Spacing and timing. Sonny and Cher. Batman and Robin. Some things just go together. By themselves they work, kind of. But when paired? Look out. That's when the magic happens. Beautiful basketball pivots on offensive spacing and timing. And it seems to me that life swings back and forth on the same two hinges. So every week or so we'll be examining both, or maybe just pondering about one or the other. And who knows what might happen with the right amount of space and enough time...
August 15, 2011: Taking a Breath
March 15, 2011: When the Avalanche Hits
Jan. 25, 2011: Hyperbole and a Half
Nov. 3, 2010: The First Impression
Oct. 11, 2010: Favorite Time of the Year
Sept. 1, 2010: One Step at a Time
Aug. 3, 2010: Shopping in July
March 15, 2010: Fight One More Round
Feb. 11, 2010: The Lesson
Jan. 26, 2010: Number 300
Dec. 17, 2009: The 2-For-1
Dec. 14, 2009: Groundhog Day
Nov. 26, 2009: Basketball is Cumulative
Nov. 13, 2009: Hot and Cold
Oct. 26, 2009: The Vision Part
Oct. 16, 2009: The Write Space and Time
August 15, 2011 --
My Pilates instructor says breathing is the most important thing. She also tells me to reach my left hand toward my right foot while keeping my left hip glued to the mat and twisting my torso around and up. Ever up. Sometimes she even assists by pulling my head out of my neck toward the ceiling. It's fantastic, truly. And then, of course, she asks me to breathe.
We always seem to end up back there -- her imploring me to do what I always thought human autopilot took care of. The air goes in, we blow it back out, and they call it breathing. Simple concept. I find it harder than running five miles.
Pilates is not the first place, though, to insist so on this breathing thing. I can vaguely remember a large, jovial nurse telling me as I tried desperately to push out my first child, "BREATHE!" I had even been to classes that taught me how for heaven's sake. And yet at the time, nothing seemed more impossible than the inception of a breath.
I think it's one of those things we do without thinking and yet none of us actually does it, without thinking anyway, very well. Especially when we're engaged in trying real hard.
I so wish I had simply thought about that at halftime of our Notre Dame game last year. The obvious seems so obvious when time wipes the lens.
As we plunge into a new school year, a new season, a new lifetime for this group of 13 teammates who will only travel this way once, I want to provide for them a crevice through which to breathe. And I want to be able to remember how hard it can be to do such a seemingly mindless thing.
It is so easy to forget.
For Division I athletes, the summer is hard. It's a time for gaining ground. It's a time for maniacal self-discipline. It's the farmer's equivalent of readying the soil and planting the crop. And after seven weeks of work, we drivers can get caught up in the potential of what three more weeks could do! If some is good, more must be better...and yet, it's so important to breathe.
August is about refueling. It's about filling your lungs with a bloated chest of air so that you can get the most out of the contortions that no doubt await you in the season ahead. It's about going to the lake and watching movies with your friends and having barbeques with your family. It's about getting away to get ready to get back together again.
And it's as essential as the weights and the running and the shooting. It's the breathing that ties them all together.