I'm generally fascinated by the impact of belief, confidence, and even arrogance on all kinds of outcomes. Just last night, I found myself questioning how the fifth-best team in the Atlantic 10 could go toe to toe with the best team in the nation. That Dayton believed they could was a huge part of the answer.
Andrew Romano explores this idea in the context of the most successful band in history in this long, but compelling piece on The Beatles. In it, he posits the idea that, "Arrogance—a kind of foolish, adolescent self-belief; an ignorant,
intuitive certainty that your way is the right way—is the root of all
great art. Without it, talent and timing aren't enough."
John Lennon himself would agree. In a 1980 interview, he said, "“We were the best fucking group in the goddamn world … and believing that is what made us what we were.”
It's impossible to measure arrogance, or confidence, or onions. But it's clear to me that those things matter. William & Mary's going to break it's long NCAA Tournament drought because Tony Shaver has begun in the last few years to recruit a different kind of kid than the ones that usually wind up in Williamsburg. Marcus Thornton's an obvious example, but Omar Prewitt's skinny, pale exterior hides an athletic arrogance that'll pay dividends.
(I'm aware, incidentally, that it's a fairly arrogant thing to discuss W&M basketball in the same post as The Beatles. Work with me here.)
This post isn't, it should be noted, an endorsement of arrogance in the normal course of things. Confidence, sure, we're with you there. But a dick's a dick in the workaday world. And nobody likes a dick. On the court, though, or the field, or onstage? Go on with your self-belief. It'll take you far.
Somewhere, Bono and Tom Brady agree with me.