I felt like taking photographs today (again) after many years of not doing it. My cats are cuter than I and they know how to strike a pose.
And here’s some Jet Li sword-fighting. Gotta love the sound design.
The momentum of football game-play is quite stop-and-go without the commercial interludes. Add instant replay on account of a coach’s challenge or under other circumstances, and one could probably knit a sweater by the time the two minute warning in the fourth quarter rolls around…probably. The NFL made some adjustments to how instant replays will assist in officiating the game. Read all about it here.
The driver was twelve minutes early just like my assistant had predicted. I stood on the balcony that overlooked the driveway and tried to tie the blue tie my assistant had laid out for me to wear. Every year it gets harder to do the simplest things like tying a tie, knotting shoelaces, cutting steak, and even writing. My assistant can tell my condition has worsened even though I haven’t mentioned a decline in dexterity. She’s neither a doctor nor a rehabilitation specialist, yet, she knows my fingers have to fight much harder to do the things that most people can do without thinking, that I used to do without thinking.
I didn’t want any more people knowing about my struggles. I didn’t want to have to do any more explaining. I wasn’t ashamed or afraid of my body’s deterioration; I was just so tired. I was tired of the knee-jerk concerned reactions. The faces of sympathetic but unempathetic intentions was wearing me out and I didn’t want to keep up a polite air.
As I contemplated giving up on the tie, I heard my assistant knock on the door. I turned, waved her in, and held up the tie as she entered.
“You need some help with that?” she asked.
She took the tie and in just a few swift motions, the blue was around my neck. It hung proudly against the pale blue of my shirt.
“How many more homecomings do I have to go to?”
My assistant stepped back. “You’re booked for the next five years.”
I retrieved my suit jacket from the chair by the balcony, slipped it on and patted the pockets for my wallet, keys, and phone.
“You don’t look too thrilled.”
And I wasn’t. It had been twenty years since I’d graduated from high school. Captain of the football team, co-editor of the school newspaper, honor roll student, homecoming king, and president of the debate team. I did what I needed so I could leave and not come back again. I wasn’t counting on playing football in college or in the NFL. I wanted to own a newspaper and publish stories that would change the way people thought and lived. Who knew the internet would push me into a career in pushing people to the ground?
“You’re the best thing that came out of that town and nobody will let you forget it,” my assistant reminded me. “Now, shall we go?”
I followed her out of the room, down the hall and outside to the awaiting car. The driver stepped out to greet us. He shook my hand and opened the back doors before returning to the driver’s seat.
My assistant plowed through emails, texts and put her phone on silent.
“I’m here for you tonight,” she said. “The rest of the world can wait until tomorrow.”
“My school may expect me to turn up every year for homecoming, but are you sure you aren’t assuring them I will be there just so you can ignore everyone else for one night?”
My assistant remained quiet until we arrived at the school twenty minutes later. After paying the driver in cash and checking my tie, she patted me on my right forearm.
“You have realistic demands even if I have to convince you to see them through. Everyone else expects total obedience in exchange for my sanity. Wouldn’t you stick with you too?”
I couldn’t argue with her reasoning.
Their bodies spin, slice, crumple, and roll like dice. Their limbs go rigid then fluid again in under a blink of the eye. No mandatory balls to catch, no pucks to pass, no bases to steal, just bodies in motion bending and rippling like water waves.
I’m not referring to football players, hockey players, baseball players or any of those ball players. I’m talking about dancers. I am utterly transfixed by the Kinjaz. Last night, I saw Wong Fu’s “Kpop” video and making-of. A few of the members of the dance crew Kinjaz were featured in it. Of course, I looked them up on YouTube and spent the next three hours watching their dances.
My favorite dancers from the group are:
I’ve watched plenty of dance crew vids on YT and sometimes they start looking the same, especially when they’re from the same crew, but so far Kinjaz has proved choreographic consistency without being self-derivative.
Athletes as matinee idols, activists, luxury brands and marketing gurus of the highest order. They are compelled to excel on borrowed time for every competition they live through, every game they win (or lose), their bodies are depleted a little bit more, and their wattage diminishes. Athletes are not rechargeable batteries; their hinges, pistons, and rods have expiration dates, breaking points that science and technology desperately wishes to address. At what cost, though? For whose glory? While bones can be set, muscles rested, and skin stitched up, cerebral integrity does not so easily recuperate.
Professional athletes are commodities, spokespersons for a capitalist cause and fodder for sliding scale spectacle: faster, higher, longer, louder, technical skill and artistic merit meld into supernovas of aerodynamics and body trauma. Their lustre lasts for a finite period of measurable time, but their legacy shines (and sometimes darkens) ever after.
Perhaps, the same could be said about construction workers, home improvement painters, combat soldiers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, tree removal specialists, stunt performers, and thespians. Occupations that require one to exert physical strength, perform repetitive actions, test the limits of the human body as both a biological contraption and a mechanical apparatus (reusable and adaptable) define the notion of borrowed time. Except for the issue of immediate death and its probability of happening on the job, a professional athlete and a front-line soldier inhabit the same existential realm. Their objectives and environments may differ, but their goals are unequivocal: outscore the opponent and stay uninjured. An NFL player has the luxury, of course, of not having to contend with the psychological ramifications of being killed during a game, but injury is still possible.
In their brightest manifestation, at their most financially lucrative, athletes win hearts, sponsorship deals, and are regarded as perfect in every way — as if daring Mary Poppins to emerge and set the record straight that there is only one who is practically perfect in every particular. The truth is that stars die and by the time we see them, they are already gone. The one who jumps higher, the one who dunks a basket like no other, the one who runs faster than the wind itself, these feats of physicality — all on borrowed time.
Appreciate them while they are here; be awe-inspired by what they can do with their bodies. What performs like the nectar of the gods today may have evaporated by tomorrow until there is nothing left to give, to scrape away, to sell, to hate.
Behold them. Remember them. One day, they’ll all be gone.