July 21, 2006

Bar: in the zone

A week from now, I'll be on vacation.

I've just got to go through the motions of studying for 4 days and the test for 3. It's all scheduled except for packing and possibly buying one of the allowed timepieces.

I'm calm. It's the comfortable hyper-calm from sports.

I've never felt this way about an exam before. The forced high-performance calm had previously been reserved for sports where I could break my neck if I fucked up.

I can take the bar exam again. I know this. And yet, my body/brain complex has apparently been put under enough stress in this whole process to think it deserves the same level of controlled adrenaline as competing a trick on your own that you've never done without a crash mat and a spotter to save you.

I always understood how much of a mental game sports were. There were always a few people who were so confident and had so much mind-over-body control that they could return from a 3-month hiatus, 10 pounds heavy and out of shape, only to kick the ass of those who had been in the gym 6 days a week. In diving, the hiatus could be years (water hurts much less than ground).

Why could these bad-asses do this? Sure some of it was raw talent. But one thing they all had in common was knowing that they could do it. Those kids, they had this serene confidence that at times could be more important than preparation and strength. We often thought they were stupid for trying tricks that they clearly weren't in good enough shape to pull. They always landed and grinned.

It's fascinating that the bar is just as much of a mind game as successfully flipping and twisting your body in ways it shouldn't be torqued. It's just contorting your brain to store way more than is remotely comfortable in a way that you can access it all. And believing that a) the stuff is in there; b) you can get to it; and c) when you can't you're gonna fake it well enough that no one's gonna notice.

So my take home point is this: now that we're running out of time to prepare, it's time to believe.

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