I don't know basketball and I don't know religion, but I do know a good inspirational story when I see one!
I am not a sports person, and the only time I watch sports is when the television is hogged by my dad or my brother. So naturally, I didn't really understand the hype around Jeremy Lin. I knew he's a good player, he's one of the few Asians playing in NBA, and his parents are from Taiwan, but besides from that, I'm not interested. I am of the rare species though, as everyone else in Taiwan seems to LOVE Jeremy Lin.
When <Linsanity> the documentary/movie came out, it made its way into all of the major theaters here in Taiwan, probably bringing in lots of revenue too. One of the people I know loved Lin so much, not only did she watch the movie, she also offered to give out two free tickets, just to promote the film. So, even though I wasn't as devoted a fan and rarely goes to movie theaters anyway, I ended up watching the movie.
To my surprise, I quite like the movie. The editing and transition was fluent, together with the help of the music, even people who don't understand the sport can be fully immersed in the game, knowing when is a good shot, and when the player is off.
Against the backdrop of basketball, there are two main themes: Faith, and racial discrimination- discrimination was one of the biggest obstacles he had to overcome, and he did so by having faith in God.
Jeremy is a American-grown Christian boy who has a strong passion for basketball and a NBA dream, I don't think you can be any more "American" than him. Yet because of his race and appearance, he had been turned down and humiliated multiple times in his basketball career, all the way from high school, university, to the professional leagues. It is rare to see a not-as-tall Asian in the NBA, but I thought his great skills and performance in the court would have been enough to compensate for that. Well, it certainly did not in the beginning, when he was struggling to get signed by teams, even though he played great in high school and university. Discrimination is everywhere, perhaps more so in sports, since there are a lot of traditions teams and fans honor, I remember seeing similar situations in the movie Money Ball. What really saddened me is when Lin received racist comments from the audience during his game at Harvard. I believe discrimination arises from ignorance, and I thought Ivy League students would be more informed than to be racist against Asian people, or at least be smart enough not to voice it loud. Clearly that is not the case, and it makes me think whoever said America is a great melting pot or a salad bowl probably didn't have Asians as one of the ingredients in mind.
To deal with the discrimination, Lin turned to God for support. The discriminating comments were harsh, but one can still try to tune it out. But being turned down by teams after teams, that was something that would make one feel helpless, and he may not have been able to pull through if not for his strong unwavering belief in God and its plans. I am not Christian, but I do believe in the greater order, and it was touching to see how his faith got him through all the difficulties.
Linsanity the movie isn't one of those blockbusters, but it is a decent documentary that gives some in-depth descriptions about Jeremy Lin and his rise to fame. No matter where his career takes him in the future, his story will be one that is inspirational to all.
(photo courtesy of Linsanitythemovie.com)