"Being humble is a hard quality to achieve when your ego is crazy with no modesty."- Jim Jones
If you're the type of person who reads our site, you already know about what happened with Richard Sherman last night. The mothersite has already hit on it a few times, but I'd feel kind of remiss if I didn't throw in my two cents here. I'm not going to get into the troubling racial undertones the unfortunately crop up any time a black athlete doesn't smile, nod, and give generic platitudes in a post-game interview. No, I'm going to talk about the part that rings out more to me:
Humility, especially false humility, is the fucking worst.
Richard Sherman just made the biggest play of his career. That's basically the moment you dream of as a child. Nothing, except for maybe an eventual case of CTE, can ever take that away from him. Damn right he can be emotional. He more than earned it.
I've said it before, but it always bears repeating: athletes are the closest thing we get to actual superhumans in this world. But just because they're physically the closest analogue we'll ever get to Captain America doesn't mean they'll communicate with his 1940's "Golly!" Pollyanna mannerisms. And I don't ever want them to. I'm not saying every athlete needs to run around after the game cutting WWE promos like Sherman more or less did last night. As hilarious as seeing Peyton Manning talk heaping mounds of shit would be (something SNL proved), it would go against his character.
Richard Sherman got where he is in life because of who he is. And while I'm nowhere near as successful as Richard Sherman (and likely never will be), I get it.
I am the product of complete and unabashed raging ego. I don't really know how it got started. It could have been from academics, but no, that doesn't quite ring so true. It stems from my swimming career. I was pretty good, but never great, and I knew it. I was a B+ at best. But I had no desire to be the quiet one on the sideline. At one conference meet in the summer between 8th grade and high school, I was standing on the starting block during the 200 yard freestyle relay to end the meet. I was the anchor. As the third swimmers did their flip turns at the other end of the pool, I turned and looked at my closest opponent. He returned my stare and the only sensible action I could think of came to mind: I kissed my biceps, turned back to the water, and beat the everloving shit out of him in the race. That day may have birthed the man I became.
Because I was not a very confident person before that. But that bravado started changing things. And I carried it with me into my high school career. Eventually it leached over from getting threatened by officials for my cockiness (my choice of word) and/or arrogance (theirs). Eventually the bravado switched into being real and people noticed. I started being more confident in everyday life. Girls started noticing I existed. The Mark I currently am and forever will be was formed. It's why I identify with blowhards like Kanye West or the Wally West incarnation of the Flash. It's why despite being dealt multiple shit hands over the years, I have a pretty damn hard time staying humbled.
Sherman's outburst was largely the product of a feud with Michael Crabtree that we're going to learn a lot more details about as the week goes on, but a large part of it is simply who he is. And you know what's worse than raw cockiness? False humility.