In the Zone

“When the Zone calls, you must listen.
You never know how long being in the Zone lasts.
It is a cardinal rule – you must take advantage of every second that you are in the Zone.” ― JohnA Passaro

Joe La Torre in the Zone

While playing pétanque a little while ago, something peculiar happened to me. I suddenly strongly felt that I was “in the Zone”. It might have happened to me before but I was never really aware of it. This time I was.

“In positive psychology, flow, also known as the Zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. … Achieving flow is often colloquially referred to as being in the Zone.”

I was at the plate ready to shoot. I threw the ball as usual, but this time it felt different. My arm and my body responded exactly as asked. The pitch felt inspired, smooth and powerful.

Usually, the second the boule leaves your hand you know if you pitched correctly. You know before the boule hits the ground if you are going to hit or miss.

When you are in the Zone, everything feels right. You are almost witnessing a slow-motion sequence of your move. Your mind is locked on the target and all your limbs perform exactly as directed. You cannot miss.

Your sojourn in Heaven is fleeting, but while it lasts it feels fantastic. I remember thinking, why couldn’t I always play like this?

But it is difficult. The body does not always perform as directed by the mind. I would almost say that the body has a mind of its own and often does as it pleases.

The secret is to keep both body and mind on a very tight leash because almost anything can break your concentration. When playing (especially shooting) you should almost be in a trance-like state… with the total absence of any external stimuli…

But finding your way to Zion is difficult. You keep trying and failing… you never know when it is going to happen. But when it does, even for a few minutes, you feel like Superman. You want to remain there forever… but the Gods of pétanque are capricious. One moment they favor you and next they discard you like a one-night stand.

Entering the Zone is like falling in love. And it is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all.

Alain

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