Monday, January 21, 2008


"I can't stand not trying." Michael Jordan.

This scenario is far too common: a person watches a ball pass by or dribble in front of him/her without exerting the slightest bit of effort to reach the ball. The action (or rather inaction) is usually followed by words about one's laziness, or that, "I just couldn't get there." The only way to really know that one can't get there, is to actually make the attempt. To sprint as hard as one can and then if you fall short, you'd know you couldn't get there. But now you know how close you can come and next time…. To the laziness comments, I respond: Laziness is a choice, not a condition. I am sure that no one has ever been diagnosed with an affliction of laziness. (Doctor to patient: "Well, the way I see it here, you're just plain lazy. I recommend standing around for the next few years.") One is lazy until he/she decides not to be. Reaching difficult shots happens as one begins to put forth the effort.

"Because it is there."

Granted some people aren't all that big on running by itself. Tennis though offers added incentive. The sight of a ball sitting in the air off in the distance triggers primal instincts of hunting and survival. One of my favorite memories from junior tennis is the sound of an opponent screaming at me after I had just run down ball after ball that he had thought he had hit for a winner. His voice called out, "Why don't you go out for track?" The frustration in his voice, and knowledge that I would not let him get the best of me brings a smile to my face to this day. Does his argument have merit? Why not track for those of us who like to run so much? I think straight running offers a test of wills against one's own body. Tennis on the other hand is a constant race against an opponent and the ball. Desperately clawing, burning rubber against the court surface in an attempt to just touch a ball unleashes an aspect of ourselves hidden while seated in the classroom or an office. I can't say why people decide to climb the tallest, most difficult mountains they can find, but I think anyone who has gotten to one more impossible shot can relate.

"As a body moves faster, it ages more slowly." Albert Einstein [Paraphrase]

The young run all about as quickly as they can. Just watch any small child or puppy. The delight and freedom in moving their limbs in such a fashion is unparalleled. When do we begin to slow down? When we're not allowed to run in the halls, when running will get our clothes dirty? When does it cease to be cool to let loose and just sprint because it feels good? This happens at a different point in each person's life. Those that retain it throughout a lifetime possess a quality one could only describe as youthfulness. When we open ourselves up to saying I can reach that next ball, we might transcend the age on our birth certificate. At full speed, the ball hangs in the air motionless, time stands still and the joy of childhood is upon us again. - Nick Sousanis (1998)

1 comment:

derwood said...

Hey Nick. Great blog. I really like the Chrysalis pieces. You should print and number them. I'd buy them.