I had a thought last week. I was going to call that thought a profound insight, or possibly an epiphany, but in fear of being labeled a misguided mystic or possibly a wanker, it is better I say I had a thought.
There were two things that contributed to my thought last week: first, the East Coast of Tasmania was going off, and I couldn’t go. Second, I scored a goal playing soccer.
The photos of the surf last week looked epic. Sunny skies, light offshores, and an overhead swell from a good direction. I checked it on the inter-webs after watching my beloved Socceroos go down, but go down beautifully, to a panicked Chile in the World Cup.
It was a beautiful defeat. And as I watched my second favorite team, Gil Azzuri, play with such sublime majesty, it became clear to me that my two favorite pastimes share something in common.
There’s a certain something in both surfing and in soccer – something that can only come after a long build up. Without the build up, it would not be what it is. Nothing beats the feeling of scoring a goal in soccer after a patient build up or the catching of a wave that ultimately ends in the tube after patiently waiting on the outside for that perfect set wave.
The lead up to a goal in soccer requires several thousand, possibly millions, of factors to align. Each goal has had a multitude of small incidentals mixing within its being. Every member of the team has to born, and the opposition too. They must be raised in just the right circumstances give them the talent they need. Every step of their life must ultimately have been towards the place they are now: people die, people get sick, people train, people lose lovers, people gain lovers, children are born, children are not, the earth revolves, the clouds form, the grass grows, the wind drops, the ball flies, it lands and the player has an opportunity to strike. And at the pointy end of everything, a singularity is reached. A goal.
Compare this to what we know in our watery world. Each barrel, over lifetimes or even generations has also had a multitude of these small incidents mixing together. Everything: your birth, your experience and training, whether or not you played football today, the wind blowing just right, the petrol in your car from some ancient forest a million years ago… it all got you to a point, where the wind now blows from the right direction at the right time and that lump of energy that has traveled for untold miles unleashes itself in just the right place. You have a chance to accept this and be embraced by the wave in its beautiful throes of finality. A different type of singularity to the football goal, from a million different circumstances, but you have to be there to be one with it. And so you ride the barrel.