Monday, July 11, 2022

A Whole New Ball Game (MY Eng #55)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', 'darkest before dawn', 'empty vessels make the most noise', 'birds of a feather flock together', 'separate the wheat from the chaff', 'let sleeping dogs lie', 'open a can of worms', 'light at the end of the tunnel', 'trial and error', 'look before you leap', 'lightning in a bottle', 'on the same page', don't judge a book its cover', 'reinvent the wheel', 'shifting gears', 'throwing in the towel', 'jump on the bandwagon', 'passing the buck', 'breaking the ice', 'cracking the code', 'when it rains it pours', 'bigger fish to fry'm 'ball is in your court', 'back to the drawing board', 'square peg in a round hole' and 'don't rock the boat'.

I remember the time, decades ago, back in school, when I suffered a horrific leg injury during a friendly football match in the neighbourhood. Playing on the wings, a long ball from the opposition side flew above my head.

Eyes firmly on the distant black spot in the sky, I followed the trajectory of the ball with a trot. Simple task, really. The ball hit the ground close to the sidelines, so I just positioned myself to shield the ball.

WHAM! Suddenly, someone tackled me from behind, in a desperate lunge to retrieve the ball that had already gone out oa play. I tumbled onto the grass, rolled a bit, and fell into a drain...

The next five months, I was out of the game. Nursing a large open wound on my knee with lacerated scars on both legs. I was never the same player as before. I could no longer sprint down the sidelines from end to end, cutting into the middle of the midfield, and play all over the field. I had lost my pace, and more importantly, the fear of picking up another horrendous injury curbed my free-flow play. I turned into a more defensive player, either as wingback or a holding centre midfielder.

* * *

Anyway, that sounded like a long tedious preview to non-footballing fans, I'm sure. Point is, we've all had our share of life-changing moments, whether in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. Every once in a while, we're thrown into a whole ball game altogether.

Well, I'm not totally starting off afresh, of course. Change has been in the air, for some time. My life didn't change overnight. I wasn't physically incapacitated.

Still, metaphorically, I felt that I was pushed to the brink of a yawning abyss. My mind was in a dark, dark place. I struggled to find motivation. A hard reset was needed, to keep my body, mind and soul afresh.

And so, I made a bold play. To shift gears. And get back into the groove...

* * *

So far, so good. The transition hasn't been tough. I'm slowly easing back into my old form.

But of course, bigger battles (and longer nights) lie ahead. I haven't quite been thrown to the deep end just yet. Things will get tougher before they get easier.

Still, the change has been good. The game may have evolved since the last time I played, many moons ago. But somehow, feels like I've never quite the left pitch...


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