I recently expressed to my therapist my desire to realize my body's need to be athletic. He asked me what the draw was...he's not a fan of sport, or physical activity of any kind for that matter. I don't remember what my response was, but I remember feeling it was inadequate.

I found something written by Robert Lipsyte that says it much better:

"The great Russian weight lifter Yuri Vlasov called them 'the white moments,' those incredible epiphanies of athletic action when movement is so intense and so close to perfection that time stops, everything becomes still. For the athlete it is a kind of emotional snapshot, forever remembered. The spectator can only hope that an artist with a camera has peeled the moment off the air.

Think of Michael Jordon standing on an invisible stage three feet off the ground, his hand above the hoop. Think of Greg Louganis, a knife stabbing water. Or Billie Jean King at the net. She once described how she feels after the perfect shot: 'My heart pounds, my eyes get damp, and my ears feel like they're wiggling, but it's also just totally peaceful. It's almost like having an orgasm - it's exactly like that.'

What a drug it must be! No wonder the great ones hardly ever quit at the top of their games. As Bill Bradley once put it, 'There are not too many aspects of life where contentment follows so quickly the exhilaration of a total coordinated effort.'

Those rare moments when one fills the net, clears every hurdle, feels the club as an extension of an arm.

Get the picture?

Vlasof explained, 'At the peak of tremendous and victorious effort, while the blood is still pounding in your head, all suddenly becomes quiet within you. Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before, as if great spotlights had been turned on.

'At this moment, you have the conviction that you contain all the power in the world, that you are capable of everything, that you have wings. There is no more precious moment in life than this, 'the white moment,' and you will work very hard for years to come just to taste it again.'

Or to hold the image of it in your hands and look at it so hard that you can feel it, too."

1:33 p.m. - 2007-07-20

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