Youth recaptured through football hurdle

You can recapture your youth by simply recalling a time in your life when you were your most athletically gifted and soared like an eagle in whatever endeavor you excelled at years earlier.

All you have to do is to focus on an event, one in which you were the center of attention, and recall it in as much detail as possible. Something takes place through your memory recall, your body chemistry,  that recaptures the feeling you had then — you re-live the emotions you experienced — and you can stretch out that feeling for as long as you can sustain it. You will become that energetic, gifted young person once again by simply envisioning your shining moment.*

My life’s highlight came when I  was 12 years old. I was a small, tough kid from a working class neighborhood. I played “sandlot” football and was picked to be one of the kick-off return players for a group of teens in a section of North Philadelphia called Brewerytown, a blue-collar mix of mostly Germans, Irish and Poles, with a growing minority of African-Americans.  My family was the only Greeks.

Kids from the more “affluent” adjoining neighborhood, Fairmount, had challenged us to a football game. The older guys decided to play it on the field near Lemon Hill, walking distance from the Philadelphia Art Museum made famous when Sylvester Stallone ran up the steps as “Rocky.”

I didn’t know it, but I was the youngest on either sides. I was also reckless, and had just begun to forge a reputation for having a “lot of heart,” and for being able to take a punch.” I could take pain without complaining, and never, ever “rat out a friend who played hooky from school, snuck in a downtown movie theater, or stole packs of cigarettes from the corner grocer when an order sent the owner  into the rear of the store and one need only to lean a certain way to snatch a pack or two from the nearby counter.

Two of  the “old heads,” the older teens among us, wore their high school football equipment, with shoulder pads, cleats, and padded running pants. One played for each side. The rest of us played in regular street clothes. Guess who were the only two that got injured that day? You got it. The uniformed guys.

I remember it was a brisk Fall afternoon. Leaves had just begun to fall and lay scattered on the grasslands of Fairmount Park, the largest park totally within a municipality in the world. Sun shined through the oak trees that lined the parkway and the streets veering away from the old Philadelphia waterworks and the colorful “Boat House Row” where Grace Kelly’s brother rose to fame. Yeah, that Grace Kelly, the movie star and latter-day princess of Morocco, whose brick-layer father was eventually honored by the re-naming of East River Drive along the Schuylkill River into “Kelly Drive.” The field where we played bordered Kelly Drive and was but four blocks away from the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, the oldest zoo in the country.

(See Part II at Shining Moment Sends Me Soaring High)

(*”Ageless Body, Timeless Mind,”  by Deepak Chopra, M.D. ” . . . conjure up in your mind’s eye one of the most wonderful moments of your childhood. . . a vivid scene of joy . . .[with] . . . you . . . the center of some activity . . .[I]ntensely physical experiences are the easiest to use . . . By rejoining the flow of one magical instant, you trigger a transformation in your body. Signals . . . are activated . . . by memories and visual images. The more vivid your participation, the closer you will come to duplicating the body chemistry of that youthful moment. (see pages 104-105)

One comment on “Youth recaptured through football hurdle

  1. […] more here: Youth recaptured through football hurdle « Contoveros Share and […]
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    This is the third time a Contoveros post has been “picked up” to highlight a commercial enterprise. Pretty cool, huh?

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