The Inevitable Cycle

Far Middle episode 117, released on August 16, coincides with the anniversary of football icon Frank Gifford’s birthday. Nick reflects on Gifford’s legendary career on the field and in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth. In looking back at the eight-time Pro Bowler’s career, Nick also recounts meeting Hall of Fame linebacker Chuck Bednarik who delivered “The Hit” on Gifford in their November 1960 Giants/Eagles matchup.

“It seems as if every time we do a dedication on The Far Middle of an exceptional athlete, like a Frank Gifford, it brings to mind a few truths in life,” says Nick. “One being that in competitive worlds and arenas, there is always going to be an inevitable cycle.”

In sports, that cycle is players rising to greatness, declining, disappearing, and replaced with the next generation. It’s a cycle also evident in business, technology, empires, and global leadership. Nick proceeds to connect to Europe’s recent sharp economic/societal decline while India is on the rise.

After providing numerous indicators of Europe’s regression, including the Eurozone economy only growing about 6% over the past 15 years, Nick pivots to India, and specifically the megacity of Mumbai. “India and Mumbai, in many ways, parallel the United States and its cities a few generations ago,” says Nick.

He profiles Mumbai’s challenges, from infrastructure to affordable housing, as well as its bright future. “Few things, actually no things in real life, including progress, are ever going to be perfect, and Mumbai’s journey stands to be a net positive to millions of residents, both current and future,” says Nick. “But that journey will also harm many people in its path, that’s always been the case in human history, and that’s always going to remain the case.”

Nick’s discussion of Mumbai today then pivots back roughly 80 years ago to examine the complicated life and legacy of Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose. While Frank Gifford was turning 15 in Bakersfield, Calif., Bose would pass away this week, on August 18, back in 1945. Nick breaks out a Far Middle Yogi-ism in describing Bose as, “one of the best-known individuals you’ve never heard of.”

And in a final connection, episode 117’s release date—August 16—also falls on the anniversary of the passing of two well-known individuals you’ve definitely heard of, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. As Nick paid homage to “The King” in episode 111, he closes by celebrating the “Queen of Soul” and sharing his four favorite Aretha Franklin singles.