Competitive sports terminology and ideals are frequently applied to daily life with respect to self-confidence and triumph:
-go for the goal
-hole in one
-keeping your eyes on the prize
In what I consider to be the metaphor of my metaphors (only second to “lawn maintenance”), I’ve formulated an analogy between game-play and love. Clearly, we don’t have the option not to play (if we did, we’d be dead). We can’t sit this one out. It’s difficult to know or to control if we’ll end up on the starting, reserves, or practice squad, but we all have to be on the field. The conditions of the game-play, such as frequency and particulars of uniform, are just about the only aspects we can influence and, more importantly, choose.
The most widely circulated and desired path and outcome are to be on the starting team—win games, get endorsements, garner legions of fans, and, when applicable, constantly put yourself after others. After all, what’s the point in trying out for membership on a team and not want to be one of the starters? Wouldn’t all that energy and time be for naught if one were relegated to the bench (or Odin forbid, practice sessions)? Right?
In regards to l’amour, I am content to and actually prefer to be on the practice squad*, not the starting team (conventional, committed relationships, marriage, offspring) or even the reserves team (tonsil-hockey-netherworld-spelunking-buddies). Why? Being on the practice squad means I don’t have to suit up all the way all the time—it means I get to help my teammates prepare for the game, which they, not I, have to win. Sure, watching game film is essential, but so is practice (and not just with other starters). My game-play participation is indirectly consequential, which is how I like it. Given adequate and inevitable cultivation of camaraderie and tacit understandings, the coaching staff and starting line-up would recognize and appreciate my contributions to the team.
I suppose I ought to consider myself lucky that I’ve never had to tell someone, “I just want to be on your practice squad,” or worse, “I’ve already signed up for __insert name of sport or league not affiliated with said someone__.” On the flipside, though, I’ve never had the opportunity to convince someone that my abilities would better serve their purposes if they let me be on the practice squad (after going out for tryouts, that is). I have a habit of declaring on the first meeting that I do not aspire beyond the practice squad, on account of not wanting to be misinterpreted—giving the other person the impression that I’m enthusiastically, solely in their presence to be part of the starting team.
This metaphor came about last night when I was thinking about why I don’t want to fall in love.* * The thought process started with the reasons that it’s too exhausting; and more often than not, the other person won’t feel the same way to the same degree. The latter gave way to, “how would you feel if someone you really wanted to play on your team gave you no indication that he was going to even consider it? Or, what if based on his behavior and even words, it could go either way? Or, his behavior and words suggested that he would think about it or even agree to do it, and then he changes his mind?”
* *I came to the realization last October that as ludicrous as it sounds, I have more control over my destiny than I thought I had or wanted to have:
A. I don’t want to fall in love
B. I don’t want to get married for anything other than mutual respect, adoration/admiration, tax benefits, and power of attorney (I want to be cremated asap after my expiration regardless of whether or not there might be foul play involved).
C. I never want to give birth or find myself facing even the remotest possibility of it happening.
D. I would be content dying celibate.
I’ve checked myself out of the dominant fiction. There’s no valid reason, and thus maybe no feasible way, for the gods to indulge me with an unconventional fiction, the alternative fiction. I know that a lot of people are in relationships or companionships that are primarily comprised of emotional and intellectual bonds that are more than just friendships. With my specifics regarding mise-en-scene and casting, though, it would require divine usurpation for this storyline to materialize, to be regarded as though I were on the starting roster and let me stay on the practice squad.
Originally posted at Sthemingway.