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Is greatness still within us?

December 11, 2012

After the airing of the Heisman Trophy Presentation, ESPN showed a 30 for 30 film that documented the unfortunately short career of Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson. The film, “You Don’t Know Bo”, was somewhat of a folktale telling the amazing feats Bo Jackson was said to have done and actually accomplished. I had the privilege to watch this documentary and thought it asked me a question, “Is greatness still within us?”
Many of you may remember Bo playing for Auburn or starring for the Los Angeles Raiders, but I did not even know Bo was a dual athlete. Not only was Jackson an accomplished football player, baseball was another sport which he excelled at. Bo was naturally talented and could play football and baseball while staying 100 percent and playing almost full seasons of both sports. Though Jackson’s career was cut short due to a hip dislocation, he is remembered by everybody as maybe one of the most athletically blessed people ever to be watched and enjoyed by the American public. Bo could be called a “Human Highlight” and was truly impressive to watch.
Yet I do not understand how there has not been another two-sport athlete like Jackson. I understand that everything aligned correctly for Bo but I wonder if a professional athlete would ever play two sports again. Would Lebron James be able to play football and continue to compete in the NBA? Or could a great NFL player decide to play baseball or another professional sport during the offseason. I fear that it would never happen in a time where team owners consider their players property.
I think true athletic greatness occurs when a player can absolutely dominate or excel in two or more sports. Yes, I understand that sport fans see single sport professionals as great athletes, but can we honestly say that sport-specific players could be super athletes.
The feats of Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, and even Michael Jordan, I classify as super-athletes because they had the drive and special ability to play well in two different sports. These athletes were supreme and unbelievable to watch. Though I’m not old enough to have watched these players live and in person, watching their highlights and hearing their stories makes me want to search for greatness.
Our youth in America should be able to press to play multiple sports, and be the best in all fields. Players who can be successful in more than one field of play impress me beyond belief. Not only do they make me drop my jaw, but they make me believe for a few minutes that America still has a chance to find that next Bo Jackson.

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