Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Remember when you were little and you got a new pair of Keds? Bright Red! Unscratched rubbery red tip! So hot, so...FAST! You put them on, laced them up and took off running. You were liquid lightning. Those magical shoes made you run at speeds never before known to man. A rocket-girl in fast shoes.

I don't know when you realize that shoes don't make you run faster - - or jeans don't make your ass look smaller -- but that ability to imagine and pretend does ebb with age. At some point you realize that no matter how much you pay for those running shoes, you ain't going to be hitting that 5 minute mile. Ever. And that no matter what the ads say, stretchy panel or not, if you have a big keester, no jeans in the world are going to camouflage that. Ever. Although yesterday I saw a woman in the line at the grocery store who may still live there in the fantasy land that is reserved for larger woman who believe that spandex leggings have an amazing slimming effect. They don't. Ever.

My point is, remember that feeling with the shoes? You ran faster, you jumped higher, you were amazing. Henry still knows that feeling. And you know how I know that? Here is a photo of Henry and his friend, Jack, only moments before leaving for their first volleyball game of the season. Moreover, it's their first volleyball game. Ever.

See their imagination at work? They've watched the Olympics. They know how it goes. They know what they are supposed to do. They have had one. single. practice. to prepare them for this game and they. are. ready.

I attended the game. George the Elder attended that game. He left work early to come to the inaugural game of Henry's volleyball career. We cheered. We tried to understand the new scoring system (so much for how it was scored in gym class in 1975. different now). We took tons and tons of photos. And while I am crap a shooting sports in an indoor venue (which I plan to address this morning by taking an on-line photo tutorial) - the following photo succinctly sums up the majority. Henry is damn fine at assuming the "ready position." There was no lunging, no diving for the ball. There was lots of "ooops" and backing away and ducking when the ball approached.

The final result? Game 1 - Loss. Harder to swallow? They played an all girls school. We aren't permitted to speak of that again. The final synopsis? Volleyball was harder than they thought. The ball hurts when you hit it. It comes at you faster than you think and you believe that someone will get it before you.

Henry wore his black sports shoes to the first game. Yesterday for game 2 he chose differently. You know why? Cause those first shoes didn't make him as fast as he wanted to be and didn't allow him to jump as high as possible. Even though they still lost the game yesterday to the Lycee Francais, the whole team played better. Henry played better. And in his mind it was due in large part to the white sports shoes he wore. He said as much. I didn't remind him of the several practices in between the two games. If he thinks it's the shoes - well, maybe it is. Because even though I know now that my red Keds really didn't have any magic - - maybe I didn't get tagged out at first base in kickball because I ran sooooo fast in my red shoes...

In the grand scheme of things, I decided to let him continue to believe that his shoes were going to have a noticable effect on his volleyball performance. I made that decision cause I simply didn't have the heart yesterday after game 2 to tell him that losing to a bunch of stinking girls was one thing. Losing to the French? Now that's embarrassing.


Molly D said...

Ouch... the french?

Of course, I will point out that visualization is a huge asset.. picture yourself serving the perfect serve and well... the mind is a powerful tool for an athlete. Hell.. "act as if" is a mantra for the ages from athletes to alcoholics. If you act as if you know what you're doing, sooner or later it becomes truth. I am going with Henry... it's all in the shoes. But you will never catch me dead in line in spandex leggings.. not at the gym much less the grocery store!

2W3 said...

Wait a minute.... my shoes do not make me faster and my pants do not make me thinner. Next you will be telling me that wearing a team jersey does not increase the chances of said team winning. There goes my entire belief system. I hope you’re happy - you crusher of dreams! Well, at least Santa Clause is still real.