In brief 🩲
- Journal: Stretched to the limit
- Practical: The shape of the task at hand
- Read: Effortless production from bed
From the journal 📖
Our high school hockey coach, whom we called “Hang”, used to measure and log how far past our toes we could reach from a sitting position. Hang used a wooden block with a ruler set into the top of it. We had to rest our heels against the block, reach forward with straight legs, and then Hang would record the value we reached.
Kris, our goal keeper, had to pull the splits in the heat of the match to save goals. He had the max score: +12 centimetres. For the laggards who couldn’t touch their toes, Hang would pull out an additional ruler to measure how far we were from our toes in negative centimetres. Henry, a star player who had been in a bike accident which affected one of his legs, could only manage -17 centimetres.
I was a -3. My teenage self just accepted that this was a non-negotiable limit, a cut-and-dried assertion of inflexibility. And I held on to that assumption for 25 years.
I’ve recently thrown out that old assumption and I’m working towards achieving the splits, so I can throw the high taekwondo kicks more effectively. I mentioned this to my friend Terri, who was impressed.
“You must demonstrate your splits for me sometime!” Terri wrote to me.
“To be clear: my splits are nothing worth bragging about just yet,” I wrote back. “They’re really just a lazy V.” Perhaps 120 degrees, max.
I am making some progress in the forward direction, with the hamstrings. If I were to measure on Hang’s system now, I’d be about a +2. But extending the legs sideways into the splits position is another story. It’s not something I’ve ever really asked of my body.