It’s well-known in Boston that the local media loves to trash the local sports teams. I think this comes from the era I talked about in my previous post, the years between 1987-2001 when none of the pro teams won anything and negativity sold newspapers. Even though both the sports landscape locally and the world at large has changed since then (just ask the numerous newspapers that have gone out of business), the message and tone remains the same.
It’s with that attitude that some local radio hosts earlier in the season were trashing Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy, ranting about how much he sucks. He went out and had himself a postseason: three games, three sacks, one forced fumble, 17 tackles and one Super Bowl championship. At Media Row before the Super Bowl, Van Noy was reminded of what was said about him in the media earlier in the season and asked if he likes proving people wrong. He said, “I enjoy proving people right. A lot of people believe in me: my family, my teammates, my coaches. I want to prove those people right.”
That really struck a chord with me, because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that proving people right is a much more powerful motivator than proving people wrong. Growing up, I could feel the energy that came from people doubting my intelligence and how I compared to other people around me. It definitely gave me a chip on my shoulder and a desire to show those people how wrong they were. There are certainly times I channel that when I’m writing. There are bursts of that energy, and times that it brings out the best in me as a writer. And of COURSE it was satisfying to shove it in all of their faces when I finally published my book.
But ultimately, that chip isn’t what sustains me throughout my journey as a writer (which is a lifelong journey!). I don’t think it could; I think if it was all about negativity, I would burn out and I certainly wouldn’t feel better about myself. Love is a much stronger force. Again, it is a marathon, not a sprint. When I have to sprint, I channel that other stuff. When I have to bring my best every single day and simply show up in gratitude and strength, I think about all the people who believed in me and encouraged me to keep going, because they were sure that my writing mattered. I think about my Aunt Kathy, who was my greatest champion. Who read my old blog when hardly anyone else cared, and would always leave encouraging comments. Who would text me and tell me what a fabulous writer she thought I was, and how much she loved me. She just thought everything I did and touched was wonderful, even and especially when no one else did.
I would rather prove her right.