team sports & mental clarity

tonight, i played a team sport (basketball) for the first time in months. i noticed something was different. i wasn't playing for myself, i was playing for us. i was less afraid to go for it. in the past when i had the ball, i would worry about passing it, and worrying about how my teammates might be judging me for my game. but tonight i was just doing what i thought was best for the team, yet not considering directly what my teammates wanted me to do.

it felt as if i had elevated to a plane of consciousness where the air was crystal clear and thoughts were free to flow uninhibited by pollution. whereas when i played before, i would let anxiety hold me down and it would severely affect my decision making. today i was just playing, moving naturally without any concern of doing the "right thing." which in the past consisted of me trying to guess what my teammates wanted me to do, and then doing that, even if it wasn't natural. this took a lot of my conscious ability (we can only think of one thing at a time, after all). and then when i made a mistake, i would blame myself. and a feedback loop would start and it was hard to get out of that funk. i was no longer enjoying myself.

but today, i was living for each moment, not dwelling on the past, not letting it drag me down. yes, the past mattered because i needed to remember who did what in order to be able to other than how it could possibly affect the course of the game. i could clearly see the egos of some other players being bruised, because they weren't performing well, and i remember thinking to myself how silly that was. you do your best in that moment...which is (obviously) what you did, because what else could it be? and then you blame yourself for it! it's not clear to them, but it was to me. and i felt a separation from them, yet i also felt closer to them for our difference, because i knew what they knew and what they didn't know was that we were exactly the same.

the mental chatter within my head, with my head, was minimal. i felt lighter in a way i can't quite explain.

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