In recent weeks, the media has been fueled with news about the condition of the knee of Stephen Curry, star of the Golden State Warriors and the most valuable player in the National Basketball Association. Having suffered a sprain, he was out of the lineup for more than two weeks. When he returned this past Monday, his exact role in the game was uncertain. He did not start and instead sat on the bench on a stationary bike, trying to prepare to reenter the game.
When he came onto the court, he missed nine of his first ten shots. But then as the game progressed, something marvelous happened. Steph stepped into the zone. His shots began to fall. When he scored 17 points during overtime to almost singlehandedly win the game, he set an all-time record. He was back!
Michael Murphy and Rhea White wrote a book called In the Zone, about the transcendent experience in sports. That book was written 20 years ago, but it could have been about Steph on Monday night. Steph was in the zone. As we watched, his mind, body, and spirit coalesced, and he was able to transcend the limits of space and time and lead his team to victory. One after another 3-point shot flew through the hoop. And it all looked so effortless. Congratulations, Warriors!
People gather at sporting events so they can feel part of the community of life. They like competition; they want to see a win. But sometimes it is more than just that. By following the magic of Stephen Curry, each of us is also in some way inspired to do more than we might otherwise do, to transcend what we might think we are. To become planetary people who live in the zone.
(originally published May 18, 2016)