Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Return

Durango is a good place to sit and watch the plethora of roadies bundled up early in the morning, the Polar Express Narrow Gauge, the snowflakes that fall in the streetlight outside my attic window and of course the changing light on the surrounding mountains. 

Sit and watch. 

I did just that again last night. This time from a weight bench inside the rec center. The world of weightlifting, dance classes and treadmills whirled around me and I found myself staring at the basketball court below as I finished my last set of curls. My biceps were screaming, the center was closing in an hour and I just sat, perfectly motionless, and studied  the white net hanging underneath the rim. I noticed every ripple of motion as if it were the only thing occurring in the universe.

I began to think about the sound of the ball swishing through the net and the way my right wrist used to hang in the air for a second or two afterwards on the follow through. I remembered the days of Larry Steele Basketball Camps, all-star tournaments, league games, wins, losses, buses, uniforms, coaches, running lines, sweating, crying, bleeding, hurting, free throws, crowds and gyms. 

I shut my playlist off and walked down to the front desk and asked for a women's ball. I felt the texture and the seams. I dribbled a couple times, thought I was cool and got all tricky with the between the legs, behind the back crossover. I stopped hard, pulled up from about 15 feet and launched it. BRICK!!!!

I sheepishly looked around and chased my rebound, snickering at my silly self. I hadn't touched a basketball in at least two years and the date of my last pick up game escapes my memory. All my college games are kind of a blur of practicing, traveling, knee ultrasounds and a screaming coach. 

I shot around for about 45 minutes, regaining the art of the perfect follow through that procured the symphonic "swish" sound for which I lived and worked my guts out to obtain for the first 20 years of my life. As I moved across the court shooting layups, jumpers, free throws and a few threes, my body fell into a natural rhythm that required no effort, no thinking, no forcing. The movements were natural and my feet were light and quick. I didn't stop until the attendant told me the center was closing in 15 minutes. Time stood still when the ball was in my hands. The exact same way it does when I am on my bike in the mountains...

A neglected part of my soul returned last night. 

All because I took the time to sit and watch....

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