I discovered a new game, or at least, a new game to me. I’ve been exercising twice a week with a personal trainer—have to pay for the privilege because if I don’t, my best intentions never ever get me to the gym. One day, I see this notice—Pickleball, Tuesday and Fridays. Pickleball?
Wow, have I grown to love this fun, exhausting, fast moving game. It’s a combination of tennis, ping pong and badminton. Smaller court than tennis, an oversized ping pong paddle, and a lite plastic ball with a mind of its own like a badminton birdie.
One night, several months ago now, I played for almost two hours. My last two games: me and a college student (about 21?) against a woman (early 50’s?) and a guy (late 40’s?—who shall remain nameless). After the fast paced, challenging games we sat down to rest. I proudly patted myself on the back. After all, I’d recently turned—gotta be honest in a blog, right?—okay, so here goes . . . I’d recently turned . . . bite my tongue . . . 66! And I’d held my own, worked in sync with my partner, and hit a couple of really really good shots.
We talked for a little while before packing up to go home. And when I got up to leave the guy (who shall remain nameless) says to me, with a smile on his face—yes, absolutely a smile . . . a friendly smile, not with a smirk or anything.
Anyway, he says: “You’re an inspiration to us all.”
“Really?” I asked. “I sure don’t feel like an inspiration.” I smiled back. Well, I had hit some excellent shots. And we’d won one game. And I never missed a serve. I felt inspired.
Halfway home, it hits me. Whack. An inspiration? Ha! Like I’m OLD, yet still capable of playing Pickleball. Even with one foot in the grave?
Several weeks later, I asked the guy (who shall still remain nameless) about the incident. He, of course, did not intend to insult me in any way what-so-ever. I choose to believe him. In fact, we sort of bonded over the snafu, and I’ve reminded myself not to create sandcastles in my head that aren’t built yet. Grace, in The Oys & Joys, used to build sandcastles in her head all the time. But not anymore.