Okay, I must admit that my Toronto Maple Leafs obsession might have gotten the best of me as of late. Game Four was not a game but a maniacal phantasmagoria in double time that extended for an eternity and then vanished in a haze. Phanuef’s missed hit, the shot under Reimer’s arm, the shot off the post, just wide, the 5-3 power play, the Kadri high stick, the giveaways – oh the giveaways!…it all went around in a rotor until I started to descend into an abyss. What could they have done for a better result? How do they make the puck bounce to the right and not the left? Damn Bruins. Damn undeserving, plodding, bumbling Bruins! I sat mute, inert, unable to think. Nothing.
I couldn’t write the next day. I couldn’t focus on anything and so took my axe and straightened out my pile of wood, split log after log – take that Krejci and Chara! – restructured every piece of the 2,000 into an indomitable wall.Ready for Game Five.
I wrecked my knee while coaching indoor soccer in 1998. (I believe I uttered an expletive or two at that moment.) I had surgery to repair my torn ACL and then did rehab for some weeks to follow. “Use the elliptical,” my physical therapist instructed. “That’s the best thing to do.” I have taken his advice to the extreme. Since then, I have been on that crazy looking machine about 1600 times (an hour or so each time) at eleven different gyms until I finally moved into a building with its own machine. I’ve been on this machine almost every day for the past nine months, averaging 1200 calories per session and getting my resting heart rate down to 49. It’s hard at first, especially in the morning, because my body doesn’t want to start; it knows what’s next. The first few minutes is a warm-up, getting the blood and lungs to work, and then it’s time to establish a more intensive rate, time to turn off the TV – no more NY1 – and get into the music. (Nothing Is perhaps?) Minute 12 is the first real sign post. “How far am I off my pace? How much do I have to make up?” It is a matter of settling in and focusing on what’s ahead. Thoughts finally begin to move: an email to be written, a facebook message returned, a cheque cashed, schedules checked. And then the real ideas start to come, maybe halfway through: a scene that doesn’t work, stilted dialogue, a character developed, a new direction. Each and everything – the emails and scenes, all of them – must be reviewed, numbered in my head, so that they aren’t lost with all the sweat. The last ten minutes is for recounting the ideas one by one, reviewing the list time and again, and working toward the final numbers: calories burned and ideas logged. Today it was 1208 and 5, the last one of these for this blog.