I am usually a morning person. However, I was having one of those days where I sunk so far down into my mattress that there seemed to be no chance of getting out. I turned off my alarm and without fail the anxiety of missing a workout continuously crept up in my mind; I knew there was no chance of falling back into that peaceful coma. Somehow I forced my relentless, zombie-like body out of bed and arrived at my spin studio in time for the 6 am class.
I wasn’t fully awake but the instructor insisted (as usual) to keep our legs moving to the rhythm of the song. Don’t. slow. down. This got me thinking more than usual at this hour. What if you are one of those people who never took a music class or just don’t have natural rhythm? Do you awkwardly try to keep a beat, steer clear of the class altogether…
This brought me to my next thought (surprising for it was now 6:15 in the morning). I have heard many stories about NFL players taking dance classes to improve agility, but I started to wonder if it was more about improving their rhythm and timing. A quarterback will throw an interception if he holds the ball for a millisecond too long. A basketball player will lose possession if there isn’t an eye on the shot clock. A soccer player will be offsides from a poorly timed run. A hockey player won’t be able to slot the puck between defenders with lethargic skating.
Sports are completely about rhythm. Time your run. Time when you pick up your head to find a teammate. Time when you pass the ball. Time your steps correctly so you make the tackle. Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm…
Was it the fact that my parents were both music majors that contributed to my success in soccer? Was that a larger factor in my career than their athletic genes? Was it the endless piano lessons where I played pieces to the metronome that engrained the rhythm in my head to allow me to find those slotting passes on the field, time my runs correctly, and know the moment to shoot because I understood the timing of the goalkeeper? Or does it relate to intelligence? Do all those extra “classroom hours” athletes put in each and every day out on the field sharpen a different part of our brain?
My college coach always told me that there were artists and soldiers on the field. He described me as an artist because I could envision the field, the runs, the patterns (the rhythm)…much like a quarterback. On another note, the soldiers are the players who are always running, always fighting to make sure their team is in possession of the ball. Both are needed for the success of the team, but both are drastically different. Maybe the artists in their respective sports are those with the musical background, those who grew up with an understanding of the rhythm of the game. Or does every player need a little musical education in their life?
…Deep thinking for 6 am in the morning.