I’m not much of an NBA fan. Typically, I only tune in when it’s playoff time, and things on the hardwood get serious. This year has been different. About midway through the season, I happened to stumble across a game while flipping through the channels.
OK, I admit, I am a Settler. I have cable. Not even TiVo.
That aside, it was a game between the Golden State Warriors … and somebody else. It didn’t really matter who the other team was. I couldn’t keep my eyes off Golden State and one player in particular – a 6-3 baby-faced guard named Stephen Curry.
His play went something like this. Curl off a pick, catch a pass and launch a 25-foot 3-pointer? Blip. It’s good! Behind-the-back dribble to the right, step-back 28-foot shot? Blip. Nothing but net. Whirling, spinning, lightning drive to the basket? Impossibly high off the glass. Two more points.
And the thing that really caught my attention, besides Curry’s quicksilver release on his long-distance, bottom-of-the-net bombs and his Globetrotter-esque ball-handling skills, was his court sense. He must have a basketball IQ in the MENSA range. A three-quarter court, no-look pass to a teammate streaking in for a layup? Piece of cake.
Which, really, was the most impressive thing about Curry’s performance: It all looked so easy.
The rational part of my brain told me what Steph (his fans call him Steph) was doing was incredibly difficult – had, in fact, never before been done as sublimely by anyone in a basketball uniform. But the irrational quadrant of the grey matter resting between my ears made me delude myself into dreaming something along the lines of “I could do that.”
“Now, if I could only remember where I’d put my Nikes a couple decades ago, blow off the dust and get after it. A little practice is all it’d take,” I fooled myself, forgetting due to a momentary loss of reason my well-earned round body shape and accumulated years.
And it dawned on me, that is a sign of genius. The ability to make something difficult appear easy.
Which leads me to say, I am a fan of my teammates at NPPD who, like Steph, make the really difficult seem easy. Want lights? Flip a switch. Power pole down in a storm? Give ‘em a call; they’re always there. Planning for the state’s future energy needs years in advance? NPPD has engineers, planners, financial gurus. Admin assistants, plant operators, technicians and analysts. And so many more.
They’re experts, the best at what they do. Like Stephen Curry. Which sometimes leads to the average citizen on the street thinking: “I could do that, myself. How difficult could it be? Put up a windmill, generate some electricity and everything is copacetic.”
But of course, things are rarely as easy as it looks, especially when performed by those really superior at what they do. I saw an ESPN special on Steph that detailed the incredible amount of work he puts into honing his craft. His pregame warmup routine, alone, would challenge even the most stalwart of wannabes.
It’s the hard work behind the scenes (“behind your outlet,” if you will ) that makes everything flow so smoothly.
Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of that.
It’s a pretty fine deal we have, lounging in our overstuffed recliners, comfortable in the summer or winter. We sip a cold soda pop, chomp microwave popcorn, and marvel at Stephen Curry in a well-lit, climate-controlled arena raining down impossible threes to thunderous cheers.
I realize it’s not exactly the same for my NPPD teammates, who often labor in obscurity. Backstage and out of the limelight, you make sure lights stay on and air conditioners hum while others watch, transfixed, a 55-inch, Hi-Def TV as Steph performs his magic act.
But it should be the same. After all, you, too, make the difficult seem easy, the impossible, possible. And that’s really something to cheer about.