Friday, July 22, 2011

The Role of Swagger in Sports

A New Phenomenon

     "Swag" is a phenomenon that has been influencing sports since the beginning of time, but not until recently has it become known as the most important trait of a perennial winner. For years, there has always been that special "thing" that carried Joe Namath to victory in Superbowl III, or the "icy veins" in the clutch that propelled Michael Jordan to 6 championships, but in all honesty, it was their swag. Webster would define swag as an inner confidence that one exudes in everyday life. However, it is more than that. 

     Swag is what makes Tom Brady spike the football in the Steelers endzone. It is the reason Tiger Woods does this after his winning shot at the 2008 US Open. It moves Tim Thomas to, instead of  making a conventional save, knock this guy onto his butt while saving the puck during the Stanley Cup Finals. Gets Brandi Chastain to not only score the biggest soccer goal in US history, but also rip her shirt off during a wild celebration in the middle of the field during the 1999 Women's World Cup. All these examples show how a combination of cockiness and confidence, also known as swag, can go a long way to ensuring success.  

     Although this is a new term, its not only used by the new generation. ESPN is embracing it, as people like Merril Hoge consistently praise those players that "Have that Swagger". The NCAA gives out gifts to each player on FBS football teams that play in bowl games. What do they call these collections of gifts? Swag Bags. The only downside to swag is that those who are lacking tend to suffer. For example, LeBron James. He has terrific showmanship, and did all he could to prove himself a 'clutch' player throughout the 2011 NBA playoffs. However, when the time to be great came upon him, his turn to take over, his chance to silence his doubters once and for all, he took a backseat to two of his teammates. He lacked the internal fortitude necessary to consistently and comfortably be in control. In other words, he was lacking Swag. Another guy, Roger Goodell. Over the past year, he's received increasing amounts of criticism that have turned into public humiliation, and he's letting the Owners control his every move during this NFL Lockout. When it comes down to it, Goodell isn't capable of leading people in the way his position asks: he needs more swagger. 

     Swag is not something that can be earned, bought, or achieved, rather it is something that lies within the heart.  Those that have it will continue to shine, while those that are without it will continue to falter. 
The million dollar question is: Do you have swag?

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.