Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » Too close for comfort


I played many sports but watch very little today. There are basically two reasons I watch little. One is that I have small kids that like to watch cartoons. The second is that I enjoy unwinding by reading. The current book is "Switch" by Dan and Chip Heath. I find it pretty good. I enjoyed their prior book "Made to Stick" more, but this book has some usual information and good examples.

When I was running the basketball courts back in junior high, I possessed hardly none of the skills needed to make a great player. I couldn't shoot worth a darn, never mastered dribbling, wasn't the tallest, and only had eyes in front of me.

I knew my skill set for the court was different and I utilized these skills to offset those I didn't have. I had speed and energy. Most of my buckets came from in the key and lay-ups from a fast break. Defense was different. The speed came as a huge asset for the team. I actually, more or less, invented what became known as "vocal defense." I am sure it has been around for a long time, but I hadn't learned it from someone else. I realized that shooting, even a lay-up, is difficult with a loud scream as you close in on the bucket. There was no foul. I didn’t reach-in. I simply ran down the guy with the ball who was usually on a fast break, got as close as possible, and screamed like high heaven in his ear when he got close to shooting. It wasn’t used all that often, but it was highly effective. Typically, the person would bounce the ball off his foot or completely miss the back board.

Speaking of Jerry Seinfeld. One of my favorite episodes is the one with guy that gets too close or creeps into personal space. Although most persons desire to be treated personably, it is important to know the social cues of human interaction.

Sometimes being too close causes others to make mistakes in dribbling, other times it makes conversation difficult. I think the same can be said for airing dirty laundry. There are the proper times for speaking about personal problems, but in front of a crowd, on a job interview, or on a first date is probably not one of them. There may be some things that are better left in the confessional or in the ears of a close friend or spouse. One thing I truly enjoy about the sacramental seal is that I ain’t going to tell the public my sins, and I know that the priest is under the seal so he ain’t telling a soul either!