Boston.com – Alongside the children taking swim lessons at the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club Wednesday afternoon was none other than 7-foot-7 Celtics center Tacko Fall.
Nearly twice the size of his comrades, if not taller, Fall fully participated in the session, practicing introductory exercises like kicking and pushing off the wall. A round of “Marco Polo” capped the 30-minute lesson.
There are many people who walk this earth who are good at something. There are even some that are great. There are a small few though, who are truly excellent, transcending 99% of the population in that one activity or area of interest.
For most of those that have found that one thing they are truly extraordinary at, that’s it. They stick to it, continue to get even better, and beat the drum of their remarkable skills over and over and over again.
Why? Well for one why the hell not? You have found something you can do better than almost anyone. Even if it doesn’t bring you money and fame, which it almost certainly does, especially in this day and age of internet sponsorships, etc., it brings you an overwhelming amount of personal satisfaction for sure. You feel fulfilled.
But the other reason that lurks in the dark recesses of someone like that’s mind is simply this: the fear of starting over in something new. Being a beginner. Having to start from the bottom, among the 99%, and figure a whole different lane as if you’re just another average human. Case in point John Wayne Parr. The greatest non-Thai Nak Muay in the history of Muay Thai. Absolute savage. But as MMA made it’s way into the mainstream and Muay Thai continued to toil in relative obscurity, JWP was not among the many top shelf fighters (from not just Muay Thai, but many other single-discipline martial arts) to make the leap. Why? Well, many speculate that for someone as skilled standing up as he is, he didn’t want to start over. He simply didn’t want to put on a white belt and learn how to defend himself on the ground from scratch. He had too much pride, and I don’t question him for it. He earned it.
On the other side of that equation we have Tacko Fall, shot blocking and rim running extraordinaire. Unheralded athlete of the century. Possible All NBA center with a little greasing of some gears. He has made it to the pinnacle of professional basketball with one of its most storied franchises and took quite the road to get there. So does he rest on his laurels, work hard in the off-season to just perfect his basketball skills, and go hunting in Faneuil Hall for undergrads fresh off a Pumpkin Spice Latte high? Nope, he seeks greatness in another field.
Tacko has taken to the water. Already elite at standing on dry ground and participating in modern athletics, he is now zeroed in on becoming just as good aquatically. With that wingspan I can only imagine he’ll be treading water for 2 hours straight come November. Backstroke? Well one wave of the arm and he’ll be at the other end of the pool. Marco Polo as this article alludes to? Please. Only sub in the nominal phrase with “SWITCH!” and little Billy will be tagged out quicker than he can splash the lifeguard. Games set match Fall.
I look forward to seeing what becomes of this endeavor. Will he take his talents to the professional level? Will he save a heart surgeon’s trophy wife from a great white in Chatham? Who knows. The sky, or should I say the seabed, is the limit.