"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Zen and the art of tackling

Thursday nights are all about the D, which means tackling practice. A teammate told me I'm making progress; I have gone from stopping completely before impact, to slowing down before impact, to hesitating just before for impact and then lunging forward. We did an angle-tackling drill where the ball carrier gets a small lead, then cuts up the sideline and the defender is supposed to intercept and destroy (or at least knock her out of bounds.

I tried this several times, the coach having me go back and do it again on the same turn because I was still too hesitant or my angle was too deep. Then I got a good one.

I wasn't able to repeat the experience for the rest of the drill, but the fact that it happened was very encouraging. It was so smooth, almost like flopping into a bed, fast but sort of in slow motion and almost like I watched it happen from somewhere else. Quiet mind. Or maybe the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan would call it "Calm - Assertive." I just ran right through our running back and hugged her. Then we were on the ground. Coach said "How did that feel?" and I said "Good!"

Conversely when one is carrying the ball (we switched back and forth) I had to remind myself that I had some momentum in my favor too...that it is likely to turn out better if I...if I hit them before they hit me? That part of it might not sound very Zen but I think the typical head chatter I have is not very Zen either, and not helpful. "Oh dear...I'm scared I'm going to be hit...I'm going to be hit...I'm going to fall down...is it going to hurt?...oh dear...I'm scared" and as many repetitions will fit into the 3 - 4 seconds the whole thing lasts. Not quite the right mental approach. Rather, I should be as an Uncarved Block (on wheels, holding a football).

Time to go back to practice. Saturdays are Game Days (meaning we've gotta practice as if we're running both ways for a whole game, which is what some or all of us who aren't on crutches will probably need to do).

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