Thesis Part 8
Team Gustav’s new outlook was a straightforward enough philosophy, and one borne out of necessity. How best to visualize a game board that exists only in you and your opponent’s mind, and to be able to remember where precisely each piece was at the start of one’s turn, especially over the course of a long bike race?
Their solution to this particular hurdle was to engage in a mental exercise that was often just as strenuous as the bicycle race they were speeding though. At the start of each turn, instead of trying to remember the board at its present state of play, each player would return in their mind to the beginning of the game and “replay” each successive move until one reaches the present round.
As the reader can imagine, this act of memorization and imagination had an adverse effect on the pace of the chess matches, with single games sometimes taking several days to conclude as the players traced each and every move over and over again from start to checkmate. However, like star baseball pitchers watching and rewatching film from their recent starts, Team Gustav began to see the game as a living creature–one capable of being bent to their purpose.
The constant replay of each game’s twists and turns revealed patterns in their opponent’s play, brought past mistakes to glaring light and more keenly focused their strategies. Chess became muscle memory.
It’s perhaps easy to see how this discipline can be applied to life in a larger capacity: if one accepts that every action in the present is based on a complex series of previous actions, turns of events, random moments and counter-reactions, an acute understanding of context is sure to follow. Those who look backward to decide how to move forward often see that every bad moment carries the seed of a good moment, and every good moment is born of previous tragedy. Wars, forest fires, knock knock jokes, family reunions, acts of charity, sandwich recipes, seductions, betrayals, first dates, oil spills, clerical errors, none of it can ever happen independent of anything else.
This broad view of the machinations of life proved invaluable to the team as they applied their new discipline to their personal lives. Being aware of the bald facts that live within one’s history are the best way to act with a clear head. Normally, we only pretend to know our pasts. We sting from hurts and cherish joys and try to act accordingly to bring forth more of the latter and less of the former, but we very often get their causes, durations, and true nature confused. Just as in chess, the obstacles to a richly-led life tend to be hidden behind misdirection and crossed purposes.
And so Spartan Pete, hoping to do nothing more than distract his team from their romantic disaffection, soon found that their collective despair had been melted down and recast into another emotion entirely. Within the complexity of their chess matches, a winning racing team had been born, but so had a philosophic movement.
A Note from the Proprietor:
Recently, more than a few trusted and concerned readers have offered us some friendly advice. They have reminded us that, much like an old man’s bowel movements, a serialized story works best when the forthcoming segment of said story can be expected in not only a timely manner, but with a scheduled regularity. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel, next week on LOST, and so forth. We here at Golden Circle HQ, otherwise engaged in the process of staying out of the hobo camps and Hoovervilles, sometimes get distracted from the drawing and the doodling and the dawdling required to belt out the next installment of our tale. We understand that delay plays havoc with dramatic gravitas and comic timing, and such havoc pains us. The Poet reminds us that the play’s the thing, and we intend to live by that oath, both on the page and in our day-to-day life: so, every two weeks? How does that sound? Set your sundials and we’ll see you later this month.