30 June 2009
We've all experienced it before, that moment when something gets in the way of your ambition. You meant to go running, but it was too hot and the couch looked much more inviting. You meant mow the lawn, but it looked like it might rain. You meant to take your dog for a walk, but your favorite sports team was playing.
I'm one of those rare people who can find art and meaning just about anywhere, including the one place most people would never expect to find it: TV. And I found it earlier today when I hit on a new Nike TV commercial featuring Lance Armstrong. The ad campaign is a collaboration between Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
It would be easy to scoff that it's just a way to sell more shoes. And it probably is. But I came away inspired, and I have no desire to buy a pair of Nikes right now (besides, I'm an Asics type of guy.) But as soon as I'm finished writing this, I will get outside and run.
The spot, titled Driven, shows various cancer victims going through treatment and cuts away to shots of Armstrong hammering out big RPMs. He says, "The critics say I'm arrogant. A doper. Washed up. A fraud. That I couldn't let it go. They can say whatever they want. I'm not back on my bike for them."
There's just something about watching video of Armstrong on his bike before going for a ride that all but guarantees a higher cadence while running the streets. I think the reason for this is that it opens a door for you to see what another human can do, and you can do more, too. It might be as simple as tackling a hill faster than you've ever done it before. Or it might be as important as finding the will to go through another round of chemo. Just ask my father...he's on his twelfth round this week.
The thing is, though, no other athlete in my lifetime—not Jordan, Montana, or Ripken—seems to have been able inspire people to do the little things and the big things in their lives better.
Credit the creators of the ad for the art, and Armstrong for the meaning. What he is tackling with his foundation is inspirational—even if he, himself, is a bit controversial. He helps people turn "I meant to do it" into just do it.
Watch the spot. Then go set a new personal record.