A Throw is a Connection

Ray Evanoff

A throw traces intent through space, a traversal born of physics and topography in engagement with bodies, their movement, and the space they occupy. A throw is intimacy with an environment embodied through the traversing object, a ball or disc or thus-propelled item serving as medium for spatial imagining. Synergy with said item engenders a heightened perception of forces seen and obscured, factors such as terrain and trajectories and people and wind, that is otherwise unachievable or at least not likely to be developed without such promoting. This is a kind of magic, magic being defined as foreseeing the unmanifest and then willfully bringing it to fruition.

Disc golfer Paige Pierce, having studied the landscape, does not even need to see her desired arrival point to travel there.

Paige Pierce Ace.gif

Paul McBeth traces a path through and around the trees which enshroud his goal. In watching, we discover what he sees, in empathy with his eyes and imagination. We are able to view the landscape anew, its contours now laden with meaning.

Paul McBeth

A throw is a navigation through space that bonds us to it.

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The beauty of the throw in cooperative sports is that it is a means for connecting persons. It is coordinated and co-created, through scheme, improvisation, or an alchemy of the two. Stephen Curry orchestrates his team’s offense by melding such structure and free-flow with acute vision and a knowledgeable trust of his teammates, who operate in kind. They look, listen, and respond to each other, birthing seamless scoring plays. “They play with unhinged joy, which spills off the screen,” apparent and palpable, their partnership given form through the movement of a ball. [1]

Golden State Warriors pass

A throw is a product of its participants and their environment that reciprocally defines them. It affirms or denies incipient pressures, a particulate capturing of waves. A throw concretizes the thrower’s knowledge, skill, and preparation. It makes these precursors visible, transfigured, their net effect revealed. A throw is where all that precedes it crosses the threshold from darkness to daylight.

Athletes must balance adherence to play structure with a responsiveness to how events unfold. This requires that reality trump the hypothetical. When the two conflict, avoiding failure often comes down to players’ rapport. Familiarity allows Aaron Rodgers and James Jones to craft a way forward together when a play breaks down.

James Jones RouteJones breaks off the route that is planned upon seeing Rodgers scramble…

Rodgers to Jones TD.gif

…and Rodgers capitalizes on Jones’ keen reaction through his pinpoint accuracy. Each in turn rises to the challenge of the moment by acting in complement to the other. Together they create a way forward where there seemingly was none, through the vehicle of a throw.

A throw is a connection whose humble means belie its power to sublimate.

1. Jenkins, L., ‘Lebron’s Time’, Sports Illustrated, Volume 123 No. 22 (December 7, 2015), 31.