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.
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.