In which the author expostulates on his odd notions about sports, music, and life
Quite possibly your best so far –– and you have had a pretty high batting average as it is!
Interesting fact about east coast vs west coast musicians. I lost interest in boxing after Ali left the ring.
Loved this—Schoenberg and Stravinsky were reach other's nemesis when they lived in LA. Colossal egos who looked down on each other. Trying to think of example in jazz...
The part about Sportsmanship really rung true and would have been an important book. Had never heard the story of that German tennis player. So, thank you very much for today's missive.
Wonderful ideas. I will be pondering this for a while. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, the enemy of your enemy should be kept somewhere safe, but could present an opportunity to befriend your enemy. The Buddha has long been my mentor, but could easily become my nemesis.
Inspiring and brilliant. I appreciate your well thought out words, the tales you tell, the journey I go on in reading them, thank you.
Great essay, Ted! Talking Ali and Frazier, Byrd and Magic, makes your point way punchier than the Dyads or Bundahishn of ancient Persia. Kudos! Humanity’s long quest for the ultimate fighter who’ll call out our purest essence in response seems worthwhile.
Fantastic concept. If you ever wanted to write about the relationship between this and Girard's concept of scapegoating that would be really interesting because that is where I thought you were going to go at first!
How are Tom Brady's and Michael Jordan's achievements unsurpassed, but because of a lack of a recognizable nemesis they're also doomed to an "inevitable downward spiral?" You purport the motivational value of having a nemesis and then dismiss some of the greatest achievements in sports because of the lack of an identifiable nemesis. If having a nemesis is key to greater success wouldn't all greatness need to have some form of nemesis? Wouldn't an internal nemesis be just as valid as an external one?
Good essay. I think it was Robert Thurman who related what his mentor once told him: “The best thing that could happen to you each morning would be to walk into your kitchen and find your (perceived) worst enemy sitting at the table waiting for you.”
Personally I’m recognized as one of the tops in my field—perhaps the top—and I am very aware that my skills are in large part derived from competition with my nemeses over the decades. I relish the competition.
I'm not a sports fan, either, but this was a great read.
Minor you're/your typo in "But if you’re only nemesis is your younger self, your life will inevitably follow a downward trajectory." I can delete the comment if you want.
It used to be called emulation. I wrote a book about that.
Prost v. Senna jumps to mind. Senna was clearly the more talented driver, but neither one would've been what they were without the other.