Monday, February 13, 2012

Why Lin is Lovable

Love is in the air my friends, whether you like it or not.  It's Valentine's Day-week, which means for those who have that special someone, it's time to get all mushy and cuddly, and for those currently going Jason Derulo-style and ridin' solo, it's probably a week of eating or drinking away the pain with a bucket of Ben-N-Jerry's or a fifth of something strong.

Theoretically, I should be in the latter group.  I am super single and Valentine's Day, historically, has been a nightmare for me, low-lighted by having an ex-girlfriend cheat on me ON the "day of love."

"Classic Love Story"
Despite, my romantic ups-and-more downs, I remain a fan of Valentine's Day.  I like the idea of people celebrating the fact that they have, or think they have, found their soul mate.  Sure it's more of a made-up holiday, but I see nothing wrong with dedicating 24-hours to reflect on the greatest feeling in life, love.

Love really can't be defined, but the emotions you get from it are unparalleled, especially in the early stages.  There is a sense of newness, excitement, and the yearning to want more of each other.  It makes us do silly, stupid things and disregard sensibility.

The search for love is the same reason the sports world has be throwing on Barry White 8-tracks, lighting some candles, and heating up the body oils over the past week.

Jeremy Lin has captivated our hearts because he is unlike anyone we've ever seen. He isn't just another notch on the NBA bed post.  He is different.  We want to get to know him. Why? Because he evokes the same feelings of new love.  

We, as sports fans, will always lust for the uber sexiness of a high-flyer like Blake Griffin or the showman like LeBron.  But, these players are like the hottest girl in the club, she may look all good with her skin-tight dress and ample assets, but that's fantasy, not reality.  

In sports and love, we all want someone we can relate to.  It's unlikely I will ever charm Rihanna and the vast majority of us will never be 6'9, 260 pounds with a 50-inch vertical.  But 6'3, 200 pounds with an average jump-shot seems a little more understandable to the rec-league community.

Jeremy Lin helps bring normality to a game dominated by superstars.  He is, by NBA standards, below average-size, a brainiac (I hear it's quite a challenge to be accepted to Harvard), one of the first Asian-American players in the league, and humble.  Those characteristics are the antithesis of what the NBA has become.

The National Basketball Association is a me first league where it's best players have been labeled 'stars' since middle school.  

Until last week, Jeremy Lin was basically an unknown.  Even though he won state championships in high school and was highly successful playing Division I basketball, his ability was overlooked.  But, passing on Lin was not like letting 199 picks go ahead of Tom Brady.  Coming out of Harvard, he was a player with a lot of game to develop, flamed out in his first short stint in the NBA with the Warriors, and even now struggles to consistently make jump shots.

He is not perfect, but he cares. (Love.)

During the Knicks' recent five game winning streak, Lin has competed harder than any player on the floor.  He has made other "average" players raise their level of play and energy, and has deferred complements their way as opposed to basking in the spotlight.  He is playing to show he belongs, not to show off.  

Jeremy Lin overcame "Pirates-Win-Back-To-Back-World-Series" odds.  He believes in himself and is making the best of a rare opportunity.  He's committed to making his dream come true.

Love is said to overcome all obstacles.  At it's finest, it can rise above any challenge, but it takes time and dedication.  The Jeremy Lin story is one of love and in the spirit of this week should be celebrated.

Like love, the ride Jeremy Lin is on may not last.  This may be just a fling that was wrongfully identified as special because of it's early excitement level.  While rushing to pick up our belongings and quietly sneak out the door, we may look back and say "how did I ever let Lin's play entice me?"  Many a player has had great streaks, (ahem, Flip Murray in Seattle), but Lin's has been special for its unlikeliness and his commitment.  

So for those who roll your eyes at the thought of Valentine's Day and are losing faith in the concept of love, look to Jeremy Lin as a reason to believe, you'll be rejuvenated and love what you see.