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Mo' Farah: A Confirmation Bias - Education - Nairaland

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Mo' Farah: A Confirmation Bias by Captaincue(m): 1:00pm On Aug 15, 2016
MO' FARAH: A Confirmation Bias

Thanks to YouTube, I'm inundated with sporting moments I missed due to my age; thus, I know an awful lot about the landmark achievements and remarkable feats of athletes at the five-ring tourney pre-#Athens2004, which, as it happens, is the first Olympic tournament I can vividly recall. Its always fun to watch these retro-footages to get a feel of the ambience, style and politics of yore.

Being exposed to sporting po-rn on the internet, one is bound to appreciate the efforts, achievements and legacies of compatriots: Ajunwa, Toriola, Onyali, Ogunkoya et al., and those NOT of Nigerian descent: Isinbayeva, Jesse Owens, Comaneci, The bloody Dream Team, Gebrselassie, Bekele et al. These aforementioned athletes, and more like them, have put in incredible performances over the years, while some (Bolt, Phelps, Murray) are STILL doing great things with their careers at the Olympics. This piece though, is about another contemporary great - Mo' Farah - the British long-distance running legend who just defended his 10,000m title from the London Olympics at its sequel; #Rio2016.

I'm not going to extol his athletic accomplishments (seriously, wiki him), so I'm just going to discuss the crux of this piece. Minutes into the start of a 10,000m race, where all contestants are crammed into the inner lanes of the track, Mo' tripped over his own foot, fell, rolled on the hard ground, narrowly escaped having his head trampled by an unsuspecting runner, who, thankfully, flew over Mo'. That's hardly worth a 140-character tweet, but I'll tell you what is. And then some. He picked himself up, dusted himself down, licked his wounds (insert any beautiful figure of speech about moving on) and proceeded to win gold in a race that had a horribly calamitous beginning for him.

One is never tired of hearing grass to grace stories at major sporting events like the Olympics, but you must forgive me for exploring a much simpler and infinitely basic one, the "winners don't quit" narrative. Despite, or rather, in spite of the inauspicious start to a long, long race, he put on the steely determination of a coldblooded, pigheaded, focused lion -- went in for the kill, and made it.

Extrapolating lessons and values from one field (sport) to a much bigger one (life) might seem rather simplistic, but the inherent similarities are existential. In pursuit of a goal (or gold), you might falter, drift or worse still, fall. But like Mo' did, there's no time to feel sorry for yourself for an unforseen and unfortunate contingency. You keep moving with the singular intent of achieving your goal. Its only proper to end this with the D.H. Lawrence poem that Master-Chief John Urgayle quoted in G.I. Jane:

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen from a bough
Without ever having felt sorry for itself."

It rrrrrings true. When it comes to heroes, I'll always advocate drawing the line between admiration and worship; as no mortal is worthy of being worshipped. Acts though, that single mindednes, that chutzpah, that middle-finger salute to a difficult challenge; that's an act worthy of emulation. Bravo Mo' Farah; a modern hero.

--->>> Captaincue (Nigeria's football gold in 1996 trumps everything)
cc: Lalasticlala

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