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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

IN THE ZONE


IN THE ZONE


Michael Jordon
 

 Have you ever been in “The Zone?”  Wait…stay ladies this is going to be about sports but it applies to lots of stuff…writing…parenting…come on, I  read you poopy diaper blogs…OK, thank you.

Have you ever been in “The Zone,” that place where whatever you are doing that you usually struggle you suddenly excel? 

I used to play pick-up street basketball.  I was not very good, probably below average.  I could dribble ok and make a layup, but anything past 10 feet and I could barely hit the backboard.  Every once in a while I would find myself in "The Zone."

Point your elbow at the hoop, feel the wrist snap and the ball just fly off the finger tips and swish!  I found the touch.  I would not miss anything.  Near…far…turn-around…anything…swish!  I found the secret to shooting baskets!

Then as soon as it came, it was lost.  I would be out of “The Zone” and throwing up bricks.

I threw the discus in High School.  I threw it 125’ to 130’ which was good enough for third and sometimes second at most track meets.  One day at practice in the last week of my junior season I found “The Zone.”  My spin and hop was right on, my foot plant was perfect and my arm and the disc exploded.  Suddenly, out of nowhere I was flinging that disc 140’ to 155’.  The last meet of the season I threw 150’ good for only third in that meet because the two best discus throwers in the state were on the other team.  Still my throw of 150’ was the third best in school history.

The following spring, my senior year, I never found “The Zone” again.  My best throw all year was 132’.

I was a pretty good golfer in my youth, playing to around a 14 handicap (score of 88-92).  One day I found myself in “The Zone.”  If I pulled the ball it sliced back to the middle.  If I pushed the ball it hooked back to the middle.  Everything I hit was clean and accurate.  I made every putt from 6’ in and chipped off the green to within 3 feet of the hole virtually every time.  In “The Zone,” I shot a 78.  I thought I had the game figured out and I would soon be a scratch golfer.  It was not to be…”The Zone” is a fickle venue.

I currently bowl in a men’s league once a week.  I am about average for the league generally scoring between 165 and 180.  Three years ago I found "The Zone." 

I set my timing to the tune of the Rascals' “Feelin Groovy,” head down eye on my mark, rolling the ball just right off my fingertips I could “feel” the ball where ever I wanted it to go.  That night I bowled a 709 series for an average of 236!  The next week I bowled a 712 series for a two week average of 237!  I was in the zone and had the game totally figured out. 

In the last three years I have never bowled a series over 611.  The Zone” is a fickle venue.

From the stories my father told me, my grandfather had this zone thing figured out.  My grandfather was an average golfer and bowler.  One golfing day he started off the first tee with a great drive, a perfect 4 iron and a ten foot putt for a birdie.  The next hole was more of the same and he scored a par.  On the third hole, clearly he was in The Zone; he hit the green on a par three with a three wood (called a spoon in those days) and knocked in a 30 foot putt for another birdie.  Grandpa, knowing The Zone was a temporary location for ordinary humans excused himself from his foursome claiming he had forgotten an appointment and left the course before he lost The Zone.  He never played golf again.

Years later my grandfather, an average bowler was trying to kill time waiting for a train while on a business trip.  There was a bowling alley under the station so he decided to bowl a few lines. 

The first game Grandpa started off with six strikes.  As an aside my father explained that in those days the pin setters who relied on tips often had a knack of kicking down the notoriously stubborn ten pin with a toe or thrown pin while they scurried out of the way.  They figured that the higher the score the bigger the tip.  Regardless, six strikes in a row was no easy feat.  As Grandpa was closing in on a perfect game he began to attract a crowd.  He missed a strike in the ninth frame and finished with a 279 score…one pin away from a perfect game.  The crowd applauded and waited to watch his next game.  Grandpa knew the zone was fickle.  He packed up and left saying he had a train to catch.  He waited quietly for three hours for that train, but he never left "The Zone."

Have you ever been in “The Zone?”  Did you stick around too long?

17 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever been in "The Zone" -- ever. But congratulations to you!

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  2. Do you think Google could locate "The Zone" for me? I've never been able to find it!!

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  3. Athletically, no, I've never found "The Zone". If anyone ever described my athletic abilities as "average" I would take that as a compliment. Professionally I've had a few periods when I could do no wrong, but that success was not the norm for me.

    These days if I can just find my keys in the morning I feel like I'm in "The Zone". That's probably as close as I'll ever come. ;)

    S

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  4. Athletically I have only been in the zone once. During a ladies Rugby union match. I played Hooker (yes I've heard them all before) and on this one match I was so in 'The Zone' it was amazing. I was usually pretty good in the scrum and never lost my own ball and had even been known to steal one or two, but on this particular match, I was so on form I took all my own ball and all the opposition ball. It was poetry in motion..It never happened again!

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  5. I can recall a few times (really VERY few), as a young baseball player when, on a given turn at bat, the ball came in from the pitcher's hand looking like a beach ball, with a flashing neon 'Hit Me' sign. Those were sweet. . .

    I'm also a bit of a math nerd, and in high school, I took part every year in a statewide math competition. My senior year, when I took the test, I was in The Zone. It was eerie - I mean, I just went from one problem to the next, figuring out the answer almost instantly. I finished with a score of 36/40, on a competitive exam where 18/40 was in the top 10%. . .

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  6. Yes, I've been in "The Zone." I even wrote about it, under short stories on my new blog at chubbychatterbox.com. Check it out; it's really short.

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  7. I am a classically trained musician and spent time in The Zone as a young adult quite often. It was a beautiful place to be and entirely error-free.

    :-)

    Thanks for that memory!

    Pearl

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  8. I have experienced the Zone! And it is fickle! It wasn't for sports, but when I was drumming in a jazz band. I suck at fills, I just choke. But one day, it was AMAZING. My groove was on and I was all over that set! I've never been able to do it again, but the memory is still thrilling. :)

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  9. Oddly enough I played basketball, softball, tennis, handball, ping pong and except for ping pong I was always average.(I came in 4 in the nation for ping pong, and that included Canada. Not bragging just explaining.) Anyway amazingly enough I do better now that I am mostly blind. Guess I should have tried playing with my eye's shut in high school. haha

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  10. Weaving. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in my ears, three yards an hour, four solid hours to lunch. After lunch might be OK, but for sure a thread would break or a shuttle drop.

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  11. once or twice i found the zone back when i was playing field hockey and used to love it when i drifted into the zone BC (before children) when i was a marketing manager. nowadays i dream of finding the zone when it comes to cleaning and those pooey diapers you mention. strangely enough, it's still exciting no matter when and where i do slip into it

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  12. hehe, I often fell into a VERY temporary zone while playing pool. It started at beer number two and ended abruptly around beer number 6. Boy did I love the zone!

    I like your Grandfather's style. I haven't played the hubs at Chess since before we were married. Hail the conquering hero - that's me!

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  13. My In The Zone relates to jobs. Ever since 2008 when the job that I really loved didn't survived that collapse, I have been unable to find another job just like that one. Since then, I have settled on low paying, menial jobs to get through but still hopeful for the day that I will "back in the zone" job once again.

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  14. Not in the zone in this way, but I find I get sucked into zones (comic book vortex), World Cup Zone/Olympics?Dakar (where for a number of weeks all I do is watch sport for most of the 24 hours a day and all I want to do is talk about it to like minded people when it isn't on)

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  15. I know what you mean with the zone, but it has never been that relevant for me with sport. It was useful during labour though!

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  16. I actually think I have during my dancing and Physical Culture years, but it has been one hell of a long time since.
    I like the idea of Google directing us to find it (from one of the comments on your post).
    Becc via #FYBF

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