Back Spin (1997)

Back Spin (1997) by Harlan - Myron 04 Coben

Book: Back Spin (1997) by Harlan - Myron 04 Coben Read Free Book Online
Authors: Harlan - Myron 04 Coben
of several martial arts, the transcendental meditator, the man so at ease and in focus with his surroundings, have too much to drink.
    It had been a very long time.
    "I have a golf question for you," Myron said.
    Win nodded for him to proceed.
    "Do you think Jack Coldren can hang on to this lead?"
    Win poured the brandy. "Jack will win," he said.
    "You sound pretty sure."
    "I am sure."
    "Why?"
    Win raised the glass to his mouth and looked over the rim. "I saw his eyes."
    Myron made a face. "What's that supposed to mean?" .
    "He has it back. The look in the eyes."
    "You're kidding, right?"
    "Perhaps I am. But let me ask you something."
    "Go ahead."
    "What separates the great athletes from the very good? The legend from the joumeyman? Simply put, what makes winners?"
    "Talent," Myron said. "Practice. Skill."
    Win gave a slight shake of the head. "You know better than that."
    "I do?"
    "Yes. Many have talent. Many practice. There is more to the art of creating a true winner."
    "This look-in-the-eye thing?"
    "Yes."
    Myron winced. "You're not going to start singing 'Eye of the Tiger,' are you?" _
    Win cocked his head. "Who sang that song?"
    The continuing trivia game. Win knew the answer, of course. "It was in Rocky II, right?"
    "Rocky IIl," Win corrected.
    "That the one with Mr. T?"
    Win nodded. "Who played . . . ?" he prompted.
    "Clubber Lange."
    "Very good. Now who sang the song?"
    "I don't remember."
    "The name of the group was Survivor," Win said.
    "Ironic name when you think of how quickly they vanished, no?"
    "Uh-huh," Myron said. "So what is this great divider, Win? What makes a winner'?"
    Win took another swish and sip. "Wanting," he said.
    "Wanting?"
    "Hunger."
    "Uh+huh." "The answer isn't surprising," Win said. "Look in Joe DiMaggio's eyes. Or Larry Bird's. Or Michael Jordan's.
    Look at pictures of Jolm McEnroe in his prime, or Chris Evert. Look at Linda Coldren." He stopped. ' 'Look in the mirror."
    "The mirror? I have this?"
    "When you were on the court," Win said slowly, "your eyes were barely sane."
    They fell into silence. Myron took a swig of Yoo-Hoo.
    The cold aluminum felt good in his hand. "You make the . whole 'wanting' thing sound like it's all foreign to you,"
    Myron said.
    "It is."
    "Bull."
    "I am a good golfer," Win said. "Correction: I am a very good golfer. I practiced quite a bit in my youth. I
    have even won my share of toumaments. But I never wanted it bad enough to move up to that next level."
    "I've seen you in the ring," Myron countered. "In martial arts tournaments. You seemed plenty 'wanting' to me."
    "That is very different," Win said.
    "How so?" +
    "I do not view a martial arts tournaments as a sporting contest, whereby the winner brings home a chintzy trophy and brags to colleagues and friends- nor do I view it as a competition that will lead to some sort of empty emotion that the insecure among us perceive as glory.
    Fighting is not a sport to me. It's about survival. If I could lose in there"- he motioned to an imaginary ring "I
    could lose in the real world." Win looked up in the air.
    "But . . ." His voice drifted off "But?" Myron repeated.
    "But you may be on to something."
    "Oh?"
    Win steepled his fingers. "You see, fighting is life and death to me. That's how I treat it. But the athletes we've been talking about take it a step further. Every competition,-even the most banal, is viewed by them as life-and-death and losing is death."
    Myron nodded. He didn't buy it, but what the hell.
    Keep him talking. "I don't get something," he said. "If Jack has this special 'wanting,' why hasn't he ever won a professional tournament?' '
    "He lost it."
    "The wanting?"
    "Yes."
    "When?"
    "Twenty-three years ago."
    "During the Open?"
    "Yes," Win said again. "Most athletes lose it in a slow burnout. They grow weary or they win enough to quench whatever inferno rages in their bellies. But that was not the case with Jack. His fire was extinguished in one crisp, cold gust. You could almost see it. Twentythree

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