Growing up in the eighties, there weren’t many opportunities to learn a sport by way of private/organized classes. Whatever little sports I was exposed to was in the school I went to. And, my school, concentrated mainly on hockey, cricket, basketball and throw ball. For some strange reason, I seldom took interest in any of these. It could probably be attributed to my poor hand-eye coordination, which is surely of importance in ball games. I distinctly remember trying my hand at throw ball. And each time the ball was swung from across the net, aimed clearly at me, I would freeze on the spot. Nor was I great at basketball. From dribbling to going for the basket, the ball would fail to stay in my hands. I was never the sporting kinds….and have remained that way… for years…..
We fancy different things at various stages of our life, don’t we?
With the man of the house being out for long spells, I decided to give sports another shot in my life. And this time, it is the high intensity game of Squash. Living in a cantonment I surely have an advantage, with the best of facilities available to pursue sports and games of various kinds. With a squash court close by home, I picked up the racquet for the first time in my life. I had no idea what the game was all about. But keen on finding new ways to be physically active, I decided to challenge myself.
Facing the challenge
The first day was terrible. I had no sense from which direction the ball would come from. Nor was I able to deliver powerful shots. It was a pathetic game, which left me feeling miserable and sweating profusely!!! And to make matters worse, by the end of the day, my body felt sore. My arms ached and I could seldom move my legs. Was it really a great decision to pick up a high intensity sport, in adulthood? Was I straining myself? Is it really too late to learn Squash? I wasn’t sure… but something deep within me kept saying I must continue.
Energy and happiness
I dragged myself to the court the next day. The soreness in the body still persisted. I wasn’t quite confident of being able to deliver even a single shot. However, to my surprise, it happened, and all too suddenly. It seemed like magic, as I managed to deliver a couple of shots. There was a feeling of euphoria, of having achieved something. It wasn’t that I had overnight become great at the game; but the feeling of having challenged myself, despite all the soreness, was simply unexplainable. Surely, it is not too late to try a new sport.
But watch out!
There is a risk in learning a sport later in life
There’s no denying, there is the risk of torn ligaments, muscle pulls, fractures and other woes. Our bodies aren’t all that agile, after all. I realized it is crucial to pace out the game, in order to avoid any strain or injury. It pays to take time to get good at a new sport.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a strenuous activity. A sport allows you the opportunity to push yourself to the limit- both physically and mentally. However, it makes sense to set achievable limits. The amount of energy you want to exert in any sport is totally up to you. With this wisdom sinking in, I slowly began to just relax, enjoy myself and have some fun in the court. Any sport requires a lot of practice and determination when first starting out. There are going to be times during the initial learning phase that would be characterized by frustrations, of just not being able to do it. But with a certain level of commitment and perseverance, progress may well be seen.
I have decided not to give up. Surely I may become no Olympic level player, but at least the benefits it may bring into my life, physically and mentally, would be priceless.