A fortune cookie once told me: “Appreciate the small things in life.” It then gave me the lotto numbers and the Chinese word for dog, gou. But that’s not what today’s column is about.
It’s one of the most clichéd phrases in the “stop and smell the roses” line of overused, carpe diem, wannabe inspirational handbook that the world has ever produced. Even Sparknotes was more original.
But here’s the thing about clichés — if they weren’t true, then they wouldn’t be as widespread as they are today. Well, except for stop and smell the roses — that just doesn’t make any sense. (Seriously, have you smelled roses recently? They reek of a musk that can only be properly described by the immortal words of OutKast: “Roses really smell like poo-poo-oo.”)
Life is full of small things, and even as we (by we, I mean people who are more ambitious than I am … after all, I just made a poop joke) look forward to pwning our next big I-banking interview, starting up our seventh non-profit and trying to avoid being caught Bernie Madoff-style while buying party supplies with our parents’ “textbook money” (sorry Mom), we often miss out on the petit pleasures. Sports is no different.
As we finish off October and head into November, the sports world is dominated by a phenomenon that happens only once a year: All four major sports are playing.
1. The NFL is passing the midway point of the season.
2. The NBA is finally starting back up again.
3. The World Series is just around the corner.
4. Liquor-treating at Halloween parties.
Wait … that’s not a sport (yet). I meant:
4. The NHL is starting again. (I think?)
Even the college sports scene is very much alive, as various fall sports begin the meat-and-potatoes stretch of their conference seasons. Amid this plethora of big, dominant sports, its easy to get sucked into 12 straight hours stuck in front of the TV before you realize that the 400-page book on John Stuart Mill you’re supposed to read by tomorrow has been staring at you Geico-style.
Don’t fall into the trap!
At the expense of sounding like your friendly neighborhood dean, enjoy the little sports moments and don’t always focus so much on the big ones. Maybe try a little ping pong in your basement and experience the power of dominating at little sports.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Ping pong’s not a sport.” Well, try telling that to my roommate, who trained 12 hours a day at an elite ping pong training facility in Beijing until the age of 10 and competed at the Table Tennis Junior U.S. Open. (The crazy part is, I didn’t make up a single part of that last sentence.) If you tell him ping pong’s not a sport, he will defenestrate you.
But my point is this: Too often, why not do something simply for the heck of it? Maybe fool around at your ping pong table for a couple hours — or five. Play some squash. Maybe even go out for a field hockey game. (Do you even know what field hockey is? Me neither. Let’s go to the final home game on Nov. 7th and find out!). Life is simply too full of little pockets of joy to focus just on the big things.
Sure, I’ve got two midterms tomorrow. But is that going to stop me from playing ping pong until my wrist walks out on my arm? Heck no!
My friends, it’s called a dean’s excuse.
John Song is a junior in Berkeley College.