Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Someone Who Stays When Others Leave
I've always adored corndog sports movies, the kind of manipulative crap that revolves around a few key plot points -- a deeply talented, totally gorgeous, preferably poor (think Jared Leto in Prefontaine) athlete works his way from the bottom to become somebody. Through fault or no fault of his or her own, he or she loses the spark, the thrill, and subsequently the crown. After a crucial turnaround (think of Nadia C. losing weight and resuming with her meany-pants coach Bela to get her groove back), he or she becomes a star again, recaptures the promise. Add some lesbian locker room action (Personal Best), some outside political drama (Mark Spitz gone missing during the murder of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics), or just bad luck and shitty weather (Mitch Gaylord pouting and shirtless in the rain during American Anthem), and you've got me hooked.
For years, I competed as a gymnast but the best I ever did was second place on a rather uninspired floor routine at the Texas State Championships. I clung to the ribbon (the only one I was likely to get that mattered) until I started to date a boy who was an extremely talented gymnast. He wasn't straight, but we had many emotional moments that included the exchange of overwraught notes that included every sports cliche written in various locker rooms for inspiration. (A winner is someone who stays when others leave, Victory isn't everything, it's the only thing -- umm, you get the idea.) I gave him my ribbon when I gave up the sport -- I was too tall, too bored, and too tired of not eating to continue. I knew I didn't have the spark, and that I wasn't destined to be anybody, much less somebody. My pseudo-boyfriend, however, had the most important thing in all the movies and according to many coaches -- heart, that elusive ability to keep going when everything seems bleak. He also had a devastating smile, the kind I have never seen before or since. It expressed so many things at once, all the pain of his tremendously difficult life (he also had the requisite sports movie poverty which in reality wasn't so great), the sadness of his family, and still the ever-continued openness in the face of a lot of jerks. He smiled with his eyes, a heart-breaking smile, and as all the great cliches go, you had to see it to believe it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Pictures must be miraculous." Mark Rothko
Cherry Dr. Pepper
1 Dr. Pepper
1 shot of cherry juice
Serve over crushed ice. (Hey, it's Monday. If you've been drinking all the spells, you need to heal your liver! Dr. Pepper will help.)
Benedictions and Maledictions
The streets are not yours or mine.
We pauset at atrocity, catch our
breaths, buy things we love to discard.
Mark Rothko took to smaller, darker
paintings until he overdosed, not
the most interesting way to die, but there
you have it. I've given you something
to wear around your neck. If you
drown, don't say that I didn't warn you.