“I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam: I looked into the soul of another boy.” –Woody Allen
It’s funny how the things we learn in elementary school stick in our heads and take on an element of “truth” as we get older. As far back as I can remember, for example, my teachers told me that I should *never* talk to other students while taking a test, for that would be *cheating*.
I’ve always played sports — never particularly well, mind you — but I’ve always played something. In elementary school and junior high, I was all about football — that is, until the game graduated from flags to tackle, I stopped growing and everyone else started to loom over me. In high school, I took up tennis, made the school team, and lost *every* match I played against the country club set. (Okay, I lost to everyone else, too) As an adult, I got into ultimate frisbee, then biking, and most recently, volleyball. Like I said, I’ve never been an “A” level athlete, but I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of progressing from graceless beginner to competent, not-stumbling-too-badly intermediate. And that’s fine. I’ve never felt compelled to devote the 10,000 hours required to become really brilliant at a particular sport. I fancy myself more of a jack of all sports kind of guy.
But still there are times…times when I think, “I could really be good at this…”
There’s a Zen koan that goes like this:
“If a man puts a gosling in the bottle and feeds it until it is full-grown, how can the man get the goose out without killing it or breaking the bottle?”
Apparently this riddle has been driving Zen monks crazy for the past several hundred years. Now, the thing about koans is this: they’re not supposed to be easy. Wikipedia describes koans as a Zen-practice “to provoke ‘the great doubt’, and test a student’s progress in Zen practice.”
If you had to list your five, daily “must do” actions or activities in your life, what would they be?
My own list would probably include (in no particular order):
–Eating right (healthfully and low-cal)
Two days after my local baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, won the World Series (in a 4-game sweep over the Detroit Tigers), I’m still sitting at my desk, asking myself: How did they do it?
I mean, we’re not talking about the 1927 New York Yankees here. As a team competing for a championship, this year’s Giants team came into the playoffs with some serious flaws, namely: