Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Moon Pies!

I completely forgot about Moon Pies until we played against Carolina and they included a generous amount of the delicious southern treat in our dressing-room gift basket. They may have been a bit too strange for the rest of my teammates, but I screamed for joy when I saw them. MOON PIES!

When I was 8 years old my dad got a new job, and our family made the move from Georgia to Mississippi. I can’t say we moved around “quite often”, but we also weren’t strangers to moving – having moved from Arizona to Georgia on the same pretenses just over 3 years earlier. This move to Mississippi was different in that we hadn’t found a house to live in prior to arriving in Mississippi with all of our stuff. My dad’s company put us up in an “apartment complex” (and I use that term loosely) for the first 3 or 4 months we lived there.

The apartment complex I speak of was a motel – not an apartment complex. Nonetheless, it was home, and this first home in Mississippi is one of which I have both vivid memories of some things and complete lack of recollection of others. I remember getting a pogo ball when we lived there. It was a black ball with a red foot-board, and I thought it was ugly, but I had desperately wanted a pogo ball and I bothered my parents for it nonstop, so I used it, albeit not nearly as much as I would have used it had it been pink or purple. Day-to-day things, I can’t really remember. I think we had a microwave in one of our rooms, and I know I must have bathed there, but for the life of me I cannot remember what the bathroom looked like or how we ate dinner!

Nonetheless, there is one day-to-day occurrence that I do remember: studying after school and getting Moon Pies from the motel vending machine afterwards. It was fall and the motel pool was closed, but there was a swing set on the other side of it. After school, my mom would take me to the swing set and as she pushed me she’d ask me to recite my times tables. Six times one is six; six times two is twelve; six times three is eighteen… Early on I would have to think about the higher multiplications, like eight times nine. My mom taught me to visualize dots in my head, and it worked. I saw black dots against a red background. To this day when I have to think about math calculations in my head, I see the black dots against the red background. I still remember the repetition of the swing and how eventually the times tables, even the big numbers, became automatic – something I no longer had to think about. How did it become automatic? I’m not sure – it just did.

After a half hour or so of studying on the swing set, my mom would lead me through the maze of outside hallways connecting the motel rooms and to the vending machine where she’d give me however much money it cost to purchase one chocolate Moon Pie.

I totally forgot about the existence of Moon Pies until last month. When we left the motel, the placement of the Moon Pie in my daily life was cut to an “every so often” occurrence. When we left Mississippi for Maryland, Moon Pies ceased to exist at all.

I’ve been having problems lately executing a certain type of block. Worried about staying in my box, foot position, hip position, and shoulder position, I’ve been thinking too much about the block while blocking, and I just can’t get it. Like Yoda, Dolly told me yesterday to “don’t think, just do”. My natural inclination is to over think, because I’m afraid that if I don’t think I’ll wind up doing something in that bad-habit poor form I’ve been speaking so much about lately. It’s hard to know when to let go and when to think.

After practice yesterday I came home to the mini vanilla Moon Pie that I had saved from the Carolina bout sitting on the counter – begging me to eat it. It was then that it hit me: just like how the times tables eventually became automatic, so would this type of block – I just need daily repetition.

The coaches have told us before why we should practice certain things at home, and it’s not that I didn’t believe them. It’s more that I didn’t fully get it. Thanks to the Moon Pie, I got it.

Lessons learned today: agree to see an apartment before you move into it, repetition of a skill makes that skill automatic, and Moon Pies are a gift from the gods – a treat that is both delicious and smart!


ms. v said...

moon pies are called wagon wheels up here. :)

Anonymous said...

You need a new entry--Moon Pies make me barf ;)