The Olympics have just ended. It’s been so much fun watching the games that I’m kind of bummed they’ve drawn to a close. Events like this always have amazing stories attached to them, stories of triumph over unbelievable odds, athletes that have toiled in obscurity for years that excel at the precise moment in time, goals that fall short of achieving them. Early on in the games, the men’s half pipe was on. I’m not a snow boarder, I’ve never tried it as I was bit too old when the skateboarding phenomenon hit and then the evolution of it to snowboarding. I’m a skier from way back. Someday I’d like to try snowboarding but that’s in the future. But I love the feeling of the participants, the zen of the whole community. It seems to be very encouraging to all it’s members, even while maintaining a competitive edge.
So I’m watching the men’s half pipe and Shawn White is coming up in the rotation. He’s at the top of the leader board and the guy that has the best shot at catching him in the points just missed his landing. His points won’t add up to enough to take the gold. The camera’s flash to Shawn at the top of the pipe and he and his team realize he’s won the gold. He pretty much could scootch down on his bum at this point and still win the gold medal. Instead he decides to do a trick that’s never been done in competition. A trick that will once again push his sport forward to the bleeding edge of innovation. And he nails it. His performance for that entire run was flawless. He could have let it slide, played it safe as the win was in the bag. But that wouldn’t satisfy an innovator such as he is. This was a chance for him to pull out a show stopping move that wowed everyone watching.
It’s easy to play it safe, just phone it in. But breakthroughs and innovation never occur when you play it safe. Just when you feel it’s in the bag, that’s the exact moment you pull out a Double McTwist 1260 and nail it. Watch how it changes you.