Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Sidd Finch Day

While I usually do not participate in April Fools' Day capers, I always remember the Sports Illustrated article about Sidd Finch, the Mets phenom pitcher who was deciding between a life as a pitcher or as a French horn player. If you read the story - check out the first letter of the opening and what it spells ("He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd's deciding about yoga - and his future in baseball."). Likely one of the best April Fools' pranks of all time (the SI issue was published on 4/1). All the better because it lasted through the April 15 edition when they finally announced it was a hoax - after announcing on 4/8 that Finch was retiring.

I laugh about the story as I think back to me as a young boy reading this and wondering what a buddlist pitcher who learned throwing in the Himalayas was really like. But then I think about what it means to create something that really endures - even if it is a bit silly like this story and an April Fools' joke. George Plimpton, the author, had a few of these and enough daring to create more than a piece of literature - more like a part of our history, something that endures.

There is no question in my perspective that this was a stroke of creative genius (you can have your own view, but the reactions of readers in a pre-Internet world when they realized it was a hoax are classic). On today, April 1, will you create genius or mediocrity? Not a joke, just a thought.

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