Immunity on the Basketball Court
I want to thank our Board President, Ilana Erez, for forwarding a recent KE blog to her adult children who are parents of young ones. Not Just Lip Service (July 4th blog) struck a chord with many of you who shared stories of what you were told you licked or mouthed (or ate) as infants and toddlers. Ilana’s son Adam added the following:
“I read also that evolutionary biologists think that the oral thing in kids is also to help build their immune system by ingesting bacteria.”
I don’t know if I can subscribe to either biologist’s points of view (see the previous blog)—though I caught myself this morning pre-chewing some food before giving it to Eva and Isabel to eat. In that one act I was immunizing them and being a precursor to what they most assuredly will learn and enjoy—kissing on the lips.
A link between these divergent biological explanations is that if we isolate ourselves we may think we will be more “immune” but the opposite is true. Kissing, touching, and sharing food are all fraught with danger but they also strengthen our immunities. As with anything in life, balance is a key. Balance needs to be present for immunity to grow and not be overwhelmed by bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens. Imbalance can also occur in turning the immune regulation system against the body, as we increasingly see in the proliferation of auto immune disorders.
I have been playing basketball (regularly) for about a month, slowly regaining lung capacity and the needed body movement to have the feel of the court back in my bones and sinew. There is plenty of opportunity to build immunities as basketball is a contact sport.
My routine on Sundays is to play from 9-10 a.m. and then get back home for mid-morning care and feeding of Eva and Isabel. As fate would have it, this past Sunday at 10:10, the ‘final’ game ended and the losing team (mine) said—let’s run one more. We had lost badly, so one more game might allow for some vindication. As I headed for a drink I said, “I have to leave” prompted a chorus of, “You’re number eight, stay for one more.” I was a bit shocked by what came out of my mouth next: I told them I have two babies to feed and I couldn’t let them down. Some men didn’t see the math—two babies versus seven men—but then the clincher was a final comment sent my way: “They (babies) won’t know the difference, (we do).”
There are some bacteria that are most helpful. I know that in the past I would have caved into the pressure of that moment and my own desire to play one more game and I could have easily been the one to say to someone else, stay for one more game.
I thank that man for adding, “They won’t know the difference.” The voice in my head retorted, “But I will.” Saying yes is often predicated best on learning to say no. Kabbalah study has helped me to find a better balance between saying yes and saying no—between unbounded love and focused love.
I left the court, turned my back on seven disappointed basketball players and went home, my immunities strengthened, to share some pre-chewed food and kisses with Eva and Isabel.
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