Journalism / Regular Stuff / The Forbidden Zone

Parable of the Athlete

“Thank you for seeing me today, doctor,” Mark said.

“Not a problem, Mr. Starkley,” Dr. Brewer lifted a page on Mark’s chart. “I saw the game yesterday. Quite a performance.”

“Well, you know, the camera adds 10 feet to every home run.”

“So what seems to be the problem? You look healthy. Tonight’s a big game. Don’t tell me you’ve got pregame nerves?”

Mark eyed the ground. “It’s not quite that, doc.” His athlete’s body made the examination table look tiny. “It’s just I got athlete’s block.”

“Athlete’s block,” Dr. Brewer said, looking over his sheet. “No prior history.”

“Just hit me.”

“It sure can do that. What are your symptoms?”

“I’m just not inspired to play tonight.”

“Mm.”

“I mean, I could go out there, but I know I’d just hit groundouts all night, you know?”

“Mm.”

“You think I got it?” Mark looked worried.

“Entirely possible,” the doctor said. “Athlete’s block comes up all the time, seemingly without cause. Not genetic, hormonal, seasonal, contagious. Nothing you can do about it. A very serious injury.”

“You think I should sit out tonight?”

“If you don’t think you can hit good hits, I’d say you’re on reserve for now. Only thing you can do is hope the inspiration comes back. Play when you feel like it.”

“Thanks, doc.”

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