelled to leave the dinner table one night after I heard cheering from outside the dining room and over the balcony. I ended up watching two break-dancers from the balcony. These guys had such amazing energy they put towards their work. Their smiles were huge and the sweat was pouring off them from giving it their all for the crowd. It was pretty amazing seeing the crowd; there were five balconies full of people watching these two guys perform below. At the end of the performance I was struck by what one of the performers told the crowd. He asked us all to put up peace signs. The looked up at all of the balconies and said so eloquently (and I’m paraphrasing) “look around here…there are hundreds of people all here in the same place without knowing anyone else on the boat. But we are all here together and we get to spread peace to you all and you get to spread it to each other. We are all connected as one, and through our dance and hip-hop, it’s all about spreading peace wherever we go.” After that everyone departed but it was one of those moments where I couldn’t even move. What he had said was so profound at a time when I was least expecting such a statement.
That moment made me think about all of the experiences that I have, and the experiences we all have on a daily basis, to make such a profound impact on even just one person in a crowd of hundreds. Athletes and people who perform have a great ability to make a huge impact every time they get out on the court or the field and in front of hundreds of people. What makes a good performer different from a performer who leaves you breathless? I’d say one thing is the ability to make an impact on the crowd. Having an impact that makes the crowd forget about their own life and their own problems for a little while. While they forget about their own problems, they are able to have a good time and realize that they are a part of a massive group of people all connected for a common purpose. When an athlete or a performer can leave people in the audience present to this throughout the whole game or time they are on stage, then you have a great performance.
How does the athlete or performer go about leaving this type of impact on the crowd? From what I have seen through observation is the athlete or performer must have the ability to go beyond their own wants and desires during a game. If an athlete is only concerned about making himself look good, scoring the most points, having the best stats at the end of the game, it’s easy to see how he can forget about the rest of the team. And when the athlete doesn’t even remember his team, he sure isn’t remembering the crowd that is there to watch. Now when an athlete is concerned about making the rest of the team looking great, and he is playing full out for the audience watching, then that is someone who makes an impact on the hundreds or thousands of people in the crow.
It is important to remember that playing a sport, or performing, is about you and your love for your trade. It is also important to remember the game or performance goes far beyond just your own personal love for the game. There are hundreds and even thousands of people that have the chance to leave the game smiling a little wider and feeling a little more free, all because of the impact you, as an athlete or performer, can have on the crowd. What do you want the crowd to remember when your game or performance is over?