Anybody Else Need a Hand Slap?

No, I don’t mean a “you’ve been naughty” slap. Or a “stop that” slap. I’m talking about the practice of volleyball teams to slap hands with each other when a point doesn’t go their way. (Of course, nobody else finds it interesting, so I have no photo to go along with this.)

I have a hard time tearing myself away from Olympics coverage, which means I wind up seeing sports I’d never watched for any length of time before. I’ve been struck by how supportive volleyball teams are. After every point that goes their way, they huddle and clap each other on the back or shoulder. After points they lose, they make a point of going around to almost every player and slapping palms with them, as if saying, “alright, next one,” “we’re still good.” No matter what, they affirm that they are in it together.

It’s part of the rhythm of every point, with every team that I’ve seen.

Which makes me think about failure and disappointment in my life. I tend to make a big deal out of them. I stew about them for a while before I say anything, and when I do say something, I’m rather emotional (this may be an understatement). And then I mull it over afterwards. This takes a lot of time and way too much energy. Maybe that’s why the matter-of-fact hand slap looks so appealing: no emotion, no recrimination. Just an understanding that failure happens, it’ll happen to all of us, we have another chance to not fail in 30 seconds, meanwhile, I’m here for you.

I’m focusing here on those hundreds of little failures: anger and irritation flaming out, saying something that unintentionally hurts someone you care for, not doing something you say you’re going to do. I need to work on being more matter-of-fact about these. On giving myself or my loved ones the equivalent of a simple clap of palms together to acknowledge that this whatever didn’t work out the way we’d hoped, but we’re in it together, let’s get ready for the next thing.

There have been times I’ve done this well with the kids, when I’d send us all to our rooms without a big fuss when it was clear we weren’t working well together. But I didn’t do so well yesterday, when both my kids sprung sudden school activities on me that required outlays of money and time and which they’d never done before, so I let my irritation and anxiety get the better of me. Not horribly, and things will work out fine with both things, but I don’t like how I handled it. I need to give myself and the kids the hand slap and move on.

I might try to cultivate this for bigger things, too. As regular readers know, my family left our longtime church two months ago. It still makes me very emotional; I still cry during every church service we aren’t at our old church. It’s not a crime to cry in church, of course, but I’d like to stop being so actively sad so I can better get ready for the next thing. Because the next thing is upon me. We start at a new church soon, my husband in an official capacity, and I don’t want to give the new people the impression that I’m not happy to be there — because I am glad to be there, I’m still just sad about the other.

Do I need to work on the volleyball hand slap approach? Or is that impossible while I’m still grieving the place I left?

Let me throw in another analogy, just to keep things interesting. In my favorite summer TV show (other than the Olympics), So You Think You Can Dance, dancers are put in partnerships that last about half the season (unless one of them leaves the show and partnerships get shuffled). Some of those pairings have amazing chemistry from the beginning, some pairs have to work up to it. But then, when they reach the top 10, partnerships get switched every week, and every week they have to do their best with someone new. The winners are those who can make any partnership, any style of dance look good.

I had great and immediate chemistry with my prior church partner, but I can’t be with them anymore. I have a new partner. It isn’t the same as the old one, but it’s got its own style. It’ll do some things better, other things not as well. I need to give myself fully to this partnership, learn its strengths, and do everything I can to make this successful, which, in my terms, means that I serve God’s people and bring glory to God’s kingdom.

We’ll see on Sunday whether I managed to analogize myself out of crying.




SYTCD: Performance Show 3

I love So You Think You Can Dance. The dancers are young and at the top of their game. They show every style of dance. It is wonderful and inspiring! And because I have a blog in which I write about things I think are wonderful, I can indulge my passion for the show and my many opinions about the dancers and dancing. If this isn’t your thing, I’ll catch you next time.

George and Tiffany: That was some great, precise, fast hip hop. I was impressed with how they did, although those outfits didn’t do them any favors — way too heavy with the cutesy. Their moves had more toughness than their costumes gave the impression of. And I remember how great Christina Applegate was as a judge last year; love her suggestion to make the slow moves “soupier.” She was right on.

Brandon and Amber: This is one of the new partnerships after last week’s eliminations, and I’m looking forward to it. Brandon is a better partner for Amber than Nick was. She looked so much physically stronger than Nick, but Brandon is big enough to make her look little and delicate. Amber was amazing. Her smile was so personal, not at all a big “I’m dancing on the stage and don’t I look pretty” smile. Her dancing was free and strong and gorgeous. It came from way inside. She way out-danced Brandon. He was fine, but this one was all about Amber. In that way, it kind of reminds me of several seasons ago, the dance Twitch and Katie did to “Mercy” — Katie did all the athletic and amazing stuff and Twitch mostly strutted around looking hot and lifting her now and then.

Darien and Janelle: It wasn’t a particularly sexy Latin dance, and it wasn’t technically great, but it was cute. I have a thing for men on this show who have eyes-only for their partner, and he looked at her like they were dancing for real. I’m worried that they’re in the bottom three, because these comments are worse than I would’ve expected (and the judges already know who’s in the bottom).

Cole and ¬†Lindsey: The first week, they did the best Paso Doble I’ve ever seen on this show. For the first time, the dance didn’t seem like a histrionic joke. However, their choreography didn’t do them any favors last week. Fingers crossed about them getting Mandy Moore this week. I didn’t get the “story,” but that was gorgeous, the two of them so strong with such long, beautiful legs. The lighting was the best ever, not distracting, helped us focus on the dancing. Cole is so explosive with his movement, and can be so light, just wonderful. Christina is right about the hair hiding her face too much. I really liked this one.

Will and Amelia: There really was something about Will in this number. I would never have thought to put him in a white suit, but he looked great in it. His movement worked well with it. I didn’t think Amelia’s quirk fit with this number. There wasn’t enough to connect with. But he did the “care for his partner” thing that I like so much.

Ryan Gosling, oops, I mean Matthew and Audrey: Oh no. I have a sense of foreboding. They are wearing the kiss of death matching red shiny costumes that Daniel and whatsername were stuck with the first week. Fingers crossed that these two pull it off and that Audrey can lose her “cute” for the salsa. Nope. No sex appeal. Great moves and tricks, but little connection with each other. The music was too grandiose for them.

Chehon and Witney (yes I spelled that correctly): I have high hopes for these two, especially if Chehon can finally release his ballet posture. I love me some Stacey Tookie. LOVED THIS. On a purely frivolous note, Chehon should always dance shirtless. But this had emotion and tenderness and passion and I loved it. Great combination of speed and slow. Crazy big opening lift. Insane for the move when he pushed her across the stage from behind. The two times she just put her head on his arm. It was all just perfect. It made me teary and gave me goosebumps. Best number of the night, and possibly of the season so far.

Cyrus and Eliana: Big hopes for this. The last time a real hip hop person and a ballet dancer did a Nappy Tabs routine, it was insanely good. This was really good; not as exhilarating as Twitch and Alex Wong, but so, so good. The charm of these two dancers was off the charts. And Eliana locked and isolated so well. Actually, Christina came up with the best word for this routine: sublime.

Nervous about the bottom three. This time, it contains people I really like, and people who danced really well tonight. I predict Amber and Brandon will go home. Their solos didn’t connect; they were too flaily (yes, I just made up that word, means “too much flailing about”).

And we get Alvin Ailey dancers. I am a happy woman. Although I am also a little shallow. The skirts these men are wearing look like the kind of skirts the women on this show often wear during the paso doble — reversible matador capes. This is a little distracting to me, but now that I’ve gotten that comment out of my system, maybe I can concentrate on the dance a little better. I’d call this, “histrionic androgyny.” It was physically demanding and cool, but I wasn’t feeling it.

I was right about both. At least Amber got to go out on such an amazingly high note.