As some of you may know, I'm a big sports fan. When it comes to the Cowboys, Spurs, and Rangers I'm ready to watch if I'm given the opportunity. Last night, watching Sunday Night Football was a night that will be difficult to forget as my friend Michael and I witnessed possibly the BEST CATCH EVER by a football player and it wasn't a Cowboy.
Before I direct you to the video (link below) it's important to understand why I'm bringing this up. It's important to understand that musicians and athletes put themselves through the ringer when it comes to preparation. Athletes just like musicians, are expected to perform at a high level the moment they are called upon. Obviously, it's the preparation leading up to that moment that will allow you to respond. This is why repetition is part of what we do as professionals. We don't do things until we get it right, we do things until we don't get them wrong, this is called Mastery!
Truth is, this is necessary because the time you spend preparing will far surpass the time it takes for you to perform a given task. An example of this is preparing a 5 minute solo piece. While the piece may seem like an eternity as you perform it, chances are it took you even longer to figure out and execute everything on the page with great accuracy. If you prepared correctly, you must have tried different ways of playing a certain passage, with different bowings or different fingerings. For me, it means spending a fair amount of time focusing on one measure or several measures. While the problem passage may take 5-10 seconds to perform, the preparation leading up to it takes way longer.
Case in point, Sunday night's game. The Cowboys played against the Giants in a bitter division matchup. This game was a little too close for comfort especially since the Giants have been on a bad losing streak. Since they are long-time rivals, records went out the door and really good competition ensued. Throughout the game and before commercial breaks, it's customary for player highlights to be shown. One of these warm-up segments was quite impressive as they featured the phenom Rookie wide receiver that plays for the Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. He played college ball at LSU and quite frankly, is someone to be feared. The guy possesses great hands and speed that every defender NEEDS to be aware of him. This one segment showed him warming up, making impressive one-handed catches as if they were routine. It appeared as though the network planned to demonstrate what it takes to be a professional, as a few plays later, THE CATCH happened.
It's hard not to over-sell this display of athleticism, but I've never seen such a play. As much football as I watch, I will be lucky to see something like this again, I'm sure you will agree.
To sum it up, professionals have an attitude that sets them apart from amateurs. You don't complain, you just DO. This guy plays on a team that has NO SHOT at the playoffs and is in disarray. He didn't complain about the preparation, he just did it. This catch is the culmination of being prepared when you're called upon. Enjoy.