Life Is All about the Lag · 3 September 2022

All of life is about the lag.

When you think about lag, you usually think of video games or video conferencing or even live video broadcasts. You think about the frustration of not getting that kill shot because your internet glitched at just the wrong time. Lag. Or you think about how the audio is behind the video in the video chat with your parents who are across the state or across the country or across the sea. Lag. Or you think about how your friends who are at the live televised sporting event saw some amazing feat milliseconds or maybe even seconds before you did. Lag. Even though it may seem like it at the time, that lag is not what all of life is about. That lag is not what I am talking about.

I have just come to the realization that lag is all important in life. I did so after years of admonishment from my wife, the Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi. She has told me time and again that I should savor my food and drink. She has said, “That bite could be three bites.” And yet, I have not listened. Until today. Today, I took what would have been a small bite for me and actually took three bites to savor the taste of that dessert. She was not even there, but she was right. In fact, the Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi has been right all along. I should savor my food and drink. I should let the taste linger. Mmm.

Well, that realization about food led me to another realization about lag. Several, actually.

Besides just taste, lag is important for the digestion too. I have known for a long time that if I eat what I believe is the correct amount of food and then wait for about twenty to thirty minutes, I can decide whether I really need more. In other words, my brain will not know that my stomach is full until there has been a significant lag.

Lag is important in other aspects of life too. Professionals tend to call it delayed gratification. You put in tons of work before you realize any benefit. Or at least before you realize a large portion of the benefits. It is like I wrote before. I would love to be an instant success now that I have put in lots of work. I would love that lag to finally catch up with me. But I am also happy just to realize that there is a lag called delayed gratification.

The last type of lag is probably not the most important, but it is a big part of who I am. The last type of lag is in athletics.

While it is true that there is the delayed gratification type of lag in athletics – put in that work up front and reap the rewards later – there is also a lag in the mechanics of athletics. The golf swing is probably the best example of lag that I can think of that many people can relate to.

Many people think that the golf swing is all about power, so they just try to swing harder. But that is not the key. The key is actually lag. The arms and hands and club all need to be aligned at the point of impact, but they will not really be aligned at the top of a proper swing. The key to getting the best possible swing speed is to wait for the club head to get to its farthest point along its path before trying to get it speeding back along its return path. To do that, you need to let your hands hang back a little bit at the top of the backswing before starting the downswing. You need a little bit of lag.

Photo courtesy of Fred Luke

That lag in the golf swing is important for throwing the javelin too. (Which is where I have been finding its application the most these days.) Fred, my coach and mentor and friend, has been trying to get me to have that lag as we have worked on the javelin. The hand that holds the javelin needs to lag behind the rest of the body to get the best possible throw. I am hoping to get there one of these days. I am hoping to get all the mechanics of the throw, especially the lag.

Lag is important whether we are talking about tasting or eating or life or athletics. Yes, we can get along without it. We can scarf down our food and drink without really tasting or enjoying our meals. We can eat our food too fast without realizing until later that we ate too much. We can give up just before we reach success because we were too worried about getting what we wanted right now. And we can hook or slice the golf ball or underthrow the javelin because we could not be patient in our athletic endeavor. It is amazing that I have come to realize all these things with a little bite that I turned into three. It is amazing that all of life can be enjoyed or enhanced with a little lag.

My many thanks go out to the Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, Fred, and all the others who have taught me through the years that lag is important. I wish that I had listened earlier. Because when it comes right down to it, lag may be the most important thing in all of life.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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