Monday, November 19, 2012

Hardly Easy

Doug and I often watch a home improvement show on Saturday evenings. Typically we're puttering in the kitchen together and it's fun to watch old, decrepit houses in Boston and New York transform into castles while we transform a bunch of ingredients into our supper.

This past weekend, two of the main characters in the show took a bit of time off from shims and drills to try their hand at rowing - the sport of choice at Cambridge apparently. They had a lesson on land and then took to the water. As they tried to steady the boat and move it through the water with some degree of grace they both exclaimed "wow, this is A LOT harder than it looks!".

I immediately thought of curling and how, the first time I tried it, I thought the exact same thing. It WAS a lot harder than it looked.

So was running.

Swimming definitely was too.

Ditto for cycling.

Golf was SO hard when I tried it that it has taken me 2 1/2 years to feel like I might want to try it again.

So I turned to Doug as we sat down to our beef barley soup dinner.

"Can you think of any sport that is EASIER than it looks?".

He thought for a moment and replied with "No. No, I can't think of any sport that is easier than it looks".

Neither could I.

I could think of plenty of people who could make the sport look easy.

Is that part of it? In order to be good at a sport you actually have to make it look easy?

Or at least make it look easier than it is.

I do know that the people I know who excel in a particular activity are most often the ones who look like they are not working as hard as the rest of us. They glide through the water, float along the road and slide across the ice with a grace that completely hides the fact that what they are doing is really quite difficult.

I don't know if this observation can translate into greater speed or grace on land and in the water but I did think it was rather interesting.

1 comment:

  1. I think every sport is harder than it looks when it's being done "right." The best athletes have practiced until every part of the sport is second-nature, and they have attained a kind of grace and efficiency that's part of what it means to be "the best."

    And we know from swimming, cycling and running that, even when it looks (and feels) easy, there's another place we can take our exertion where it's unbearably hard. Every Ironman champion I've read about says that's the trick: not giving anything away about how hard you're actually working and tricking yourself into believing that it's easy, too.