Daily Archives: December 15, 2007

Off Topic: Today’s Verse 2

She stroked the point
of my line segment
Point A,
the ankle
stretching to Point B,
the hip socket.
She wrapped her tiny ambition
around three coordinates
the wrists
the origin of the underbelly
thinning down to a 50/50 chance
that I could make another point
for a plane
to even out
the hemp strings coiled
around the seat belt
strapped to a lacrosse stick
in the middle of a checkmate
She struck at the coffin corner
out of the lights
dragging my limbs with her

–yiqi 15 dec 07 11:35 pm

Block with Ferocity, Kick with Grace, Throw with Intensity

…but don’t get so emotional, baby.

I’m just about halfway through reading John Feinstein’s book on the Army-Navy rivalry. While recounting the game between Army and Notre Dame in 1995–the one primarily quarterbacked by junior Ronnie McAda and where a successful two-point conversion in the bottom of the fourth quarter would’ve given Army a 29-28 victory over the Fighting Irish–Feinstein comments, “Emotion, as any coach will tell you, only takes you so far…Once the game starts, emotion may carry you for a play or two or even an entire series, but that’s about it. Emotion can also work against you, make you tight, take away your ability to play on instinct” (187).

I ask all you footballers and coaches: is emotion not part of instinct? Is instinct not part of emotion? Does acting on instinct only imply that one doesn’t have to think beforehand? that one simply knows what to do next? Does it also apply to feeling? that one doesn’t have to be fired up to execute one’s job?

In other performative athletic activities such as ballet, figure skating, fencing, boxing, and various martial arts, bringing and conveying emotion is an essential part of the game-play. Boxing, martial arts, and fencing may involve some bluffing to confuse one’s opponent, but punching, kicking, dodging, and parrying concern more than just literally going through the motions. One has to exhibit a certain demeanor, even if it is feigned and part of the strategy to win. With ballet and figure skating, displaying and applying emotions are not up for debate. An accomplished dancer may be able to do fouette turns for minutes on end followed by a series of triple pirouettes, but if there’s no feeling in it, then it’s just a sequence of movements.

Alas, playing the lead role in a ballet is not the same as being starting quarterback, running back, tight end, or cornerback. For one, football players wear helmets. No matter how many times the camera goes in for an extreme close-up, whatever the eyes say won’t be analogous to what the whole body of a dancer communicates. When the players are on the bench and not wearing the head gear, they’re not participating in the game-play. They may be smiling or scowling from having nabbed or fumbled the ball, but that grin or frown occurs after the fact.



NFL News: Michael Vick puts pen to paper

I was over at a friend’s blog (Pictures of Doom, see the blogroll) and saw a new entry about Michael Vick’s letter to the judge presiding over his case. Here is the first page of the letter:

For the rest, click here.

If that really is Michael Vick’s handwriting, I gotta say that I love it. It’s a hop, skip, and a forward-flip into the end zone away from being dotted with hearts for “i’s.” I haven’t read the whole thing, but concerning the first page, he points out the inconsistency with prosecuting people for guns and drugs but not the cruel treatment of dogs. And then adds that he loves animals. So, it’s not as though he’s a heartless son of a potato sack. He just–apparently, his moral graph is informed more by laws that are enforced rather than what the rest of us might refer to as something that is intrinsically known: you don’t mistreat animals, especially those that have been domesticated for centuries.*
The willful harming of animals is commonly the first sign of a serial killer in the making. But then, that harming usually doesn’t involve a live audience and money transactions.

*And what are the implications of such a perception? That only behaviors that are punished are wrong? Because if one isn’t reprimanded, if one isn’t found out, then it can’t be that bad? People don’t always get rewarded for doing good deeds nor are people always punished for doing not-so-good deeds. If, if Michael Vick grew up being seldom rewarded for doing anything “right” but frequently disciplined for doing anything “wrong,” would he believe that he couldn’t do anything right? Failure and the fear of disappointing others would be paralyzing, n’est-ce pas? On the other hand, if nothing he did elicited a response either way, he’d probably start believing that nothing he does matters–and that mindset is a short paddle away from thinking he’d be able to get away with anything. Nobody would notice, nobody would care.