If I ever take for granted the moment when the media relations interns push away the sliding glass windows, opening up my view to a beautiful panorama of Turner Field (plus the very top of the Atlanta skyline) and letting all the humming, whirring ballpark sounds flow into the press box at once, go ahead and push me towards graduate school, and don’t be gentle about it.
In this week’s issue, John McPhee writes about first drafts and the search for the perfect word (subscription required): http://nyr.kr/Z6WC7i, and Mary Norris explains the use of double consonants in The New Yorker: http://nyr.kr/182eHqj
Forgive me for nerding out hard, but this was almost an instantaneous reblog.
Writing kicks ass.
Contemporary Female Short Story Authors: Marriage is a constricting, numbing institution, to say nothing of procreation, and I should start apologizing to my future wife now to save time.
Sports Economics: If your favorite sports team has a new stadium and mediocre players, your owners are doing it exactly right. Celebrate your 85-77 baseball seasons with pride, you aspiring economist you.
William Faulkner: Mississippi is the muggy sanctuary of all evil.
Religion, Culture and Commerce: If everyone just left each other alone, the three topics that this course comprises would be super-easy to interpret from an academic perspective and beneficial for the entire species from a geopolitical perspective.
And it would be awesome.
So on Friday I got to teach 60 little kids how to play hockey while volunteering with a learn-to-skate program run by the Nashville Predators, and it gave me all sorts of hockey emotions that I remember thinking I’d never get back again when I stopped playing in high school, and now I want to put them down somewhere so that I don’t forget them.
First of all, the kids come out from the rink doors and onto the ice like I imagine baby sea turtles would, some splaying out on all fours, others making it 30 feet on their first push of momentum only to come to a stop before they slowly, helplessly tip over, others causing 5-kid pileups with sticks splayed everywhere and everyone table-topping everyone else. Every one who falls has this look of serenity lying on their backs, because it’s so much easier to fall than to shuffle around living in fear of falling. (Metaphors.) That’s why they teach you how to fall so early. My entire skating career has been a paranoid, quasi-controlled fall. (Not a metaphor.)
I’ve also redoubled my resolve to coach my kids’ sports teams, unless they start to hate me, and then I’ll stand up in the far corner of the stands with a handheld video camera. The little ones stopping the drills at their most critical juncture to peel off and wave across the glass to their parents, who were earnestly following them around the rink, was too cute for me to take.
Walking through the parents dressing and undressing their kids, I heard little pieces of the conversations I’d had with my dad so many times over the span of 10 years: how good I did or where my bottle of Gatorade was or what piece of my hockey gear needed an upgrade. I remember when my parents promised to buy me a jersey if I learned how to put all my equipment on by myself as a little guy, but I can’t remember the day I finally figured it all out, but I can remember the days I spent learning one more combination of straps, getting that much closer, and strategizing about which jersey I’d pick.
Couldn’t stop smiling when I left the rink. I spent the entire program lost in the part of my life when hockey practice was the most important thing I did all day (unless there was baseball practice right after), and while I’ll never fully get that order of priorities back, I’m holding onto hope that I can figure out how I can get back to being that excited about little, fun things again. I’m going to need some more ice time to work it out, though.