Published on April 7th, 2013 | by msalt


Do Nothing, Michigan!

John Horford is a 6’9″ redshirt sophmore on Michigan’s basketball team. Monday night, he’ll be playing for the national championship.

Minutes after his teammate Trey Burke nailed a game-winning 3-pointer in the Sweet Sixteen, Horford was on the bench reading a book, oblivious to the pandemonium. The book was the Tao Te Ching.

“It’s about praise and blame, and it’s talking about how you shouldn’t get too high or too low, ever,” he told Michigan Live. “When praise comes, you get an overwhelming feeling. And when praise leaves you, you get an overwhelming feeling. So it’s just about not putting in high regard for praise. Stay humble. Don’t think of yourself as more if you’re receiving praise, and don’t think of yourself as less if you’re receiving blame.”

As Willians Professor Sam Crane notes over at The Useless Tree, Horford appears to have a good grasp of the subtle book, too.

“You can’t say it’s about nothing, but that’s one of the main things — just do nothing,” [Horford] said of the book. “It’s about returning yourself to your original nature, how you were before you were affected by everything around you.”

As Professor Crane notes, the phrase “original nature” is a bit dangerous — “we should steer clear of essentialist assertions of ‘human nature’ – but the sense of unadulterated spontaneity is quite apt.”

We often write about sports here at Taoish, as it’s one of the easiest places to see Daoism in action. It’s nice to see the players themselves recognizing this.

Thanks to Warp, Weft and Way for the tip and the title.

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About the Author

Mark Saltveit is a writer, standup comedian, skimboarder and dad based in Middlebury, Vermont. His improv show "Palindrome Fight!" will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Aug. 5-29th 2022 at the Kilderkin Pub, 67 Canongate, at 7:30pm each night except Tuesdays.

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