Playing in the Zone

Overview

Our ancient ancestors believed that sports were a gift of the gods—that they were potent rituals, which, if performed correctly, would placate unseen powers, honor departed heroes, or improve the harvests. Today, sports still speak to deep yearnings, imaginings, and the irreducible need people feel to resonate with themselves and their world. But the hidden meaning, or "secret life," that lies at the heart of sports and gives them their force and magic goes largely unnoticed. The old baseball hand Wes Westrum ...
See more details below
Paperback (1 ED)
$16.24
BN.com price
(Save 14%)$18.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $5.90   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Our ancient ancestors believed that sports were a gift of the gods—that they were potent rituals, which, if performed correctly, would placate unseen powers, honor departed heroes, or improve the harvests. Today, sports still speak to deep yearnings, imaginings, and the irreducible need people feel to resonate with themselves and their world. But the hidden meaning, or "secret life," that lies at the heart of sports and gives them their force and magic goes largely unnoticed. The old baseball hand Wes Westrum once said, "Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand"—and the same could be said for sports in general.

In Playing in the Zone, Andrew Cooper explores this inner dimension of sports, drawing on mythology, the history of religion, his observations on popular culture, and a wonderful array of stories and anecdotes about the world's most accomplished athletes.

The author—a clinical psychologist and longtime Zen student—compares the intense focus of the mind that is often required in spiritual practice with the experience of "playing in the zone"—that quality of mind where the most remarkable athletic feats seem to occur effortlessly. He explores the "dark side" of sports, its brutality and violence, showing how it can also provide fertile ground for self-awareness and self-transformation. Particularly insightful is the author's discussion of how the heightened drama of sports offers a powerful vehicle for the expression of mythic imagery and symbols in popular culture.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As participants and spectators of sports, many of us are aware of those epiphanies in which a sporting activity or event seems to go beyond the basic play-by-play to a higher dimension or spiritual level. In these experiences, everything comes together in a flow, and the activity itself takes on a religious or mythic experience. Andrew Cooper's Playing in the Zone is a wonderful exploration of this secret life of sports.

"Without attempting to be systematic and comprehensive to its subject, Cooper's essay admiringly brings together many sources from psychology, religion, philosophy, and sports to investigate the higher attractions of sports for both those who play and those who watch. Sports is a sphere similar to myth, according to Cooper, in which meanings and connections are established between our everyday life and a deeper dimension where "the self is forgotten and experience is displayed in its primal power and pristine clarity."

"Playing in the Zone is most entertaining in bringing together descriptions offered by professional athletes such as Bill Russell, Billie Jean King, and Pelé of their playing experiences. But Cooper also synthesizes an astonishing array of psychological and historical research into the playing of sports, and successfully demonstrates that most criticism of sports is not aimed at the inner essence of sports but at the surrounding society of which it is part. Playing in the Zone goes a long way towards a deeper comprehension of the diverse meanings of sports, and hopefully will inspire more explorations into this under-researched dimension of our lives."—Michael Emerson, Independent Publisher

"A great book! Playing in the Zone is full of creative insights and unexpected discoveries, reminding us that athletics are spiritual as well as physical."—Bill Bradley, former U.S. senator and inductee in the Basketball Hall of Fame

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570621512
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 959,258
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Cooper, Ph.D., is a freelance writer and editor whose essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals. His pursuit of inner life has included more than twenty-five years of Buddhist meditation, long-time practice of the Chinese martial art of T'ai Chi, and in-depth study of the world's philosophies and religions. He lives in Oakland, California.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)