In Search of Greatness is a documentary feature from filmmaker Gabe Polsky, it examines the life and mind of sports greats and what it takes to be a champion. There are interviews with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, football great Jerry Rice, and soccer star Pele. This piece was equally as fascinating as it was inspirational.
It showed how sports stars are not some accidental freaks of nature, they really aren’t built differently from anyone else, nor do they possess a special aptitude, and, sometimes, as Wayne Gretzky put it, they can’t even play the sport better than anyone else. These athletes showed how above all, belief in yourself, wisdom, and innovation can supersede how hard you train.
What these athletes did was identify a method, a creative flair, something that made them different and then capitalized on that thing that made them unique that many people sadly miss in their lifetime, and used it as a tool to become the best. I appreciated the not stereotypical nature film as it really showed professional sports as an art, and was not just about how far athletes go to contort and stretch their bodies, basically torturing themselves into becoming super human. It was about their passion, love, and desire for the game; and their innate ability to stick to something until they identified a way to succeed.
I have to admit when I was assigned this film I shrugged. As I’m not a huge sports fan, I thought this would probably be difficult for someone like me to relate to and pull meaning from due to my personal lack of interest in sports; but what I found was the exact opposite. This film is riveting and I was inspired, I say this truthfully as I know anyone will be able to relate. The athletes are really taken off the pedestals society puts them on and shown as they are, human. They are people with passion, hopes, and dreams just like all of us. Although their joy was synonymous with their sport, no matter what field we are in, their motivation is magnetic.
Out of all the athletes they interviewed I think I identified most with Wayne Gretzky. I loved the story he told about his parents, how they never pushed him to become anything, he just had a passion and a talent, an inclination towards hockey. He basically picked up the hockey stick on his own because he loved it, not because he was being prodded by his parents. He credited their parenting technique as something that helped him become great, the freedom to make his own decisions.
In the world we live in today we see too much pushing of children into sports or activities to the point where they have no time to be creative and decide what they really want. Not everyone shares the same skill set or path in life, we are all individual people and maybe that path to greatness can be achieved in the way Wayne Gretzky’s was, through individualism and self discipline.
All in all, In Search of Greatness is a gem. A delightful, wholesome watch, and a perfect pick me up for anyone who feels left behind or unmotivated.
In Search of Greatness is released on digital platforms on 6th May.
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