quoted from "Funktionslust: What The Hell Is It?"
by Liam Day
... At some point in our lives we all fail and are compelled, then, in failure’s wake, to live with it, either to grapple with and wring from it the self-knowledge that leads to future success, or bury it in the hope that with time, the pain and embarrassment will dissipate, perhaps even be forgotten. ...
But failure is necessary. To be afraid to fail, to be afraid to embarrass oneself, is to be afraid to take risks. And one cannot grow if one doesn’t take risks. ...
If I could, would I try to go back to fix the mistakes, so many mistakes, I made between then and now? Who can answer that question honestly because, absent a time machine, the answer we give is pure speculation and speculation is easy. There’s nothing at stake. ...
I am fairly certain I would go back and approach the girls I was too shy to approach in high school and I would like to think I would go back and attend all the classes I skipped and do all the homework I never turned in, but that is less certain. And I would like to think also that, if I went back to a late autumn day in 1986, I wouldn’t pretend to fall when I was leading the New England Catholic School Championships, that I would gut out the rest of that race and maybe, though I might not have held onto the lead, I would have finished something higher than 90th. But, who knows? Some athletes thrive under pressure, some falter.
I no longer run. Running’s been pushed aside by work and writing and the time I spend with the family and friends I love. Occasionally, I’ll sneak into the gym in the building where I work to shoot around, though I no longer even play basketball competitively. I just shoot by myself.
I enjoy shooting by myself. There is something soothing about it. The motion of it – the balance, the release, the follow-through – is something I’ve executed so many thousands of times in my life, I don’t need to think about it as I do it. I can let my mind go blank as, at the end of a long day, I flip the ball out, catch it, square up, shoot, chase down the rebound, flip the ball out again. Over and over. The goal: The Zone, funktionslust. To achieve it once is to want to achieve it again. But you never want to leave on a miss. And so the cycle begins: shoot until you achieve perfection, then until you lose it, and again until you regain it.
The cycle draws out—ten minutes, twenty, a half-hour. In letting it I am in a small way stealing back to that place where I was when I was 15. Stealing back to a time when time had no meaning, spread like blacktop to play on if you would for as long as you would, when the future lay like a pair of train tracks stretching to the horizon. Those tracks now stretch in opposite directions, back as well as forward, to life’s dawn as well as to its sunset...."
Edited by traveler (04/25/12 10:58 PM)
There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. - Hamlet, Act 5, sc 2