Saturday, January 12, 2008

Beauty in Motion

This morning I was playing volleyball at our club, and the tall guy on the other side of the net went up for a spike. As I was moving toward the place where the ball was going to rocket at a 120 mph, it suddenly hit the net and ricocheted off in the other direction. As I put a fast-stop on my lunge and turned, I saw out of the corner of my eye two of my teammates in oddly choreographed high-speed motion change directions to deflect the new course of the volleyball. In that blink of an eye, it occurred to me (as it has so many times over the years) what a wonderful machine this human body is - how responsive, how complex, how fundamentally miraculous. If you think about the internal chain of events necessary for even this one small motion - the eyes perceiving the direction and velocity of the ball, the muscles tensed, the brain computing speed and direction and plotting where the ball will land - and then think how quickly your body can change and respond to a whole new set of inputs, well it's pretty humbling. So often in our bodies, we concentrate on what they are doing that's not to our liking. They gain weight, they get wrinkled, they dehydrate, they don't snap back for that workout we wanted to put them through. But we rarely take the time to appreciate the miracle that we've been handed.

Sports give us back the miracle. At least they do for me. When I'm out on my bicycle, I'm often glorying in the sheer beauty of flying along the road under my own steam. When I can still leap or dodge or remember a complex set of moves, it's a wonderful thing to me. That's really the gift of sports in my life.

I'm so thrilled to start sharing that gift again with others. We had our first information meeting for Team in Training this week, and getting to meet some of the people who will be on my triathlon team was really exciting. When I think about being able to help people meet their goals, cross a finish line they didn't think they could make, open up a whole new world of fun and appreciation of what their body and mind can do, it's something I am looking forward to. But I'm also really nervous. These folks will be depending on me. Organizational skills are not my strong suit. I'll be responsible for getting them to a point where they can swim a mile in an open body of water. This week is going to be a very tough one to get through as I try to get everything organized. Fortunately, I've got an awesome team of assistant coaches (experts on the bike and run respectively) to help me out. But ultimately, the success of these people is my responsibility. With the kids robotics team State Championship tournament also looking up next weekend, time will be short and I may not be blogging again until it's all over.

Until then, I'll be falling farther behind on reading my favorite blogs, watching presidential debates (thankfully I'm recording them) and even finishing a sudoku puzzle here or there. Life will get crazy and then it will smooth out again for awhile. It always does.

No comments: