"It's been a while" is what Britney Spears says at the beginning of "Break the Ice," on her latest album BLACKOUT.
Okay. I've been coaching my little butt off and haven't been reading, writing, or posting as much as usual. I quit my job at the UCLA School of Public Health, and started coaching lacrosse at Occidental College and at Redondo Union High School. I also experienced, for the first time in my life, the hell that is not having medical insurance and getting an infection.
Oh, and I got freaked out about posting my drafts on here because many, many journals require that what you are submitting has never been published in any form anywhere, including the internet. I think this is a silly rule; does my work really have less value in the journal because it has already appeared on my blog? That's a zero-sum logic that I don't follow. Anyhow.
All these things have kept me away, but I'm coming back.
I'm reading Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely and it is an oddly appropriate follow-up to the Whitman. It floors me. I already wrote down drafts for three different poems. It must be inspiring me. I recommend it.
I used up all my eloquence at half-time and time-outs earlier today, so let me just sign off with these scribblings, which I wrote on a legal pad while watching lacrosse in the Rose Bowl during the East / West Challenge in early March. I sat a row back from my players, who were resting between games.
Perhaps because the stadium is shaped like a bowl, perhaps because the air is filled with music and tension, the air takes on a certain density, a certain opacity, a certain viscousness. As if the air itself had changed composition and would now be proper stuff for athletes to breathe.
I cannot tell you how my heart aches for this, as if aching for a lost lover. It is difficult, difficult to watch the players lined with sticks, hear the announcer and then the anthem. One cannot help but imagine oneself in these arms, one cannot help but imagine oneself occupying that familiar embrace. And one watches the goalie and thinks, my head would be there, my glove would be a bit looser - and the worst - i would have gotten that.
It will never again matter in the way it once did. Whether you make the save or not. Whether you're at your best or just the tiniest bit (enough!) slow.