it's almost my birthday and
they're still playing baseball? This is not ok.
I see a lot of hoopla about baseball.
Despite my every attempt to never know anything about this game, it sticks itself in front of me when I attempt to scroll through for hockey or basketball content. When it comes to baseball, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and also one of my front teeth.
As a child I was never one for baseball
I wanted to like baseball. Baseball didn’t like me.
Sure, baseball’s a sport, but people talk about ‘the spirit of the game’ when it comes to baseball. That spectral motherfucker did not like me. In fact, the spirit of baseball taunted me at every turn.
Baseball has brought me nothing but pain.
My first injury as a child happened when an adult tooth, snapped off mere months after it had grown in. I got hit in the face playing catch with my dad. It was a total accident. I remember sitting in the tub afterwards. It was a hot day. I was shaking. My parents were kind. They helped me calm down. Though I would feel completely unnerved every time my tongue touched where my tooth was.
The tooth was screwed. Most of it was gone. The putzy little yellow flake of a stump that remains? That’s been capped ever since.
I can year what you’re saying: It was a freak accident. Freak accident? Nope. That was the spirt of baseball, the spirt of the game.
The next encounter I had with the spirit of the game was an incident on the way to try outs. Back then I had a hockey coach who wanted us to skate faster. He used to shout at us “Put your heads down and suck air!”
Suck air? Put your head down? Imagine this: I go in to coach any seven year old sport and start shouting at children to suck air. Imagine the parents. Back then it didn’t matter. Back then I was committed. I wanted to please. I’d put my head down and start making these terrible exaggerated sucking noises. as I pedaled my bike to practice. I was flying, moving as fast as I could. The sounds I made were astonishing.
Imagine a glass of fountain pop that only gets filled enough to make that terrible end of pop, but lots of ice left sound. That sucking gurblugle with that annoying roiling rattle going on endlessly. Infinitely just enough pop for infinite annoying sounds. Hell on earth sounds. The kind of sounds you witness some weird over eager kid conjuring and feel embarrassed on their behalf. Gla gla gla! I looked like a cartoon goldfish and sounded like a wheezing goat all bug eyed and gasping.
Head down, sucking air, I did not notice the car backing out in front of me.
Away I flew! Up and out against my will!
Still sucking air, I popped up and tried to go to practice. I was shaking. My knee that struck the bumper said no. I fell back down and continued to shake.
I blame baseball. How else did that car get there?
It wasn’t the will of God.
It was the will of baseball.
And still I shook.
Finally I made it to a baseball tryout. This may have been a different year than when I hit the car. Memory can be funny that way. The spirit of the game must have warped my mind.
I was walking across the infield when it happened. The coach was hitting balls out for people to catch.
One got caught. I caught it with the side of my head. Or perhaps it caught me. I’m not sure. I do have my suspicions about that coach though. He could put a ball anywhere he wanted and that particular ball ended up exactly where my head happened to be.
The ball hit my head.
I hit the ground.
As I got up I was shaking.
Peter Levine believes that one of the functions of shaking is to help reset the nervous system after something bad happens - like breaking a bone, getting hit by a line drive or riding full tilt into a car bumper. He suggests that when we can shake and be attended to with nurturing and support, we can be more resilient to the inevitable suffering and terrible luck that comes with being human.
So, today, pull a Swifty.
Yeah. You have an opportunity to have a different relationship with your nervous system. The notion? Play with shaking. Shake for a bit. Do it on purpose to see how it impacts you on a felt, sensory level.
That’s the experiment. Consciously make yourself shake. Set a timer. Shake for fifteen seconds. Repeat. Shake for thirty seconds this time.
You don’t need to be hit by a car for this experiment to be interesting.
What sensations do you experience doing this?
What happens if you shake longer?
How long can you shake for?
What sensations linger after?
What direction does this send you - up and out or down and in?