Here’s the deal. It is the rare athlete that has something new to say. Most post-game interviews are interchangeable, with the same old clichés flowing so easily that you’d think there was no other way to answer the questions. There’s no “I” in team. I’m really proud of our guys. We’re just taking it one game at a time. These are annoying, but all of these thoughts fall into the realm of possibility. Today, however, we’re discussing the impossible – giving 110 percent.
One hundred percent is all you can give. That’s it. That’s everything. Granted, one could go out and run 110 percent as many yards as they did the game before – but they never say that. They say that they’re going to give 110 percent. Which you can’t do. I’d like to see it. “He’s having an amazing game, Jim, he’s taken 14 free throws and made 15 of them.”
Of course I understand what they’re trying to say…but how is 100 percent not enough? If you give 100 percent, that’s not too shabby. I’ve never given 100 percent to anything in my life. I’ve never surpassed the 81 percent mark. Honestly, I don’t think there’s ever been an athlete that gave 100 percent, regardless of the sport. Think about it. That would mean that on every single play of the game, they ran as fast as they possible could, jumped as high as conceivable, hit the hardest they’d ever hit, etc. I’d say that anywhere in the nineties is really impressive.
The other problem with giving more effort than is mathematically possible, is that if you’re going to throw out a random number like 110 percent – why not go higher? Oh, they have. They’ve gone much higher. In every arena.
Here’s third baseman, Melvin Mora, after recovering from an injury, “I’m fine now. I’m 120 percent.” That’s impressive. For him, “fine” is ten percent better than all of those athletes who are straining to give 110 percent.
NFL player, Adrian McPherson, takes it up a notch, “I owe it to the organization to come in and give 150 percent and that’s what I’m going to do.” That’s right, you owe us 30 percent more than Mora, after all, he’s coming off of an injury.
In the world of boxing, Mike Trainer, Sugar Ray Leonard’s agent, said, “Every time out Ray gives 180 percent.” (I wonder if he’s inflating the numbers because he’ll make more money as his agent…after all, ten percent of 180 percent is more than ten percent of 110 percent).
Hall of fame basketball player Karl Malone adds his opinion, “If I can’t bring you 200 percent, from me, I can’t bring you anything.” It’s all or nothing with this guy. He’ll either give twice as much effort as is humanly possible or he’ll just sit there and not do a thing.
But the numbers go higher. A college track coach offered this nugget, “Penn traditionally has the type of kids that fight – not necessarily the stars, but they give 500 percent.” Just incredible. I wonder what number their stars turn in.
Wrestler Matt Sydal takes it to the next level, “If you don’t love it and give 1,000 percent, you can’t make it.” Normally it would take ten men to give 1,000 percent – this guy means business.
And the highest number I could find came from the world of soccer. Columnist Manuel Traquete wrote, “They’ll now face an extra-motivated Arsenal side who will give 10,000 percent.”
It’s ridiculous. Once we establish that there’s no mathematical limit to the amount of effort you can bring to your particular sport, the sky’s the limit. Personally, I’m no longer going to watch any games unless all of the participants on both teams have agreed beforehand to give a minimum of 383,417 percent.
Anything less is unacceptable.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I convince athletes (and, actually, performers, salesman, really anyone who has to bring effort to their work) around the world to follow the rules of logic? It won’t be easy. This thing is epidemic and growing larger every minute. I’m going to have to focus. I’ll have to bring my A game. I’ll have to leave it all on the field.
I’ll have to give 82 percent.