Both Flesh and, Somehow, Light

Going to professional hockey games as a young boy, I realized only later how different they looked on television. David Foster Wallace discusses a similar point in “Both Flesh and, Somehow, Light” (CUA Primer, page 13). He talks about what you can see in tennis matches only by watching tham live and about how watching the astounding abilities of some athletes seems to point to something beyond the merely physical world. What have you noticed about the difference between watching a particular sport on television and watching it live—or between watching it on television and participating in it yourself? Do you think that magnificent athletes point to something beyond the merely physical world?

Photo: “IMG_6418” (Roger Federer) by Marianne Bevis is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    It’s funny, but I actually can relate to tennis and looking up to Roger Federer myself. He truly is unbelievably magnificent at tennis. I started playing tennis, just for fun, a couple summers back and I realized that it’s not so easy–haha. It takes muscle, speed, accuracy, and most importantly, a heck of a lot of time to be good at tennis. Unfortunately, I never got to see Federer play, but I did get to see some other champions play. And David Foster Wallace is right. Seeing them excel in all of the different skills of tennis was like witnessing Jesus Christ himself. They defied physics and made the sport look so effortless! It almost felt surreal.

    But to talk about this from a religious perspective, seeing these athletes play their sport proves that Christ himself is possible of being real and alive. If Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, (all human, I’m sure) and many others can achieve such feats, then it makes sense Christ can be both divine and human, flesh and somehow light. Christ lives.

  2. Diego Amaya says:

    Magnificent athletes point to the many possibilities within ourselves and within the universe. They are a demonstration of the limitless potential of the otherwise seemingly limited human body.

  3. Mary Conroy says:

    I prefer watching sporting events live and in person while cheering along with the crowds. I remember my first hockey game in Madison Square Garden and thinking it was completely different from watching it from the couch. While watching live games, you can feel the excitement and tension between rivals in the atmosphere. At live games, I notice how talented the athletes are and how hard the must have worked to get their name and number on the back of their jersey. God gave them great skills and talents to showcase to the world. Peter 4:10 reads “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”. Whether our talents may be throwing a football forty yards, nursing the sick back to health, or speaking in an auditorium full of people, God created everyone with unique abilities and strengths that allow us to follow in Jesus’s footsteps and continue his work on Earth.

  4. Deanna Eichelberger says:

    I can definitely agree with the statement that these athletes are pointing to something beyond the physical world; the phrase “they make it look easier then it actually is…” truly exemplifies this. When you only watch a sport (whether it be on television or in person) you can never truly understand how much work is put into it and all the blood, sweat, and tears that are shed, so when I read this piece by David Foster Wallace I can definitely understand what he is saying about these athletes. To truly be exemplary in a field of work or a sport in this case you should not only understand what you are participating in but also be level with what you are doing and what effect it has on yourself. To truly be good at something you need to understand yourself which involves pushing pass the normal boundaries to succeed like Ali, Jordan, and Gretzky to almost seem inhuman to the watching eye. This not only helps you to be in touch physically but also spiritually with yourself, so these athletes can definitely be seen as “light.” In a whole one must participate in the activity being spoken of so they can truly comprehend who they are and what they are doing.

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