The Weakest Link, The Negative Space, and Me

In an average high level soccer match your favorite team’s worst player has as much chance to touch the ball and affect the game as you favorite team’s best player.  That is one of the things Chis Anderson and David Sally found in their research for their soccer stat book The Numbers Game.  They write that soccer is a “weakest link” sport because of that fact.  Your weakest player and your best player have equal opportunity to change the game, so one of the goals of the team must be to shrink the distance in quality between the two.

As most things I read, one thought leads to another thought and they are often only tangentially connected.  After reading that book (which I highly recommend for soccer fans), my mind wandered until it came to this realization:  I have tried to find my way through life by figuring out what I want to do and that has lead me not to where I want to be.  I need to figure out what I don’t want to do instead.

The other strand of this story started when I wanted to better understand what kind of writer I wanted to be so I could put it in my MFA application essays.  What did I want to write about in my stories?  As I was thought about it, I perused Amazon to find books by my favorite writers and find any recommendations for other books I might like.  The first book recommendation I clicked on was for American Spirit: A Novel.  I am sure this is a fine well-written book.  I am quite sure the author Dan Kennedy worked his ass off to write and publish this book.  I didn’t get past the first line of the description.

It was another work of fiction, television, or cinema dedicated to a 25-45 year old white person living in Manhattan and experiencing 21st century ennui did not interest me in the least.  That is when it dawned on me that I was having trouble writing my essay because I was trying to look at it from what I wanted to write about instead of what I didn’t want to write about.

There is a whole world that doesn’t live in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, or Chicago.  There is a whole world of people who aren’t upper middle class and whose greatest issue is their spouse cheating on them.  They aren’t out solving crimes and catching spies.  They aren’t traveling all over the world to find themselves.  They are trying to live life and deal with the shit that gets shoveled onto them on a daily basis with as much grace as possible.  These are the people I want to write about.

That is an arrogant thing to say, but there it is.  This is going to be an adventure.


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