html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: They're fast and they look like they're going to tip but they lean way back and they don't.

Friday, March 23, 2007

They're fast and they look like they're going to tip but they lean way back and they don't.

I spent yesterday with Sherry and watched her coach her kids. She teaches them to go fast in little tiny sailboats and man, I don’t know any piece of that world. It’s a good world, though, with lots and lots of jargon. She’s all confident too. She does things like steer our boat with her knees or her hips while watching the telltales and telling her kids things like “more vang”. She doesn’t notice that is an impressive thing to do. She knows things, like how the wind moves between the sails on your own boat and how you can create still spots that will stall out a boat from another team. She can feel the difference in turbulence through the bottom of the boat when you switch from point to speed mode. She also thinks it is normal and comfortable to do things like stand with a leg on two separate boats while talking to someone else about something, or throw a granola bar to students in their little boat, who can scoot around like waterbugs and be in place to catch it. That was neat to watch, although I can’t even imagine how it would feel*.

So in lots of ways it was completely foreign. But some of it was wholly familiar. Those loose-limbed kids, joking around, hungry all the time, beautiful in any old mismatched gear, hoping for a workout where their moves come easy and they use every last muscle. I’ve seen those kids before. I’ve seen big ol’ bruises before, and I took pictures of mine too. I know what it is like to walk out at the beginning of a day, knowing that it will be long, long hours of all-you-got, and that you chose to do it and you would choose it again. The listening to your coach and trying to fix that thing. The love for that space, your gym, your field, your boat. The cheating when you’re worked and you stop reaching all the way out or making the hard push and your hands get sloppy. The winddown, when you gather your crap and think about food and the whether you’re gonna get that technique and the way your thighs and belly feel empty, no spring at all, but you have no other worries, nothing to think about but what you’re gonna eat and when you have to be back in the morning. Those were are all the same.










*I also realized I can’t imagine what it would be like to do an equipment sport. TKD was just me, one other person and a lot of ritual. Ultimate was a huge stretch. Me and lots of other people to keep track of and one fairly simple moving object was baffling for about a year. I had no real field sense for a couple years, and even after several years I can tell that lots of people see plays developing faster. Adding in very complicated equipment? I’m impressed.

17 Comments:

Blogger jens said...

"They're fast and they look like they're going to tip but they lean way back and they don't."

A common complaint from waitresses.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous bill said...

At least the kids don't scoot around like potato bugs...

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I also realized I can’t imagine what it would be like to do an equipment sport.

Expensive.
(Well, not always, but it sure can be)

7:22 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

Never been a fan of equipment sports. It always becomes an arms-race.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I can see how it would become an arms race, but it was also awesome to see how well they could move those little boats, and all the additional processing they did to include all the boat/sail/wind/water/teammate variables. Neat.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I know what it is like to walk out at the beginning of a day, knowing that it will be long, long hours of all-you-got, and that you chose to do it and you would choose it again."

I love this quote! This is exactly how I feel when I strap my snowshoes or snowboard on or when I shoulder a 50-lb pack for many miles of hiking. It's a great feeling. It's the reason I love travel-sports. Gear or not, I really enjoy setting off for a day knowing that I'm going somewhere under my own power. Even if that somewhere is just carving turns back to the bottom of the lift.

Cheers,
Tim.

1:50 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

Equipment sports rarely become arms races, IMHO. There is always a standards body that prevents you from using technology to actually win. For example, stock car racing ought to be completely equipment-driven, but in practice there are so many regulations on what you can do with your car that the best drivers win every time rather than the best cars.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...

I saw this billboard and thought of you:
http://www.menseekingmarriage.net/

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Equipment sports rarely become arms races, IMHO. There is always a standards body that prevents you from using technology to actually win.

I'm not much of a tennis fan, but I've heard that racket technology has reached the point at which more and more serves in professional games are unreturnable. One result is that games feature fewer of the long back-and-forth volleys that are the stereotypical image of tennis.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JMPP, interesting site. I especially like the warning/legal note about fraud.

I can totally see the need for such a site, but I thought that eHarmony was filling that niche.

Cheers,
Tim.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I saw this billboard and thought of you:
http://www.menseekingmarriage.net/


I don't understand why it's called Menseekingmarriage.net when it solicits applications from women as well as from men.

Also note that short of actually filling out the application there's no way to find out what it costs. There might be a number of reasons for that policy, but one distinct possibility is that people who fill out the applications get high-pressure sales pitches.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Hello. Sherry's blog was always one of my favorites. I always enjoying reading it. I loved her voice. For some reason, I got away from reading her.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

"I had no real field sense for a couple years, and even after several years I can tell that lots of people see plays developing faster."

This surprises me. The folks I know with great anticipatory field sense either decades of sports under their belts or are just really good geometrical thinkers - engineers and the like.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

I should amend a significant difference - the ones that played competitive soccer for 15 years (or whatever) see cuts earlier, especially handler cuts. The ones that are geometrical thinkers see help defense or throws earlier

6:39 AM  
Blogger bobvis said...

I'm not much of a tennis fan, but I've heard that racket technology has reached the point at which more and more serves in professional games are unreturnable.

I respectfully disagree with that notion. The pros use the *least* powerful racquets because they have the most amount of control. Also, a guy like Pete Sampras has basically been using the same raquet his entire career. I do acknowledge that the service game has improved, but I think that's because players have become better servers.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Pete:

I'm not naturally a spatial or visual thinker. So I don't have the decades of field sports or the geometric thinking to help me.

I'm better than I was, but I'll never be more than medium at field sense.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Pargolo said...

I loved this piece. It reminded me of why i love rowing so much - you learn to read the water, and the wind.

10:47 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home