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Moving like mercury

Posted by markdohle , 04 February 2007 · 29 views

When I was young, I was lousy at sports, sucked at it actually; you know one of those kids, who are legion, picked last.  I never could figure out why I was so bad at it.  All of my brothers seemed to be good at whatever sport they played, while I on the other hand just could not get it.  I often wondered about that.  I could walk ok, swing my arms right, put one foot in front of the other and be able to walk without tripping on too many cracks in the sidewalk….well actually I still do that from time to time.  I will be walking smoothly, with grace, and then WHAM, a trip, a crack in the sidewalk the culprit.  

While I was a complete moron at sports, I could dance for some reason.  Put on a song and the rhythm, the beat, will just take me away, I will fly, that is how it feels , movement becomes effortless to me……..so why could I not do that in sports.  When I danced I moved like mercury, in sports I moved like I had not slept for three day, plus having a hangover, and wearing shoes that were three sizes to large for me.  I tried.  I joined little league, hated it, warmed the bench, and could not hit the ball no matter how hard I tried.  Well I did hit the ball once; a good hit in fact, my only one.  I was so shocked that I forgot to run around the bases, and got out anyway, so there you have it.  I however always found some humor in it all, I was a sight.

Then one day the obvious reason came to me.   Something I think most people understand from the start, but I can be a tad slow on some things; the “why” of my suckyness-ness at sports being one of them.  The answer came while I was in the Navy.  It was in late 69, or sometime in 1970 when the answer came to me.  I went out with some friends, and we ended up on a field being invited to play football.  Well I did not want to play, but was to self conscious to decline.  So I figured, in football you can do a lot of running around and faking it, and since there were no sidewalk cracks to trip over I decided to “pretend” to play.  Things were going fine, when suddenly I heard my name called.  I turned and saw a football coming at me.  I ran, jumped, and caught the ball effortlessly, in fact I moved like mercury, just like dancing, in the zone as they call it.  I landed and ran with it.  Of course I got creamed a few yards down, but it was a great feeling, I did something right on the playing field.  

Later when thinking about it, and wondering why I could not do that more often, it came to me.  When I hear music, in the car, or walking, or when young, on the dance floor, I am (or was) in no way self conscious about moving to the rhythm.  In sports it was the opposite, I felt like I had to think everything through, when in fact sports is about just doing it. It is intuitive like dancing, go with the rhythm, the flow, or whatever you want to call it.    Well I have the insight but I did not become a five start athlete over night, in fact I still suck at sports, can’t let go of over thinking what needs to be done.  I am thankful that I had that one experience, of moving like mercury at least once on the playing field.