Running Left-Handed

November goals? What November goals? I was going to let them just quietly slip away, no mention of them again, but my friend actually asked me when I was going to post the results of one of them. And I can’t really talk about the one without at least briefly mentioning the other two now, can I?

Goal #1 was to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I wasn’t planning on really participating, not to the extent of dropping everything and writing 1,700 words a day; I was just using the occasion as a motivator to get me to open up my memoir and get back into it a little. And I did. A little. End of story. End of goal. For now.

Goal #2 had something to do with the Seven Minute Workout app. What I learned is this – I do not want to raise my heartbeat for seven minutes. It’s not worth the mental anguish. It’s easier to run for 90 minutes or play racquetball for 90 minutes than to do push ups and planks and squats for just seven minutes. End of goal. It only lasted for a few days, so I wouldn’t say it really ever got started.

Goal #3 was to tally the results of all of Jim’s and my racquetball games for the month. This was a super easy goal since we already play racquetball several times a week. Jim was the one who asked me when I was going to post the results, i.e., blog about them. Can you guess why he’s anxious to see the tally sheet?

We’ve been playing racquetball together for about three years now. I played a few times as a teenager when we finally got a health club in our little Wyoming town and then several times a week during college. The one and only court on campus was always booked up, so a friend and I would often meet and play at 10:00, 11:00, or midnight when there was sure to be no one there. I also played for several years in Denver, against a French woman, Jeanne Marie, while in my 20s. Before kids.

RBall Tally20 years later, I am playing again and it’s so much fun. Jim and I play at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. two or three times a week. We are a good match for each other (Jim’s always joking around that we’re playing “a buck a point” and I remind him that I have probably scored way more points, over the course of time, than he has) and I suppose that is why our racquetball run has lasted as long as it has. Okay, and also because we both show up on time. And because he doesn’t grouch when he gets beat by a girl and I don’t use the “I’m a girl, you’re a boy” excuse when he beats me. And for sure, too, because he doesn’t plow me over or whack me with his racquet when I get in his way, which is often.

About a year ago, Jim’s elbow was bothering him and he was having trouble playing more than a couple of games at a time. So we decided to try and play left-handed and give our right elbows and shoulders a break. In fact, we made it our New Year’s Resolution to play at least one game left-handed every time we got together to play.

Oh my gosh, it was horribly frustrating at first and so mentally taxing. Not only was it hard to hit the ball, to actually make our racquets come into contact with the ball, but when we did, we hardly had the strength or accuracy to get the ball back to the wall. And, though we’re right-handed, it was so hard to catch that little ball with our right hands. Our brains and bodies were just used to having our left hand do it. The most confusing thing was that we couldn’t run as fast with the racquet in our left hand. When I tried to move quickly, it would sound like stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp and I’d rarely get to the ball in time. Jim would laugh and I would mutter, “Stupid left-handed running.”

But we stuck with it. We kept saying, “We’ll be so happy when/if we get an injury and can’t ever play right-handed again because we’ll be pretty decent by then playing left-handed.” Eleven months later and, according to the tally sheet, at least ten left-handed games per month, and we really are pretty decent at playing left-handed. Not to mention this is the only New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever kept for an entire year.

The best thing about keeping the November Racquetball Tally was learning that we played 47 games in one month! That’s a lot of racquetball. I should probably be better than I am. Not shown on the tally sheet are all of the games we played on Saturday mornings when we always play with a group of friends, round-robin style or cutthroat or doubles.

Jim and I both agree that we played harder, knowing that the wins and losses for the month were being tallied. So we’re going to keep a tally each month from now on.

I’m glad that one of my November goals was doable and fun and resulted in a positive change in my life!