Thursday, June 28, 2012

It Only Takes a Year: My Big Racquetball Win

As you may know, I started playing racquetball in May of 2011:

My goals were three-fold:
  1. Get my beloved artist father to start working out.
  2. Improve my naturally less-than-stellar hand-eye coordination.
  3. Get my beloved artist father to start working out!
My dad used to be quite the athlete.  In high school and the years following, he did football, track & field, basketball...basically he liked sports, and the friendly competition + workout that sports provided.

About 10 years ago, he suffered (yet another) injury to his right hand while playing basketball with some of my high school buddies.  He wisely decided that as an artist, he couldn't afford any more broken fingers, and narrows his basketball focus to cheering for Gonzaga in college ball, and yelling at Kobe Bryant and any incompetent refs in the NBA.

I've been hoping for a chance to get him up and moving again for years, but wasn't sure how to make it happen without being a nagging daughter.  I don't want my dad to be Arnold or anything...just to be able to play with my kids someday.

When my husband started working at the SJCC on Mercer Island, I found out to my great delight that a membership to the J included access to their three indoor racqueball courts.

My dad used to be a racquetball champ, but hadn't played in a long while.  It didn't take long for me to form my scheme.  I called him up and asked if he wanted to teach me the rules of the game.

Thus began our weekly racquetball dates. 

My dad started with a handicap...which means he let me serve twice for every one serve of his.  I learned rules, etiquette, and how to swing the racquet (more like swatting a fly than hitting a baseball).

I told Dad that my goal was to beat him fair and square (none of this double-serve business) within a year.

We continued to play at least once a week as I slooooowwwwwlllllyyyy improved.  I have never been athletically inclined.  I played softball for three years and ran track...but only because I liked the people involved.  I was the kid drawing in the dirt at shortstop or wimping out on workouts.  I preferred things to come easily to me - and if they didn't, I'd quit and do something else. 

But I wanted to stick it out with dad and I have always had a great relationship, and he somehow made losing game after game a ton of fun.

He makes goofy voices and cheers for me whenever I get a good shot.  He appreciates all my cool dance moves when I'm celebrating one good serve, and we know all the same old-movie punch lines.  Plus, whenever my apparent lack of progress got me down, I'd still get excited for my dad!  His endurance continued to improve and he lost 18 pounds!

At the end of May 2012, we played two games in which I lost by a landslide.  I was feeling discouraged, and my dad gave me a great pep talk about how much better I really had gotten, and how winning isn't everything, and it CERTAINLY isn't the only measure of progress.

And then, somehow, we went back into the court for game three...and I beat my dad.

It was one year and a day since we'd started playing.  Since 2011 was a leap year, I say it counts.

What are your latest fitness achievements?  Have you ever had to work long and hard at something before you saw the payoff you wanted?  Did YOU draw in the dirt during Little League games?

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