Friday, October 24, 2014

the faster the slower

During the NLCS of 2014, a reporter asked Buster Posey to explain his, or even perhaps, the team’s success. “Just slow it down” was the gist of Buster’s answer. I heard that sentiment more than once in the playoffs. Slow it down. It reminded me of hearing John Wooden, the famed UCLA basketball coach, say in an interview: “the faster the slower.” At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. But it does upon reflection. Don’t move too fast, or else you will get ahead of yourself. You’ll be out of the zone. You also hear athletes say, stay within yourself. I’m not an athlete. I never was the athlete I fantasized I would be or could be. In these early-latter days, I am content with that. However, I can relate to these maxims as metaphors. Zen teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh speak or write about the value of “stopping.” I suspect it’s a similar concept, or notion, as slowing it down. It means being here, being now. Sounds simple but it takes me practice and discipline. After his win in game 1 of the 2014 world Series, Madison Bumgarner was asked about the excitement of being in the World Series, the biggest stage of practicing his art and craft. MadBum’s answer went something like this, “You can’t really enjoy it like that. It’s a great thrill being here and all, but I just need to make good pitches.” There you are. So if I say these are metaphors, what does that mean for me? Slowing it down, stopping, the faster the slower — for me they mean: restraint of tongue and pen, don’t react, find solidity, breathe, HALT, pause. All that stuff. I’m really not very good at any of those things, not even after all these years. That’s why it is so easy to preach about it.

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