i ran bootcamp saturday.
then i fled to the beach, to work on my tan and reading list and to fill my notebook with words.
i left to erase those boundaries between lines.
thirty minutes into blackout with the first person i'd think to call, after my parents:
"oh my god, i like TOTALLY can't check my email!"
later, huddled in a dark corner of my friend's penthouse, smelling the burgers on the grill, i was trying to drown out the queens on the thirteenth floor roof deck looking down over chelsea because i wasn't connected to anything, and i was trying to focus on that connection in its absence. i was shivering in the heat. there was no cel connection in this part of chelsea. no water pressure on the top floor of this building. no news. no email. no email. no email.
my correspondance is very important to me. yet its absence is worse when the device i use to create it is still in front of me, but it somehow can't do what it used to do that morning. friday, i could even turn it on, but it wouldn't connect, because my dsl/lan line was out.
it's not like a vacation, where i am geographically removed from everything except the pencil and journal i always write in. people know i am away, and write less anyway. it's more like purgatory. my milk did not go bad. but who knows what beautiful words have been sent that may spoil from the neglect.
but oh, dear, i am so much less prepared than i have led myself to believe.
and the pixies were great because the guitars and their voices were instruments of sublime fright, terrifying, loud, and messy.
twist with the cable machine: i am going to top for the tackle. i secretly delight thinking that i know exactly what i'm doing at the gym. twists. squats. core strengthening. pushing. i don't do any exercises that don't contribute to my game, and enjoy the idea that my body is being transformed alone by that training, a strong back, bigger legs, and tough shoulders. no cosmetic chest exercises, no more bicep curls. cable chest press is all, because it will give me the power i need after i strike that spot on my opponent's thighs with my shoulder, drive up into his solar plexus, wrap the knees, grab my wrist and squeeze his knees together. the twist exercise gives me the power i need to turn my back and bring him down, below me. then it's MY BALL.
but honestly, most of the work will be done by using his momentum. that's not a big secret. but it means i need to be ready. and i'm behind, because there are many things i need to prepare for these days.
i shake off the cables and squat down, facing the mirror, arms slightly from my sides. i'm on my toes, ready to shift with my opponent. i time with him, pick the spot on his thighs (they are at my eye level), and leap, leap through the point of hesitation i had to work so hard to overcome last season, the idea that i was going to be injured hitting another person at least half again as big as me. but after six matches and two scrimmages i have little hesitation now, because i am very well prepared. i do not shirk from contact at the very moment that my opponent needs a beat from me, a second to dodge me because i don't unthinkingly tackle his ass. i pick the spot on his thighs and lunge forward, barely stopping before i strike the mirror.
but the tackles aren't so regular. on the pitch, they must be done from the front while running at full speed: it's more likely that the ball carrier will simply be able to shuffle around you. they must be done from the side, where the momentum is harder to harness. they must be done from behind, which can be impossible unless they are much slower than you. there are dozens of sub-tackles that are catalogued in various books. i only know how to perform a couple well, and actual execution is always far from assured. yet it is the fear of failure to tackle that must be overcome, the fear of entering into the whole action. every iota of this emotion must be erased: there is no time for thinking.
i have new sunglasses now. they are beautiful. i spent an obscene amount of money on them. i didn't think twice: i had to have them.
i almost tore an acquaintance a new asshole for being a playah to a good friend of mine, effectively breaking his heart. actually, there are a couple of folks here-local who are about to receive the same treatment for identical maliciousness. all these folk share an antiquated belief in real distance between people, as if their actions had no consequences outside of themselves, across a bar, across a subway platform, across avenue A, across the monitor. but i have learned that there is no distance, except that which we think into being. and i don't think twice: they need to be taken down, when they have the ball. it's MY BALL.
after the gym, i headed down christopher street, listening to extras from a playlist for a music review i've been asked to write for again. i started to wonder why i quit posting about aaron. i talk about him often. i talk to him often. i write about him often. i write to him often. i have sex with him, whether he's here or not.
things i cannot explain to myself get stuck in my head and do not get posted. ever. tackle problems. glasses problems. aaron. it is a condition entirely unlike the delicious ambiguities i search for in this city, the condition of multiple truths, where all the contradicting threads are true and sing in a dissonance that conjures words. no, it is the situations that i have no words for at all, the ones where i talk for hours or write pages and only skirt around, like a pit i do not wish to fall into. a pit i know exists, somewhere in a darkened cave, but i cannot actually perceive as i stupidly grope.
i lifted my beautiful new sunglasses. the sky was dark. there was a black sky over new jersey, bleeding into light grays on my side of the river. the air was cold and dry. the air was ionized, and smelled like water. not the hudson's water, but the sky's water. yet i sniffed and instantly bet my life that it was not going to rain on me, at least until i was there, out in the river, at the edge of the storm. i continued my amble, turned up the volume on Little Baby, put the glasses back over my eyes: i never know the outcome unless i approach the friction ahead.
practice went very well. there were about 20 people there; many of the regulars were out.
we did ball handling drills, groups of four. we did races, losers had to do burpees. these races were fun.
then we did passing in groups of four while running at another group passing. you know, the drill the lesbians are really good at. then we did it while trying loop/cut patterns. it was chaos at the end, but most of it went well, considering that about a third of the guys were totally new.
we practiced tackling technique, starting with simple wrap (one guy on his knees, another guy walks at him, and practicing sighting the thighs and cheek to cheek (face to ass) head position when wrapping, but don't go to ground) to jogging and hit/wrap/twist/to ground. as coach said, "be a top on the tackle". for our team, it is a way of developping aggression as much as it is proper tackling position. your face ends up in their crotch. but it was GOOD for me, cuz my technique sucks, and this was the first time i'd tried this as a learning exercize, as in outside of a game situation. i hope we do more, because i need this. it was drizzling and wet, and we got to get really dirty and messy from all the bringing to ground. it's hard to grip slick thighs, so this added extra challenge to the tackles. i got to tackle a new guy, the new guy who's about 5'9 210. i brought him to ground using his own momentum many times, and was aggressive on the tackles; papa was watching us and thought i was doing really well. it's one of life's new pleasures to hear papa tell me i am doing very well.
then we did 3v5 matches, on a much larger pitch area than before. the first couple of times my group did great, but a lot of times it went badly. it got dark, no one could catch the passes, and it was slippery and muddy. we were all soaked and dirty from the tackle practice. but no one was thinking either. i only did the drill three times, and it was over. i wanna do this many more times...coach told me when he was driving us home that this 3v5 was only to practice breaking out of rucks/mauls, and we'll do different variations that practice different game situations. i like the sound of that.
coach was fun and funny, and very relaxed, even though the drills were at a very specific clip. JD and papa were the other coaches; papa cuz he had injured himself in 7s thursday. i had a great time, even though i got really frustrated, like an adolescent who can't control his temper, at my last 3v5 performance and mouthed off to coach. he put me in my place, though. :)
and just like the spring, the adrenaline stays with me long after practice is over. i couldn't sleep when i went to bed, though exhausted, and i dreamed about rugby. and tackling.
The History of the Marvels Softball Club
The club began its life in 1882 as the Rush City Papermakers, founded by owner and tobacco entrepeneur Bill "Buck" McCallister to capitalize quickly on the base-ball craze that saturated the heady 1880's. The team attained a following almost immediately: no less than four stars of the 80s lineup were immortalized in Buck's Tobacco Cards of Athletic Heroes (Madd Matt, Jennifer the Carpenter, Pee-Wee Briner, and Arkie Aaron), and they won the Maryland Costal Waterways Base-Ball Championships in 1884, 1885, 1887, and 1889. The Papermakers outgrew their tiny ballpark at the end of the 80s, and was forced to relocate to Clothespin, Virginia, to be closer to the owner's home city of Richmond; many of the star roster were transferred from the paper plant in Maryland.
By the time the double-aughts rolled in, Buck was ready to sell; the Papermakers had nearly a decade of losing seasons, and it seemed doubtful they could survive in rural Virginia. In 1908 the team was purchased by railroad magnate Timothy Vanister who immediately moved and renamed the club: thus the Kansas City Railroaders were born. The team won baseball tournaments in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky throughout the next two decades, becoming a powerhouse anywhere Vanister's railroads could take them. In fact, many credited the ability of the team to be transported so comfortably as the key to their winning ways. It rode on the success of players like Knockem'Jova, Home Run Booker, Swingin' Guido Harharay, Mary "Make 'em Tremble", and Kate Speed.
The rise of the automobile, Timothy Vanister's death in 1928, and the depression of the next year, caused the almost immediate evisceration of the team. The club changed hands and names several time, moving from town to town, until it finally found a home in 1937 in Butte, Montana, and began its life as the Butte Brownies. This team was competent, but never won any championships. World War Two sent most of its players to the army. The club was sold again.
In 1949 the club found itself owned by Fulton Josephs, who had made a fortune in copper wire. The team played in Pugh, Pennsylvania, and for nearly fifteen years dominated Hanton County area baseball. Names like
Demelition Scott, Chad-i-tude, and Lissa "Killer" Parroll struck fear into the hearts of players at the the tri-county tournaments.
Hard times hit the copper wire industry and Josephs went bankrupt. The team made its way to Spillings, New Jersey in 1966, and immediately began experimenting with the modified version of baseball known as soft-ball. The Spillings Splitters became an independent corporation, and began to build itself as a strong business. Its financial success led to the construction of Pondslope Softball Stadium in 1971, and the team was outfitted in the finest orange-yellow polyester jerseys of the day. The team enjoyed a string of respectable years, and produced the all-star players Righty Rick, Righty Richard, Righty Rhonda, and Kripplin' Craig, and of course, the famous Treble-ator, who held the New Jersey State record for hits in June of 1976.
In 1992, in the midst of a recession, the club was sold to professional softball magnate J. Ziterious Marvel, who named the club after himself and immediately moved the team to lower Manhattan, in a desperate attempt to create a monopoly on the sport in the city while field permits were inexpensive.
It is this team, with its storied history, its roster of magnificent players, its gorgeous home stadium, and its intense regular practices, that make it one of the finest clubs ever to grace the softball diamond.
personal advertisements can be so boring. either they create their own little world, in which case they appear overwrought, or they say nothing, in which case they appear hapless; in either case, they are pathetic manipulations because they are connected to nothing except themselves. i have one myself!
but there is something else out there. there you need say almost nothing about yourself, and can comfortably be neither sweet nor sincere, just like in real life. and unlike dating sites, it is a fantastic place to meet a date. it is more relaxed than a personal advertisement; you know how you know someone; they have a history; they are not like a generic 'profile' that is cut out of time; they have context. it harnesses the power of the internet to augment real relationships, and can brilliantly connect groups of friends in different cities.
in my view, the testimonials tell everything. no testimonials means you aren't feeding it. dozens of testimonials, with multiple entries by the same author, means you need to get off the internet and destroy the right wing. yet a selection of testimonials that range from bizarre to funny to malicious to sincere can give you a very good impression of whether you would like them or not. and it tells you what their friends are like. do they have interesting friends? i never thought this question mattered until now. i was only interested in what do they read and listen to and do.
i couldn't invite all my real friends in one swoop, because you can send out only ten at a time. patience it teaches.
it is a black hole of time. kind of like disney's the black hole, although not quite as long, with a much better plot, and sadly without Ernest Borgnine.
the people i have dated and ended up hating are in no way connected to me on this site, even though they have profiles, and i am currently connected to 337047 people through 49 friends. this is immensely satisfying: none of my friends, or their friends, or their friends, or their friends, like them either.
but what are friends? obviously, this thing puts that definition somewhere between 'IRL acquaintance' and 'doesn't dislike me'. i agree with the comments to jen's entry at gothamist, though: IRL is defined by affinities and enmities, and we need an 'enemies' list too. yet i would go even farther in the rating; after all, this site, like some others, rewards obsessiveness, because it has so many variables and is always gaining new followers. in fact, i think either side of the friend connection should have a scale, for how-good-of-friends-are-you. that way the two could judge the connection differently; sparks could naturally fly, because your impression of your IRL relationship, which is almost never expressed in the offline world, would be revealed. games would ensue: they might install a summary of the quality of those relationships, something to counter the people who collect hundreds of friendsters they barely know or who are subjects (my only subject: gay rugby). for example, people with 10 best-friends would have a higher summary rating someone with 30 acquaintance-friends and 2 good-friends and 1 best-friend.
two rules for me: i will not accept you as a friendster if i do not think you behave as a friend IRL. that's my story and i'm sticking to it. and with two exceptions, i have no friendsters i have not met. i go to bars and meet dozens of people who recognize me, or i them, through specific people we like. coming home from a party can be a flurried exchange of be-my-friend requests.
the previously linked gothamist article is on point about messages from strangers. give me a reason to respond, please. i prefer messages that are extremely polite, articulate, and directed at some topic.
load a damned picture! this isn't 1997.
when my parent bought my brother and i our atari 2600 game console, they gave us a set of specific rules about when we could play it. after homework, but not too close to bedtime, and no longer than an hour or so. i may have to reconstitute this contract for this site.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.