The “Z-Axis”: A Third Dimension to Truth in Sports
To understand the spatial complexities of the world in which we live, three dimensions are absolutely imperative.
The “X-axis”, which substantiates the length of any given object, the “Y-axis” which characterizes the width of the object, and finally the “Z-axis” which gives the object its full spatial meaning by defining its depth.
In sports, a microcosm of life in general, we are habitually drawn to define occurrences in terms of only two of these dimensions, namely the x-axis and y-axis.
The x and y axes are what I consider to comprise the surface of an issue. The surface is limited to that which can be seen with no considerable effort. When you only see something as being two dimensional, there is no depth or philosophical weight given to the matter in question.
Examples of this are often seen during pregame or postgame interviews when interviewees offer pedestrian responses to questions with potentially perilous outcomes.
This is where the euphemistic, "one game at a time" line comes into play.
Consider the following question: (This is not an actual question, but would be a relevant one for the Denver Nuggets as it relates to their upcoming schedule)
"Coach. With your next five games coming against teams with a combined 9-55 record, is it easy to find yourself looking past your competition a bit towards your rematch with the Miami Heat? I wouldn't think the likes of New Jersey, Minnesota, and New York exactly instill fear into your hearts."
When presented with the option to provide something revealing, such as "Sure, those teams haven't been lighting the world on fire, and if I'm being honest I have been spending some additional time putting together my game plan for the Heat," every coach will always opt for the innocuous response.
I understand the politics behind the contrived "one game at a time" response. I get it. But what I don't get is what would be so wrong with exposing the third dimension a bit to add some depth to our superficiality?
Why must we be programmed in such a way that necessitates the uninteresting?
The "Z-axis" is where the interesting details reside. It is what gives our interactions substance. It is what quenches our thirst for truth. It is what is on the back of everyone's mind, but only a few will have the balls to expose.
This is where I have an opportunity as a journalist to add some definition to the indistinct. By unreservedly emerging myself within a world that has become so predictable, I can offer a firsthand account of truisms that can be inferred from calculated and patterned behavior. I can reveal the axiomatic truth behind that which has been deliberately obscured from perception.
The idea is to give my readers an outlet to hear the things that others can’t say. We are constantly being inundated with clichés and trite responses, purposefully understated so as not to reveal what lies in the back of one’s mind.
Well, what rests in the back of one’s mind is often the most interesting. Exposing that which lies upon the “Z-axis” lets my audience understand how what goes unsaid often speaks the loudest of all.
So I implore all of my readers, all journalists with a thirst for genuineness, all reporters with an undying inquisitiveness; don't accept the characterless and drab responses to your questions.
Poke, prod, urge, bribe, bargain, threaten if you have to, but don't relent. Do not concede until you are satisfied. Do not compromise what you know to be the truth.
There is a third dimension to sports, and to life as a whole, and it is this "Z-axis" which makes it all so damn interesting. I promise you that my pursuit of the truth will never rest, and even if I miss the bulls eye, I will never stop aiming for the target.
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