Wednesday, September 05, 2007

While we're talking about sports...

All this talk and TV about tennis got me to thinking about my own experience with sports and why my wife and I would like both The Boy and Q to find a home in at least one. It's not because I'm a fanatic of one sort or another (my wife reads the sports pages more religiously than I do, actually); I'm not anxious to drill The Boy out on the grass or the court in the rain to get his form just so. And it's not just because basketball or tennis or baseball or soccer can lead to fast friends and to easier ways to believe in your own body.

I want them both to like sports, well, because of this:

Okay, sure, it's a commercial, but a brilliant one (what are they selling, after all?). We see a mix of professionals and amateurs and what's common between them. The man doing leg presses and the kid working the soccer ball down the alley and the woman running in the low light all move by themselves and for themselves. Sports can flip a switch somewhere that makes a boy want to shoot baskets all by himself in a neighbor's driveway until it's too dark to make out the rim.

It reminds me of a line from Marianne Moore's poem, "A Carriage from Sweden":
... Sweden,
you have a runner called the Deer, who

when he's won a race, likes to run more; ...
Sometimes it's the running and not the race that compels, even if it's the race that gets us up to run. I want them to want that themselves, even if only just a little.

Nike and Marianne More. I didn't see that coming. Just do it, I suppose.

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