My friend Dave was a running back for the football team in high school. I don’t know his stats, but I remember he was pretty good. I also remember that one time when were watching a game film, a coach told Dave that he needed to “belly more” on the end run. I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but it had something to do with how he needed to get out and around the end before heading downfield. Whatever it meant, it earned Dave the nickname of “Bellymore” for a while. It sounds kind of like a British butler’s name, really.
That lasted until a particular game that didn’t go so well for Dave. In this game, he ended up losing three fumbles. “Bellymore” promptly became “Fumblemore,” which doesn’t have near as nice a ring to it. Because of that game, Dave was assigned the task of carrying a football around with him for a week. All day long at school there was Dave, carrying a football. It was supposed to make him more comfortable with the ball so he’d carry it more naturally. The rest of the team got an assignment, too. Any time we saw Dave, we were supposed to try to knock the ball out of his grasp.
I don’t know if any of that helped Dave at all, but I don’t remember him having to do that again. Aside from the discussion we could have about extracurricular activities intruding on Dave’s academic life, it got me thinking about what we hold on to and how we learn to do it.
Grudges seem to be a thing people hold on to for a long time. I’ve known people who have carried grudges for years, refusing to let go even if they haven’t seen the offending party in almost as many years. Usually someone holding on to a grudge is also holding on to bitterness as well.
Other people hold on to a good memory, something that stood out for them from whatever else was going on around them. We see this in movies all the time – someone is told to find their “happy place” and we get a flashback to when they got a puppy as a kid or had a vacation on a tropical island. It’s as if that puppy was the pinnacle of their life, and nothing else will ever match up to it.
In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Sybok offers to “take away” Captain Kirk’s pain. Captain Kirk gets downright belligerent and tells him, “No way! We need our pain, it makes us who we are, yada yada yada.” (That’s a paraphrase.) He makes a good point, but there are still many who would love to give up the pain of having to watch Star Trek V, I’ll warrant.
Others hold on to heartbreak, in some cases because the lost love was their whole life, in other cases because the heartbreak is all they have left to show, and in still other cases because it’s easier to hide in the heartbreak then to try again.
How did any of these people learn to hold on to any of these things? Pretty much the same way Dave learned to hold on to the football: they carry it with them daily. Pretty soon it doesn’t matter who comes along and tries to knock it away from them, they’ve gotten very comfortable with it and won’t be fumbling it away any time soon.
What do you hold on to particularly well? Anyone who knows me can pick mine out of this list pretty easily.