For those that are newer to this newsletter, welcome! On random Fridays I send you a slew of fun finds and bits of inspiration to round out your week and start your weekend off right. Often you’ll hear from another interesting person I’ve interviewed here, but occasionally you’ll hear from me instead. This is one of those weeks…
I grew up in the same area code as LeBron, with Michael Jordan posters on my wall and LA dreams like Kobe. Although lacking the basic coordination and overall competence to be an aspiring pro athlete, I didn’t have to sink shots to admire what they represent: a strong work ethic, a healthy body and mind, a charitable heart, and an unbeatable drive to achieve greatness.
I’ve looked up to athletes my whole life, which isn’t uncommon for a kid from Ohio. My dad was a basketball player, and despite our numerous games of horse and pig in the driveway, I ended up exclusively choosing sports with skirts in the uniform. And eventually, I would quit those teams to pursue other interests, beginning my ceaseless, sinuous journey to unearth some sense of purpose.
Kobe wouldn’t have quit. To paraphrase Thoreau, he moved confidently in the direction of his dreams, achieving more than most, while continuously creating new goals to conquer. So when his story ends before he’s ready to renounce, the rest of us reach a screeching halt – having to put the book down in an enforced effort to comprehend.
In my time of pause, I’ve learned that when a heroic figure falls, it can feel like a piece of yourself, that piece you were constantly striving to improve, has gone with them. I’ve also learned that kids from Ohio don’t have a monopoly on admiring athletes – the entire world is mourning. Pain is both unexpected and universal. And collective grief, even of someone we only knew from afar, can bring our unknown and unresolved pains to the surface. We all have a story. And even the greatest stories can end too soon.
However, there is hope that we can learn from each other’s stories, borrow both the good and the bad, and carry them on to infinity – adapting and improving along every new page. As Kobe said, everything negative is an opportunity to rise. That’s why this newsletter exists – to create a collective community that raises each other up despite life’s most difficult downturns. So if you find yourself lucky enough to rise with tomorrow’s sun, let’s make it a bright one - together.