Posts Tagged With: sport

In Your Face

I took a racquet in the face once playing racquetball.

I’m really unclear about who was in the court with me at the time. And I’m even more unclear about who held the racquet that split the skin open above my lip.

It doesn’t matter actually.

Seems like I was going for a great shot and bam. Game over. It was like a wall popped up in front of me mid-swing. It felt way worse than a ball to the face, which I’d experienced often enough since we weren’t stellar players. I don’ remember pain as much as shock and confusion. Seems I wanted to keep playing until the other players pointed out I was bleeding and probably needed stitches.

I was mostly disappointed that we didn’t get to finish our game. And I didn’t get any stitches. The doc superglued the thing closed. It looked gross. For a week I looked like I had a perpetual little kid style runny nose.

I’d have preferred the stitches.

I don’t really notice the scar much. It’s fairly light and thin. Almost invisible, actually.

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We had a group of women that got together about three days a week. We’d play singles if only two showed up, or singles if there were two courts open and four of us. Cut-throat was my favorite for all the changing up that happens. Four of us piled in that tiny enclosed space got fairly rowdy. But we managed to get a good workout and have a bunch of fun no matter how many of us there were.

Yeah, we weren’t amazing players, but we weren’t all that shabby either. At least one of us would be “in the zone” on any given day. Occasionally we’d all hit our stride and balls would zing about for long volleys, amazing shots and incredible saves. Those rare days, when everything was working, made it tough to want to leave after only an hour of play. But if we stayed much longer, we’d be paying for it the rest of the day.

We had to know when to say enough. Sometimes the clock told us. Sometimes our sore muscles let us know we’d reached our limit. And sometimes, we just didn’t care and kept playing far too long and paid for it later. But we sure had us some great times bashing that ball around.

Racquetball lets loose a ton of pent-up aggravation, emotion, and insanity. We left the gym better women, better prepared for whatever the heck the day threw our way.

Sweat never felt or smelled so sweet as on racquetball playing days.

We welcomed any and all who wanted to join in our group. We met some great people that way. I’m afraid I scared off one friend, quite unintentionally. I must have hit her in the head about four times with some really poorly aimed shots. By the fourth hit she was done and never came back again. Not sure she’s ever forgiven me. I swear it was completely and totally just me playing badly. I couldn’t hit the same spot twice even if I was aiming for it. I’m hoping one day she’ll get a chance to ding me with a ball or maybe a few water balloons so she can feel like the score is even and we can move on. Or not.

So why do I bring all this up?

I LOVE playing racquetball!

And yet, my racquet’s acquired a few years of dust. That’s a huge loss.

Why’d I stop?

Schedules change, injuries and age take their toll, life demands new things of us, we have to give something up to make the puzzle pieces all fit.

Sometimes the best things, the most helpful, the happiest, end up being sacrificed for other good and helpful things. Good reasons don’t make it any easier though.

I look in the mirror sometimes and see that thin light scar above my lip. It feels like a participation medal, or better yet, a blue ribbon or a golden winner’s cup.

Maybe it needs to be a reminder of something I need again. No, not a racquet to the face. I need that hour of sweating. I need to hit something with everything I’ve got. I need the energy I get back from pushing myself hard.

Can I work that back into my life?

I have plenty of excuses, most of them having to do with body parts and pain. Maybe it’s time to ignore the shoulder devil and do it anyway.

After all, what could it hurt?

Well, I suppose it could hurt my face again.

But it would be worth it.

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Categories: Exercise, Fun, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Peeling Off the Layer of Years

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful for the bicycle I have. It was a gift  a year or two ago from a friend who was clearing out her possessions for an anticipated move overseas.  I’m sure she had no idea how much her gift would bless my life.

That bicycle has been one of my essential forms of transportation. Four drivers and sometimes only two cars has necessitated some juggling. Having the freedom to hop on my bike for a run to the library or the post office or to visit a friend has freed up my schedule and saved me hours and gas money and frustration.

The build of this particular bike lets me sit in such a way that my back doesn’t tire out and get sore, which I thought was simply one of the sacrifices bike riding required until I met this bike. Now I can ride for miles and still feel relatively young and agile in spite of the often harsh realities of my aging body.

Roger on Richland Avenue with Schwinn Bicycle

My first bicycle looked much like this one. It was a hand-me-down from my aunt. (Photo credit: roger4336)

There’s nothing else I know of that brings back the joys of childhood as readily as a bike ride. Such a sense of independence grabs hold of you when you throw your leg over the seat and set the wheels of a bike in motion. Feeling the wind blowing past peels off layers of years mentally and emotionally.

There’s the added bonus of being able to take off in the early light, helmet on, breezing through an exhilarating morning past some of my favorite sights and sounds. Getting my heart pumping and my lungs filled with fresh oxygen by pushing those pedals starts the day off with a burst of energy and joy. What a wonderful way for a day to begin.

I celebrate the bicycle every time I ride. In fact, I’m celebrating life as I ride, feeling youthful, free, energized, grateful. What joy!

Surely someone has created a worldwide holiday in honor of the humble, practical, fun-loving bicycle.

Categories: Exercise, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Hey, Batter Batter Swing! Tigers, Giants, Donkeys and Elephants

English: Line art drawing of a baseball field....

A baseball game. Four bases, nine players per team, an umpire and people watching on the sidelines.

  • The game that the pitcher sees is seen from the center of the four bases, facing toward home plate.
  • The game that the catcher sees is from behind home plate facing the pitcher.
  • The batter sees the game from beside home plate, at least while at bat. If he hits the ball his perspective will change rapidly, from base to base to base to home.
  • What the left fielder sees is not the same thing that the right fielder sees.
  • Short stop sees an angle similar to, but not exactly the same as the left fielder. And each base player has an angle unique to their position on the field.

And, sometimes, it seems, that the umpire is seeing an entirely different game altogether than everyone else.

And we’d be right to think so.

Because, he’s seeing the game from behind home plate, hunched over the catcher, with a batter on one side just ahead of him.  No one else in the stadium has that exact same view.

There’s also those observers of the game.  The game experience can be vastly different each time I attend. Sitting in front of a group of people who’ve had a few extra beers before ever arriving at the game, and then have steadily added to that amount as they’ve watched, will color my experience because I’ll get their unfiltered, fairly loud comments as a sort of spice to the game.  My team may lose, but I might walk away having had a hilariously entertaining time.  Or I could leave angry and agitated by the drunken fans.

And then there’s the kind of game.  A little league game is going to have a different feel and look than a small hometown high school rivalry game.  And the major league experience I have watching the Diamondbacks play in downtown Phoenix with the Chase Field roof closed, is going to vary significantly from watching the Colorado Rockies team playing at Coors Field during a rainstorm.

It’s all just baseball.  Isn’t it?

We’re talking innings, strikes, balls, outs, fly balls, runs, errors, home runs, mitts, bats, stealing, sliding, catching, throwing.  Basic baseball.

So many points of view.

And it’s just a game.

Here’s my question.  Okay, questions.  Who’s having the real baseball experience?  Which point of view is correct?  Is there a correct point of view? Can everyone be right?  Can every experience be valid? Is the pee wee game where everyone’s a winner just as “baseballesque” as the World Series?  Or is something in-between the two extremes the “real” baseball experience?

Am I just talking baseball here?

It feels bigger than that, but I haven’t figured it out yet. I don’t follow baseball.  I had to Google “world series” to see who was playing.  I think it’s more than baseball though. It feels like a political metaphor.  But I don’t talk politics.  I steer clear of controversy of all flavors. Any insight you have about why baseball is on my mind would be helpful.

I want all the answers, but I don’t think I can have them all.  I think I’m just one player in the game with most of my time spent on the bench, spitting out sunflower husks, making a mess of things.

I feel a little antsy hoping, worrying, watching.  There’s only so much I can do from my perspective out in the field or on the bench, or in the stands, or behind the plate.

Does it matter?

Sure it does.  To me.

And to everyone else.

What’s your perspective?

Categories: Politics?, Sports | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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