Where is this post going? How can one write about two topics at such extreme ends of the conceptual spectrum? Zen and sports?
Here in the LA area we have blanket coverage of the Lakers and their famed coach, Phil Jackson, a.k.a. “The Zen Master”. I don’t think he calls himself that; it’s a label conjured by the media because he is thoughtful and reflective.
We also have a prominent personality on sports-talk radio named Vick Jacobs, a.k.a. “Vick the Brick”. He is wildly popular and generally entertaining. I think he does his job well. He also actively cultivates a reputation as a spiritual being prone to Zen-like states of calm and clarity. He likes to speak of “positive energy” and “flow” and “cosmic awareness”. He also engages in some ceremonious activity involving bamboo whenever key sports outcomes need to be cosmically influenced. He uses the word “zen” on a regular basis.
I’ve got nothing against any of those concepts. I just think sports and zen are about as conceptually disparate as two constructs can get. Isn’t getting worked up about the outcome of an athletic competition quite petty compared to cosmic awareness? Isn’t “inner peace” too powerful a notion to be disrupted by whether or not Gasol goal tended in the final second of game 2? Seems that way to me.
But don’t tell Vick the Brick. He thinks otherwise and has built a strong following among the likeminded.