Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poetry in Motion

Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers, June 2011.

There are moments in your life when time seems to freeze, and everything is perfection. Hitting a golf ball just right is one of them. Pitching is another, as is a quarterback tossing the perfect pass to a receiver. I've done all three.

Sports aren't really about competition, at least not in the way that we're conditioned to think they are by the tribal mentality that pervades professional sports and most of their fans. Rather, sports at their best are a quest to find that rare, perfect, zen-like moment, both as an individual and as a member of a team.

My brother Jim and I at Dodgers Stadium, watching
Billingsley pitch against the Colorado Rockies.

For someone who has played the game at some lesser level, the true joy of watching pro athletes play ball isn't the rah-rah of "my team versus yours"; it's knowing that you're watching poetry in motion, and that the best of them are sharing their ultimate zen-like moments with you.

It's a communion of both body and spirit that ultimately transcends the corporate and tribal trappings that our modern society has hung upon it. Indeed, the greatest moments, like Koufax's perfect game (and Vin Scully's immortal call of it), transcend time itself.

Paul Kimball

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