Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Playing golf with Tiger, shooting hoops with Michael Jordan

The world of sports is filled with superstars. Every sport
has those special gifted and super talented athletes whose skills
and abilities are unrivaled. We watch them on t.v., admire them
from afar, and maybe even get an opportunity to pay for tickets
to see them play in person. That's the way it is. About all we
mortals can do is fantasize about trying trying to hit a ball out
of Yankee Stadium, pairing up for a round of golf with Tiger
Woods, or shooting a few hoops with LeBron. Surfing, on the
other hand, is very very different.

Last night I got a chance to hear Shaun Tomson talk about his
new book, the updated paperback version of The Surfer's Code.
Someone asked him if anyone ever drops in on him. Shaun smiled,
laughed a bit and replied "sure, at Rincon where I live, I get dropped
in on and yelled at all the time." Shaun surfs Rincon just like
everyone else in Santa Barbara without expecting special treatment.

Someone forwarded me a video of Kelly Slater, arguably the best surfer
ever, tearing it up at Malibu, one of the most crowded waves
on the planet. Two things were obvious in the video; Kelly was
ripping and is an amazing surfer, and even the world champ
gets dropped in on and yells people off the wave.

No where else in sports do we get a chance to share the playing field
with our superstars, the heros. Makes no difference if you are a "lifer"
or a grom. We all get to surf the same breaks, the same waves and
on the same days. We share, stare, watch, hoot, and even talk to each
other in the lineup. Guess surfing gives us a real glimpse into the human
condition. We are all very much the same, all paddling for the same
waves, all trying to enjoy many of the same simple pleasures in life.
Rich or poor, black or white in the water we all want the same things,
all have a chance to surf together. Not a bad model for life.

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