Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oh, yes they call him the FREAK...

--> c. -->
I’m not a baseball fan. I don’t really even know how the game is played, but one day at a sports bar, I was entranced by the grace and precision of San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum [who I actually thought was Derek Jeter for a long time]. I am admittedly ignorant.

As a former dancer, I saw a resemblance in his pitches to the attitude turns I used to do in ballet class. I never realized that baseball of all things could be a thing of grace and beauty.

So I became, not a Giants fan, but a Tim Lincecum fan. [My dreamy boyfriend is okay with this]. I found out that Tim is more than a graceful pitcher, he has an interesting story which can be applicable to everyone.

Tim has made his unassuming stature work for him. He is 5’10 and weighs 170 pounds. Ninety-eight mile-per-hour fastballs are unexpected from a figure so unimposing.

Tim is a Cy Young award winner.  He is nationally recognized as a big deal. And he won this prestigious award twice.

So you would think his career would stay rosy, right? Well….maybe not as he had hoped. 2012 was a bad season for the Giants, they lost 15 games. Tim was relegated to the bullpen, which means he was not a starting pitcher…and they weren’t calling on him to pitch at all.

The award-winning pitcher suddenly found himself basically sitting on the bench. What fans did not realize was that he was equally graceful off the field.

Tim could have been filled with jealousy and bitterness [Maybe he was, I don’t know; I’m a two time Cy Young award winner, bitches]. He certainly would have been entitled to it.
c. Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

His response was very matter-of-fact, "I understand the way I've been going," he said. "My last two starts weren't very great, and other guys have had success coming into this series more than I have. I'm just trying to help my team, and if that means being in the bullpen, it means being in the bullpen."

Instead of reacting, Tim soaked up all of the lessons from the bullpen, along with a huge dose of humility, I would imagine.

Now he is finding himself in the spotlight again as relief pitcher where he gets to regularly save the day.

Lincecum was perfect, as he commanded his change-up and used his slider more freely, not worrying about the potential risk of getting tired from overuse of the pitch later in the game. He is now throwing everything he has at each batter, knowing that it's unlikely he'll face the same hitter twice in the same game.

Tim has kept a clear head through all of this. No doubt it sucked and was very disappointing.

Some players may not like the idea of surrendering the spotlight on baseball’s biggest stage. However, players such as Lincecum who are willing to take a backseat for the greater good of the team usually are rewarded greatly. The fans of San Francisco will never forget how Lincecum performed on and off the field during the 2012 postseason.

I know I haven’t always been as graceful as Tim, in much less important circumstances. I think we are all very prone to thinking with our lower brains in such instances.  It seems so strange to be looking to a professional sports figure for etiquette in that respect, but Tim LIncecum is such a great example of how bad things can happen to good people, but the good people come out on top.

 c. 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Election Stress


 “Man, we can’t let Romney win,” I overheard someone say at one end of the coffeeshop, “This country will go to hell faster than a coon can scamper up a tree.”

I moved over to the other side of the shop, where I basically heard the same discussion.

“If Obama wins, I’m moving to Canada. He’s a socialist.”

With less than a month until the election, many people are finding themselves very stressed out. The thought that their guy might not win is sending many into a frenzy. I can’t even imagine what the candidates are going through.

The stakes are high, the polls are close.

For those who are panicking, it is sometimes helpful to read history’s account of tight elections in the past. This is nothing new. I’ve been reading a lot of WW2 history, and am realizing that nothing really changes. Political discord has always been a part of what makes America great. It makes for great art.

• Give your information flow a rest. Turn off the cable news, or talk radio. An update is okay; constant bombardment, however, will quite possibly drive you crazy.

• We’ve all lived through a “bad” presidency. We’ve all lived through a time when our president of choice was not in office, and we survived it. Maybe grudgingly, but we survived it. We will do so this time as well. It will make SNL much funnier to us.

• It will rouse the other side. The team who didn’t win will work harder on solutions. It can often be just the kick in the pants they need to really get their plans in high gear.

• And if you really, really don’t like the turnout, there’s always Canada….


Monday, October 8, 2012

School Days

My dreamy boyfriend and I are going back to school! We’ve discovered Coursera. We are both taking REAL classes online, for free! [I swear this isn’t an ad, at least not a paid one, anyway].

He’s taking Logic and Calculus, from Stanford, because he’s a genius. I am taking a Modern Poetry class from University of Pennsylvania, and LOVING it!! If only I had been as excited about school when it counted.

I go back and forth between sheer exhilaration and nervous insecurity. I turned in my first assignment. What a rush, but I’ve had a pit in my stomach ever since. The familiar feelings of OMG, is it good? But more than that, is it RIGHT? Did I grasp it or did I completely miss the point? Did I include everything? What did I overlook?

I have to tell myself that it’s OK to be wrong [I actually have a lot of practice, I just don’t like it]. I have to give myself permission to be completely wrong. I’m there to learn, right? And constructive criticism is a good thing.

I’m finding that life is not much different than the classroom. Some things I am reminding myself of are to:

Make sure you read all of the directions. I was doing a comparison of William Carlos William’s two versions of Young Woman at a Window, in which I mused, “It is curious why Williams wrote two very similar versions of the poem.” It wasn’t until after I turned it in that I read [in the directions, no less] that only one was published during his lifetime.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Save your work until you are well-rested. Incorporate a nap into your schedule. You’ll be glad you did. I work so much better when I am well-rested. The difference is amazing, yet I always underestimate it.

Block distractions. My mind is constantly carrying on a narrative of what I could or should be doing. I need to go to the bank, grocery store, etc. Right now I’m dwelling on the fact that I keep forgetting to call my friend to tell her I’m taking this class. I should do it now while I’m remembering. No, I should actually go to the class.

Get organized. Tools are no good if you can’t access them. Have a “filing system” for class documents on the computer. This is funny, I haven’t actually done this yet.

Create effective habits. I have to consciously incorporate studying into my schedule.

Don’t ruminate. Stressing about exams, assignments, projects is the worst thing you can do. If you are stressing because you are unprepared, then make the necessary changes. Breathe through it. It’s not the end of the world if you do poorly on them.

Keep an open mind while learning. Go to lectures with an open mind. Let go of any preconceived notions, opinions, biases during the lecture, they will block learning. You will often find that what you thought was wrong.

c. 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Brain, within its Groove 


The Brain, within its Groove
Runs evenly—and true—
But let a Splinter swerve—
'Twere easier for You—

To put a Current back—
When Floods have slit the Hills—
And scooped a Turnpike for Themselves—
And trodden out the Mills—

Emily Dickinson