The Courage to Feel

"The 'Zone' is that all-is-right-with-the-world feeling sought by the athlete on game day.  Like most things sublime, it is uncommon and elusive.  Its mystery and rewards come to those who diligently seek moments of near perfection through the daily grind of training.  If the zone is like the view of the victor from Mt. Olympus, then training is like the life of the soldier in the trenches....

"Striving to reach beyond one's limits, in sport and in life, does not come without some measure of personal suffering.  Thus the premium placed on toughness--the ability to get mind and body through the crush of chaos and uncertainty that is endemic to the competitive environment.  While not conspicuous in day-to-day behavior, tenderness is an implicit element in sport culture, a counterpoint to the denial of emotion that is inherent in toughness.  It is the moment of greatest threat and tension that gives way to the strongest emotion, be it the unbridled joy of the victors or the shared support in sadness of the vanquished....

"The idea of life as a struggle to balance opposing forces is not for sport alone.  It can be found in the ancient philosophy of Taoism and the psychoanalytic theory of Freud.  Training is an emotional trial by fire.  The path to the zone lies in ability to resolve the paradox posed by the complementary but contradictory emotions that are the athlete's daily companion."

--Dr. John Heil, "Emotion in Sport," American Fencing 61.3 (Fall 2011), p. 25.

Comments

  1. Starting a frustrating new learning curve and I needed to read this today as a reminder that improvement doesn't come overnight. Thanks for posting :)

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