Wowed by the Warriors

by Barnabas Piper

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015, at 4:05 pm

Every time you watch a game or match of any sport, there’s always the chance you’ll see something spectacular: a record-breaking performance, a play that makes all the highlight reels, a photo finish. Historically, certain athletes or teams have taken that slim chance and made it a near certainty: Michael Jordan, Pelé, Barry Sanders, Barry Bonds, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, the 1996 Chicago Bulls, the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, “The Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams between 1999 and 2001. When you tuned in to watch those players and teams you expected your mind to be blown.

That’s one of the greatest things about sports, its ability to wow us at any a moment. Few other aspects of life provide us with such an opportunity for mouth-agape, punch-your-neighbor-in-the-arm amazement like the supreme feats of athleticism. It’s a gift, and nobody today is as generous with that gift as Stephen Curry. He’s the Santa Claus of incredible highlights.

Last season Curry led the Golden State Warriors to the NBA title and broke his own NBA record for 3-point baskets in a season along the way. He was electric.

But if last season was electric, this one is nuclear. Curry is on pace for nearly 430 3-pointers this season, 145 more than last year. But it’s more than the number; it’s the style. He dribbles the ball like it’s a yo-yo attached to his finger and hits wild shots any other player would get benched for even attempting with such consistency and ease. He is a team player, averaging six assists per game and sitting out many fourth quarters as he and his teammates steamroll opponents.

On top of all this, the Warriors have set the NBA record for wins to begin a season at 23, eight more than the previous record. (They go for win No. 24 tonight in Boston against the Celtics.) They play an unmatched style that is fast, fun, and team-oriented. Every Golden State game is a spectacle of the best sort. In a social media age when everything is “epic,” “mind blowing,” “the greatest,” or “will make your head explode,” superlatives don’t seem to be adequate to describe this team’s play.

Sports are often a passing fancy, a mindless relaxation opportunity. But sometimes, every so often, a player or a team—both, in this case—are so spectacular they deserve our full appreciation. Rather than letting the 24-hour news cycle run away with us, we should take the time to appreciate such greatness.

It’s a rare gift, as a fan, to see something with regularity we haven’t seen before. It’s even rarer when it’s done with class and character, as the Warriors do. We hope for it. We keep our eyes open. But do we take the time to pause and appreciate and absorb it? We love sports for just these experiences. Let’s not overlook or underappreciate the greatness right in front of us. It might be years before we see the likes of it again.

Barnabas Piper

Barnabas works for Lifeway Christian Resources and is the author of The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity and Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not the Enemy of Faith. He and his wife live in the Nashville area with their two daughters. Follow Barnabas on Twitter @BarnabasPiper.

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