Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Born to run

If I could just play sports, if I could just run as fast as my body would let me all day and kick and throw things until every part of me felt like an overcooked strand of spaghetti, I would be happy.

On Saturday, I played Ultimate Frisbee for three hours on Staten Island. How beautiful! When the moments we're not running can be spent looking at the way the sun hits the leaves, (twinkling like the smiles in a toothpaste commercial!) felling the clean cold of the air despite the cloudless sky. And then we're in play and running, our feet pounding at the ground, powered by the motor anatomy rigged up inside our chests. On the field my heart is an important piece of machinery. It is not faint. It is not fickle. It's just grateful for the oatmeal breakfast and the occasional glass of red wine I treat it to.

And the way we move, the we weave around each other like the yarn on a loom, or birds flying in formation. They rhythm of us is found art. Our minds are angles and calculations. Our minds are wallpapered with geometry.

It's these times that I wish I wasn't a girl. To be picked last. To lob weaker passes than everyone else. To be stuck guarding the guy who smokes between games, and waddles down the field like the squatter of a cartoon thief duo, and to find him my worthy adversary. But who can I be than the person I am? I have no body but this one to use for Frisbee. I should be grateful my body is willing to play at all.

I'm no star athlete. I've run two marathons, often keeping pace with pregnant women and 80-year-olds. but as a lone runner, I'm happy that those who match my stride are often the ones with most unlikely reasons to be there. It makes eavesdropping more interesting. On my basketball team, I foul too much, my shot is as weak as my Frisbee pass, and I'm unclear about exactly what "double dribbling" is. But only when my body is moving can my mind stop. And I need that so badly. If it weren't for sports, my mind would wear its gears out. It'd be that belt in the engine you only notice when you start to smell burning rubber. And by the time it starts to burn, it isn't doing much but making the rest of the machine miserable.  

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