Sunday, November 06, 2005

Getting What You Asked For

From sportswriter Bill Simmons:

When you dream about doing something for a long time, and then it happens, it's never actually as good as you think it would be. There's almost a surreal letdown of sorts after the fact. And it's impossible to explain unless it's happened to you. For instance, ever since I was in college, I dreamed of having my own sports column and covering a Boston team when they won a championship. That's all I wanted. In the spring of 2001, ESPN found me. Nine months later, my beloved Patriots went to the Super Bowl and shocked the Rams in New Orleans. I wrote about it every day, and on the morning after they won, my column ran on the front page of this Web site. Greatest professional moment of my life, right?

Well, something weird happened. After that game, I couldn't stop thinking, "All right, what happens now? What do I do? How can I top my dream moment?"

And the thing is, you can't. The moment happens, it ends, you celebrate and feel good about yourself … and then it's on to the next day, and you have to figure out what the next challenge is, and deep down, you're wondering why you didn't enjoy that watershed moment more than you thought you would. I don't know Theo [Epstein, erstwhile manager of the Red Sox], I have never met him, and the experience of being the general manager of the first Red Sox championship in 86 years was roughly 100,000,000 times more profound and important than my experience in New Orleans. But the fact remains, after that Super Bowl column, I struggled writing this column for the next seven to eight months; eventually, I ended up moving to California to write for a fledgling late-night television show. That Super Bowl trip changed everything for me.

Did something similar happen to Theo after winning the World Series? Is this what happened to David Caruso when he said, "Screw it, I don't need 'NYPD Blue' anymore?" On a much, much larger scale, is this what happened to talents like Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jordan and everyone else who either walked away from their alleged dream job or sabotaged it in their prime? Is that why the Peggy Lee song "Is that all there is?" rings especially true in moments like these?

No comments: