Sports, Comedy and Love

The following is the text of a speech I recently gave.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Obviously a sports quote, but also a metaphor for life. Is there anything in your life that you’ve wanted to do, something you dreamt about, but were too afraid to try…because you might fail? Here’s a news flash…if you fail…you’re exactly where you are right now! But if you succeed (BIG SMILE) well let me give you some examples….

Sports, Comedy and Love. All three have highs similar to drugs. They also have tremendous lows and each can result in a soul crushing experience. Misery plus time is comedy’s truest form. Sports guarantees 99% of the fans will end the season unhappy because there’s only one winner. There’s what, 7 billion people on the planet? You’d think that it would be easy to find a soul mate.

So why do we subject ourselves to this torture? Because we’re all junkies! The endorphins from winning, laughing or being in love provide the greatest highs imaginable.

I started a sports comedy website, Weekend Sports Update. It’s long-time dream project of mine. It was someone’s love that gave me the inspiration to get started. Sports, Comedy and Love. Yeah Weekend Sports Update could have failed spectacularly, but there was zero chance I would succeed if I didn’t try.

The first time I did stand up I killed it! The second time, not so much…I sucked. The thrill of victory and agony of defeat all within two – 5 minute open mic sets.

Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher said, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” You know what’s funny about that line? The guy died at 55 of a mental breakdown! Probably why irony is a form of comedy.

Another German philosopher, (trust me I’m not really this smart I just Google this stuff) constantly chided people for self-defeating optimism that would inevitably lead them towards the pain of misplaced expectations. Doesn’t that sound like most sports fans…or someone hopelessly in love!

Jim Valvano the former North Carolina State basketball coach had a different take on life. He gave one of the greatest inspirational speeches ever right before he died. He said each day you need to laugh, love and cry. Sports, comedy and love allow you to do each.

Remember George Clooney talking to Julia Roberts in Ocean’s 11? Talking about her current boyfriend, Clooney asked her, “Does he make you laugh? Roberts replied, “He doesn’t make me cry.” Laughing and crying…it’s the DNA of love right?

Sports, Comedy and Love.  All three share the same element of hope. With sports there is always hope for next year or even the next game. In comedy it’s simply the next gig or even the next joke. It’s not any different with love. It can be the hope you’ll find your soul mate or that they will find you. That hope comes from persistence.

There’s a sign on the front door of my gym that says, “Showing up is half the battle.” If you are persistent and continue to show up…you are always in the game…whether it’s sports or the game of life. So where does the persistence come from…it comes from having the faith that your dream will ultimately come true. There is a guy at the local comedy club who always shows up for open mic night even though it’s painful to listen to his act. How can you not admire someone like that? Especially someone whose failures are so public.

It’s no different with love…you fight thru life’s ups and downs in the hope that someday you will love and be loved. Coach Valvano said it best. He ended his heart wrenching speech with, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Sports, Comedy and Love…If you don’t give up, they each offer the opportunity to experience the greatest joy imaginable. That’s why I will never give up on my dreams and think about them every…single…day and so should you. What’s your dream?

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