Potential

One of my favorite ads of all time was an ad for the Economist Magazine that goes: “Potential is great, if your twelve.” Chuckle — Just thinking about that today.

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Sleepy – time … Need that sleep!!

Dude. Don’t I know it…

For the New York Times Blog : http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/how-sleep-loss-adds-to-weight-gain/?_r=0

Dr. Walker said he suspected that one factor that plays a role is a substance called adenosine, a metabolic byproduct that disrupts neural function and promotes sleepiness as it accumulates in the brain. One of the ways that caffeine stimulates wakefulness is by blocking adenosine. Adenosine is also cleared from the system when we sleep.

Without enough rest, adenosine builds up and may start to degrade communication between networks in the brain, Dr. Walker said. Getting sleep may be the equivalent of rebooting the brain.

“I think you have about 16 hours of optimal functioning before the brain needs to go offline and sleep,” he said. “If you go beyond these 16 hours into the realm of sleep deprivation, then those brain networks start to break down and become dysfunctional.”

Dr. Walker said it was increasingly clear from the medical literature that there is not a single tissue in the body that is not beneficially affected by sleep.

“It’s the single most effective thing people can do every day to reset their brain and body health,” he said.

“Dad, feel free to make a long story long” …

I had a great conversation about Baltimore, touched off by watching the Barry Levinson-directed, 30 For 30 documentary about the Baltimore Colts Marching Band called “The Band That Would Never Die”. I would call it required reading for sports fans, Baltimoreans and those who want to understand Baltimoreans.

I have to say I remember living through that era in time and a couple of things come to mind. I remember being nonchalant, thinking: The “Indianapolis Colts?”: “That’ll never stick!” Wrong. Isn’t this illegal? Wrong. Wait, teams don’t move! Wrong. (I remember checking the late history of baseball in the exodus of teams from the east—Dodgers, Giants, Athletics, etc. and being like, “Oh!” So, once again, wrong. Once the NFL finds out, won’t this be overturned? Wrong. The Colts in my lifetime up until then were a heap of futility. Never put into my own personal memory was the team that beat The New York Giants in the 1958 Championship, or later, ever seemed to be reasonably competitive. I paid attention—apparently just after the Unitas era. Despite the consistently terrible showings, I did think that they were my team to root for though, regardless of how embarrassing they really were.

The Colts’ actual leaving Baltimore opened me up to a whole new plane of thinking about the role of sports, when suddenly without a team that I cared for, I was left without a team at all, a point that Steve Bisciotti, the current Baltimore Ravens’ owner made in the documentary. But for me, being in those formative teen years, that twelve-year absence was an open barn door away from football where, while I could never say I don’t like it or follow it, I’ve always done so with a measured distance. I understand how much of a business it really is because it happened to me then.

That documentary was a launchpad for my Dad and I sharing different points of view on sports where we went back and forth on a number of different tangential conversation related to sport. One of those came under the topic of how often really talented players don’t recognize the true value of their playing time, whether it is through wasting their time, money or talent in some way or another. Just good conversation.

This ultimately is a main arena for bonding with my Dad, because while we were never professional in our given sports (him, basketball and me, baseball), sports, and an understanding of its dynamics have become the staging ground for an understanding of life for us. To me being an athlete is important beyond what/where one has played because it is a mentality that men and women can adopt and reflect on aspects in life.

Those conversations turn into conversations about how we relate to the world. How great a player might have been in any given moment in time is a real thing that cannot be bottled or just shown on tape and fully understood. I can’t show my kid a tape of Walter Payton and have that be the description of what one the best running backs I ever got to see meant, not only to football, but to his team. There’s a scene in Spike Lee’s movie “He Got Game” where the father (Denzel Washington) explains to his son, Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) why he was given the name “Jesus” and it turns out to not be because of religion.

It’s because he was named after Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and in the movie there is a really emotional scene where Denzel’s character discusses having witnessed Earl play (just like my Dad), when he was really in his moment, and to the extent possible, I could only say the moment was like that with emotion poured into the description of Earl’s playing.

My Dad says “… he had a crossover that made it look like he was gliding on the floor …” He went on to say, “Well, to make a long story short …” And this moment caps it all, when I said to him: “Feel free to make a long story long.”

In my Dad’s mind, Earl had a specific moment (playing with the Bullets) and when he signed with the Knicks subsequently it just wasn’t the same. The thing being to appreciate that present moment and appreciate its realness.

Training Wheels

I’m thinking of it as a bit of a microcosm that my son (3 and 1/2) fell off his bike because of the training wheels, as opposed to not having them. The fall was particularly hard because he was going somewhat slowly at the time.

I told him that we’re just gonna go out and learn to ride the bike. I mean the training wheels give him a sense of what riding is, not actual riding, you know?

It makes me wonder how much we limit ourselves in aspects of our lives when we have “safeguards” that allow us to do things — but prevent us from, say, getting hurt or getting in too deep — and in the end, we don’t actually experience the thing in its true nature.

Bikeconomics

I finally fixed my primary bike — which cost me a little bit, but kudos to my older bike which I’ve been riding for some time now.

I bought it at a yard sale about ten years ago now, that $25 bike (circa 1993 Specialized Epic) was high-end twenty years ago and a ride the other day gave me this revelation: “… if you ain’t in shape you can talk all you want about the newest bells and whistles, deep-dish carbon fibre rims, aero modifications, lightness and the like, but if you’re not in shape, beyond a certain point, you might as well be riding a tricycle.”

… And the return per mile on that used bike albeit about ten years old when I bought has to be astronomical: $25 and it’s put in mile after mile without complaint or problem.