Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Not perfect. At least that's what Mark Gerry (my high school football coach) said. He told us that practice doesn't make perfect, "practice makes permanent." I happen to agree with him. Nothing is perfect. Sure, if you practice over and over again you'll improve at whatever you're doing, but if you practice without passion you'll never be as good as you could have been. The sloppy practice will become permanent, just like Coach Gerry said.
I just read Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Peña (new faculty member at VCFA I might add). It's about basketball. The main character is good. Real good. He plays ball all the time. It got me thinking about Coach Gerry and practice. Basketball players can play anytime they want. There are hoops everywhere. All you need is a ball and you can work on your shot all day and all night if you really wanted to. It's a sweet deal. I never got to do that with hockey. And I played a ton. Way more than most of my teammates, especially when I was a kid. I mean, yea, I could rollerblade and play street hockey, and I could shoot pucks against the garage, but I couldn't really play. You couldn't skate. You need a rink for that. And ice time is expensive. I played every chance I could get though. Even pick-up games 4-5 times a week in the summer at the local rink. It still wasn't enough. You hear stories about guys from northern Canada playing on the pond for many many more months than I could. They lived it. That's all they did up there. They were just like basketball players. I always envied that about them.
I feel lucky that writing is something I get to do anywhere, anytime. All I have to do is pull out my little notepad and jot down some ideas. I can read amazing books to help inform my own creations as well. I can analyze why a given piece of literature works or why it doesn't. I can think about my stories while I'm at school shelving books. I can spend most of my day in Writerland, not just the time I spend tapping away at the keys. I finally feel like a basketball player. I get to practice with passion, so I can make those skills more permanent.