We all can’t be Alex Honnold, scaling El Capitan with no harness and zero assistance. The free soloist makes it look easy, but overcoming 7,000ft. obstacles is anything but.
To be great is to overcome.
Conquering whatever you’re chasing down is supposed to be hard.
It’s like everybody’s favorite Unc, Spice Adams says, “you can’t climb a mountain if it’s smoove.”
It’s a tale as old as time, and it’s commonly explained through the sports food chain that was the NBA in the 80’s and 90’s.
The Piston’s had to lose to the Celtics to beat the Celtics. The Bulls had to lose to the Pistons to beat the Pistons…there is no better mentor than adversity.
The setbacks will set you up for success, but only if you let them.
In 1996 John Elway went 13-3 with the Broncos, tying the Packers for the best record in the NFL.
In only their second year of conception, the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars not only beat my Buffalo Bills at The Ralph, but somehow went into Mile High Stadium and upset the heavily favorited one seed Broncos.
A brutal defeat for anyone, let alone a regular season MVP, and a player that had three Super Bowl losses on his resume.
Of course, we all know by now that Elway’s fortune turned as he won back to back titles in ‘97 & ‘98. The old gunslinger road off into the sunset having finally reached his Super Bowl summit twice.
Eight years later, Dirk Nowitzki was the NBA’s MVP in 2006-2007, posting the best record in the league at 67-15.
His one seeded Mavs promptly lost to a team of destiny, the "We Believe Warriors" in the first round.
Before Dirk wore the moniker of the third top seed casualty that fell to an 8 seed, he lost to the Heat in the Finals the year prior.
It took the Mavericks five years to get back, and ascend over the Miami Heat Championship hill, which they did in 2011.
Holding the crown of first German-born Finals MVP, & getting his hands on Dallas’ first ever Larry O’Brien trophy probably seemed incomprehensible for someone who’s postseason ended unceremoniously 10 seasons in a row.
One year before Dirk won, Vlad Guerrero played in the World Series with the Texas Rangers, and lost.
It’d be his only trip to the Fall Classic, he retired one season after with Baltimore.
You probably thought the next guy would’ve won a chip too, but these things don’t always work out that way.
Sure, "Vlad The Impaler" won every individual accolade a player could win, minus the Gold Glove, he even hit for the cycle in 2003. With a career batting average of .318, he was enshrined into the HOF in 2018…but there was something missing which prevented him from reaching the top of baseball’s mountain.
Three guys. Three regular season MVP’s. But only two won Title MVP honors…so what did Elway and Nowitzki have that Guerrero didn’t?
Guys like Shawn Marion, Rod Smith, Jason Kidd, Steve Atwater, Jason Terry, Terrell Davis and so on and so on.
Earlier I said that the set backs will set you up for success, but only if you let them…fate or luck plays a role, but more then that you need a guy like Tom Nalen blocking for you, or a guy like Tyson Chandler rebounding for you.
No one can do anything alone. We all need some help and support…even Alex Honnold had assistance before his final ascent.