On Fire 10-9-2012

1. The Essence of Greatness

Michael Phelps is arguably the single greatest Olympic athlete of all time (your prone-to-overstatement On Fire correspondent says arguably because this is an argument that he (or she) has gotten in to many times with friends, family and passers-by). His accomplishments are well-known, and do not necessitate re-hashing.

(For those who need re-hashing, he possesses the most gold medals and overall medals of any Olympian and set more world records than any swimmer.)

By all accounts (that is, according to the selective memory of your On-Fire correspondent) Phelps spent the months after the Beijing Olympics do nothing except smoking copious amount of marijuana. This time around, however, he seems to be putting his time to better use. And in doing so, he is coming close to staking his claim to another title: World’s Greatest All-Around Athlete.

You guessed it folks, MP (your optimistic On Fire correspondent expects this manner of referring to Phelps to catch on in no time) is taking up golf.

Let us step back for a moment and reflect on other great athletic transitions we have seen over the years. Of course, there is the original Michael: Michael Jordan is remembered now for not only being the greatest basketball player of all time, but quite possibly the worst professional baseball player in history.

How about Lance Armstrong? If you Google his name, the first result is “Armstrong wins Howard County Triathlon.” If you look closer, it turns out that what he won is the cancer survivors division, where admittedly the competition is most likely not the steepest, but nonetheless your On Fire correspondent is still impressed. He is also a marathoner, having completed the New York City a Marathon in less than three hours.

But really, going from biking to running? If you think about it, they are basically the same thing. In both, you are using your legs to go faster than other people (do not think about it too much). Besides, is running even a real athletic feat?

If you answered no to the above question, then you must understand why your On Fire correspondent believes MP (Phelps, in case that new nickname has not caught on yet) to be the greatest athlete of all time. Because if goes is not a real athletic feat, then what is?

Some would say running fulfills our most basic instinct – it is the latter half of fight or flight. But your On Fire correspondent argues that golf fulfills our even more basic instinct of making balls fall in holes.

Some would say that the difference between Armstrong and MP (once again, Phelps – try to keep up) is not whether their sport fulfills a more basic instinct, but which one is better at their new sport.

Well according to Wikipedia, when Armstrong raced in the Ironman Panama he competed in the professional division, while MP (you sure know who we am talking about by now) appears to have been the Am part of his team in last weekend’s Dunhill Links Championship Pro-Am. Furthermore, Phelps has a handicap which is over 20 (which, for those of you who are curious, is not good).

But athleticism is not about the stats. It is not about which division you compete in. As Hitch would say, it is about the moments which take your breath away.

Are you ready? Michael Phelps sunk a… wait for it… a 153 foot putt!

You read that correctly, 153 feet. That’s 51 yards, or 46.6 meters if we are using the metric system. Honestly, this is incredible. If you watch the video, you can observe 16 seconds passing between when MP takes his swing and when the ball falls into the hole. For you non-golfers out there, that is a long time.

From all of us here at On Fire, a tip of the cap to MP.


1. You Can Pay for School…

But you cannot buy class. A lesson which Ohio State backup quarterback Cardale Jones has learned all too well. Provided he did not skip it.

You can tell Cardale is educated because his Twitter handle (@Cordale10) is a misspelled version of his name. Now, to let the man speak for himself:

“Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.”

From all of us here at On Fire, c’mon son.