When I first started to play Squash, Samwise helpfully pointed out that my reaction times were abysmal. It was almost true. During 2nd Pro we needed to do a statistics project, and a couple of people did various kinds of reaction tests. I finished in the top couple (out of 120) for all tests. This is despite some unfortunate brain damage affecting my co-ordination when younger.
Anyway, I’m pretty good at most reaction sports because I can anticipate and have prety good positional skills. Plus, I think my reactions are pretty good. The reason I was so slow seeming at Squash was because of the unfamiliarity of it all: the physics behind it all is pretty intelligible to me, but my muscle-memory and internal newtownian physicist were not especially well trained at Squash. So, it’s like running a poorly optimized program: however good the hardware below, the results are not going to be perfect.
Playing Frisbee and Volleyball for the first time this year has proven much the same thing all over again; but it wasn’t until , , and I were trying to guess the age of two girls this afternoon that I realised a couple of things. I’ve been pondering a lot about the way we communicate, following lines of thought through “implied conversations” and your basic introvert/extrovert divide (by way of logical post-facto rationalisation)… which is all cool, but missing a crucial point:
“I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking’s something you can’t do judiciously, unless you keep in practice. Now, sir, we’ll talk if you like. I’ll tell you right out, I’m a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.” – Kasper Gutman, The Maltese Falcon
You see, they were flirting with Mike, who was I think nonplussed due to their age (certainly prudent). But what they were doing wasn’t really flirting I think, but merely getting in the necessary practise. Suddenly I realised that the implied conversations which I had been thinking of as a form of intimacy between friends is really something else: trickier and trickier maneuovres and set-piece plays in the Sport of Language.
They were, I think, preparing themselves to go through the actual process of hooking a man by harmless extraversion (sure hope you girls know how to spell). They were trying to ensure that when they are interested, or not, they say the right things at the right times.
In one of my favourite books My One Contribution to Chess the author makes the astute observation that a game of chess is at its peak of fun when both players are of equal skill. Something I’ve certainly noticed in virtually every sport I’ve ever played. I think the exception may be communication; or at least, equal fluency shouldn’t be a guideline when picking a sparring partner due to the relatively small component that language makes up of a relationship.