I got caught up watching a soccer game while I was buying my nightly 24 case of beer and immediately felt at home. After watching the World Cup, I became very familiar with how a soccer game moves. It’s a tidal movement. The players flow from one end of the field, then recede to the other end of the field as the ball changes hands. Or…feet, I guess.
As the game moves from one end to the other, emotions build. There’s the tension as they get closer to the goal. And then it either dwindles, fades away, if they miss and the ball makes it way toward the other side, where the tension begins to mount again. Or there’s an explosion, a release from all that emotional build-up as your team makes it.
Basketball has a similar rhythm, but much more kinetic and frantic. Since the court is a much smaller space than than the soccer field, the energy rollercoasters back and forth. There’s no real build-up, it’s just a constant high run of emotional feeling. If the two teams are relatively evenly matched and the scores stay neck and neck that it.
Baseball is different. It’s a sport of circles, long, slow loops over the top and then a sudden swift swing around the bottom. There’s the steady climb, where there’s no-one on base and it’s the first inning and the pitchers are fresh and no-one reaches base. It’s the wait, that calm, low period where everyone is watching for the moment.
Then there’s a full count and there are two outs. He needs to hit to stay alive or the pitcher needs to fail. There’s a pause in breath. And then the pitch. Still , the audience waits, perched at the top of the loop, waiting for the moment. He hits it, it goes out to center field and the center fielder has it in his sights and everyone knows he has to catch it, an easy pop fly and he…bobbles it! The crowd lets out a roar, it’s the pent-up breath of 30,000 fans being let out.
It’s the languid stretches followed by the sweet, bursts of looping speed that make it worth watching. It’s those pivoting moments where a thousand earlier pivots come together. It’s a circle, a loop-d-loop of emotional release.
I might be turning into an fan, this, the pivotal moment where two months of book work turn into actual, emotional payoff.