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21                                Enjoying Ball Games

One of the great pleasures of sports is to open one's shoulders and give the ball a great whack. Even if one miss-hits, the swing may feel good, but the true joy comes from connecting with the "sweet spot". Then all the power of the swing gets into the ball, and it flies away to who knows where. Where it heads to, of course, also counts but the satisfaction of connecting well is a treat even if the ball goes wide of the intended mark. The stroke you intended is exactly matched by the stroke you made.

(Compare with a craftsman at work.)


22                                Long Pass in Football

For a player, connecting with the "sweet spot" is a unique moment, but what about a spectator? Especially, what about the moment when a long pass is in the air and the receiver is maneuvering in the far-field to receive it? For everyone watching, it is a tense moment --- and then tchuk! ... the ball tucks into the receiver's hands and body like a foot into a shoe. Without question, many people are pleased; the point here is to ask, Is this the same pleasure as when the answer to a problem flies into its allotted place, or a musical note comes in exactly on cue? One's brain is in general economical: if a new task needs doing, to do it with equipment that already exists is the common course. Hence one can expect that the brain will use the same pleasure-mechanism in all three situations. If it does, surely this all-purpose responder is worth understanding, or at least giving some attention to, in addition to the separate scraps of math or music or football that activate it --- don't you think so?



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