|A Letter From Cyberspace
The Athlete's View - Winter 1996
Joel Kirsch, Ph.D.
American Sports Institute
The American Sports Institute recently established a website and email address on the Internet. Despite not having made our address available, somehow the following letter appeared as soon as we went online.
Dear Athlete's View Editor:
I know you don't solicit letters to the editor for your publication, but I just had to write this letter to you anyway. Even if you don't print it (which I don't see happening given your format), I wanted to take the time to write this because something is bothering me and it's been keeping me up at night. I don't normally do this, write a letter to the editor. In fact, I can't believe I am doing this.
I'm a CPA for a well-known accounting firm. I'm pretty good at what I do, and make a good salary with generous benefits. Basically, my money is my own because I'm single, somewhere between 30 and 35 years old, I rent a nice apartment, my car is paid for, I have a steady girlfriend, etc., etc. I think you get the picture.
What's bothering me is that while I've got many of the things I always thought I wanted, over the last few weeks, every morning when I go into work, as I approach my desk to sit down and get to work, a sinking feeling slowly comes over me. I get a queasy sensation in my gut. I just get down.
I get my work done. I'm cordial to everyone, but I'm down. Not serious down. I've been serious down before. It's not like that. It's more like I'm down because I feel like I'm missing something in this nine-to-ten-hour-a-day existence.
But all this begins to change Wednesday after lunch. And only on Wednesday (even more than on getaway Friday afternoons). Because Wednesday night is my basketball league. I begin to feel better each and every 10 to 15 minutes. My stomach begins to feel good, my attitude is up, there's a positive (Yeah, positive!) tension in my head and in my office.
When I leave my office and exit through the big doors of the downtown building's bottom floor, I can hear the resounding, echoing clang of the closing doors reverberating in my head. I feel like I'm closing down a world of the mundane for something that totally tests who I am, what I am, or if I am. I don't know, does this make any sense?
I down a couple of bananas as I walk to the club. I notice that my pace picks up as I get close.
Once in the club, I take two big drinks of water and get into my gym clothes. The tensionit's good stuffis great. I love it. I'm relaxed yet pumped. I'm alive, damn it! I'm alive!
By 6:30, my two teammates and the other team members are there. We loosen up, shoot around. Then the game is on and we're flying; maybe not like Michael Jordan, but for us, we're flying. I'm having to think, react, intuit, not-think. It's fun. It's exciting. I'm totally focused. And with all this stuff going on at once, somehow I'm totally relaxed and (here comes another I can't believe I'm saying this) at peace.
Then, just like I've read in some of your articles, sometimes strange things start to happen. The hoop seems huge and everything I throw up goes in. I seem so much quicker than normal; it's like everyone else is standing still. At times, the pounding of the ball against the hardwood floor has no sound. It's as if there's no noise at all, just like a split second after the door closes to the building I work in, the door I walked out of two hours earlier.
After two or three games of half court and a hot shower, the three of us go out and get something to eat. Obviously, we talk about the game. The conversation is great. Occasionally we talk about being so in sync, so together, that we're closer than brothers when we play. We boldly proclaim all of half-court basketball our domain. We high-five one another. We laugh at ourselves.
I get home around 10:00. I'm hurting from the workout, but I feel great. I feel light yet solid. I'm barely able to crawl into bed. Man, it feels great.
I sleep good and feel rested when I get up. However, as I walk back into the office around 8:00 a.m., and approach my desk, a sinking feeling comes over me. The knot in my stomach returns.
What's going on? I have just about everything I thought I ever wanted. What's with the down attitude when I'm in my office? What's with my stomach?