Sunday, November 27, 2011

one on one

Well today is tennis doubles day again . . . but with a twist.

Today I’m the number one ranked player on court number one.

Yikes!

There are six courts, so if you do the math that means I’m sitting on top of 23 other guys . . . and yes, that does not sound right, but you know what I mean.

So what did I do differently last week to land me in this prestigious position this week?

Three things.

First, I had new strings in my old racket and that helped. Those old fifteen-year-old strings just weren’t cutting it anymore.

Second, I’ve been consistently going to tennis aerobics for weeks and working on all of my strokes. Repetition is one of the keys to tennis success - just ask Monica Sales.

Third, the use of drugs . . . namely Ibuprofen. Yup, when my body does not feel the aches and pains of old age I move much better on the court.

What all this did was add up to me moving much more quickly and smoking shots on court last week and coming out on top this week.

Hard to say what today will bring as I’m not nearly as consistent as I was twenty five years ago, but like Sampras said (paraphrased) before playing Raonic this past week, “I’ll do my best, but I’m not that young anymore.”

Well enough with the tennis.

I’ve been invited back into the hallowed halls of formal education to talk to kids about writing . . . and I’m feeling the guilt.

Oh, I’ve been dabbling lately, but nothing like the writing output of my past. Like I’ve mentioned before that my high-stress, high-irritation lifestyle has ended and the need to vent has greatly reduced my written output.

Still, I’ve had past success and still come up with a short story or two, and hence the invite.

I’ll be heading into a grade 8 class to read them one of my stories, then talk to them about what it’s like to wordsmith and try for publication.

Not sure of the exact timing on this one, but it should be fun. I’ll have to pick one of my less graphic horror stories to share, but I’m looking forward to it.

Well, that’s about it for this week. Time to pop some pills and get ready for the big match . . . well, big in my head anyhow.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, November 20, 2011

back and back again

So I’ve been playing Left 4 Dead with a friend, trying desperately to complete the very last mission “The Sacrifice” and it’s been hell.

Also, my back is acting up crimping my tennis game.

On the game front, we finally managed to complete “The Sacrifice” once, after about six tries.

We switched characters to so my friend could get the same achievements I got . . . and you are rolling your eyes and wondering “WTF are you babbling about” . . .

Okay, enough with the games.

My back, never the pillar supporting the earth at the best of times, has been causing me issues the last several days.

I hurt it but good twice in my youth. Once doing drills for badminton (I was on the University team) and once previously playing - you guessed it - tennis.

And now that I’m not so young anymore those old war wounds creep into my life every now and then to remind me that I was not a kind and gentle person to my frame as a young man.

Ibuprofen takes the edge off, but does not make it go away.

Probably intense physiotherapy and an operation would cure it, but who has time or money for that kind of help?

No, it’s better for me to live through the agony and, as it’s done in the past, it will eventually tone down and mostly just go away.

At least that’s my hope.

As well the osteoarthritis I have in my mid-back and neck don’t add to the enjoyment of sports much either, but that is a separate issue and mostly doesn’t bother me.

Have I ever mentioned that getting old SUCKS! . . . I know, I’m a broken record . . . if records have bad backs and osteoarthritis, that is.

So I’ll stop the moaning now and get on with how my old rackets are performing. The Max 200G is still tops in my book and both of them now how new strings which is making a big difference.

I played two weeks ago with one of them and the strings, I kid you not, were like fifteen years old. I played like crap. It was no wonder. I felt like I was hitting balls with a fish net instead of a strings.

Anyhow, they are all better now.

Now, if only my back could be repaired as easily . . . oops! - moaning again. Stopping. Now.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

winterizing

Hate to say it, or think it, but I’ve been winterizing the past week.

The yard is cleared of dead leaves - mostly mulched - and both cars have their winter treads on. I even dragged my snow shovel out from under the rubble heap I call a garage which was cleared to allow a car to fit in it. A novel idea I know.

I’m all set for snow - not that I’m looking forward to it.

Still, with the change of weather this means an end to lawn mowing for at least four months.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate mowing lawns? . . .

Thought I would share two comments the head tennis pro at my club said about my game last week.

Number one comment - “If I had you backhand I would still be on the tour” - like, okay then, maybe my backhand is not as bad as I thought. He is not the only one to make this comment to me.

Number two comment - you hit the ball harder than anyone else at this club - um, okay then. When I’m in my groove and connect with the ball well I tend to generate a whole whack of power.

You see, once upon a time I was really good and even today I can still bring forth a glimmer of past glory.

But I really do need to try and not play like I’m twenty anymore. That will lead to injury, and at my advanced age, I don’t want or need that.

So, the plan . . .

Yah, you knew there was going to be a plan.

. . . learn to take some pace off the ball and generate more topspin. The same head pro said to practice using some of the power I generate on my flat ground strokes to create more topspin and less blistering speed.

Hmm, hard for me to wrap my stubborn head around this concept as I’m pretty stuck in my old playing ways.

Still, what he says has great merit and I really should heed him before I pull or strain something beyond repair.

So, I will give his advice a go and see what comes of it.

It’s going to be a bit hard for me to tone it down a notch, but this old dog needs to learn these new tricks before I ruin what’s left of my body.

And I’m starting the plan this very day during my doubles match.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, November 06, 2011

mulch or bag

It’s that season again here when our yard takes on the appearance of burnt orange and dull red.

Yup, our three large maple trees have spewed their load across our lawn and I have the option of bagging or mulching those thousands of brightly coloured decaying leaves.

I prefer to mulch since all the nutrition that got sucked from the soil can go right back in again for next year’s leaves. Then again, bagging is a way more fun activity for the family, and today’s weather is going to be divine for that activity.

Not sure if mulching is the best thing to do since we have some recurring fungus on our maples that produces black spots on the leaves. Seems that mulching the leaves just keeps the fungus close to the trees and the cycle repeats itself all over again which it has done for the past six years.

Well, I don’t need to decide right this minute as I have a match of tennis doubles first in a few hours.

And speaking of tennis, I popped two strings on my old racket yesterday at the same time while pounding an overhead.

I may have to use my backup racket today if my main one isn’t strung in time.

The sad thing is, I’m on the top court today with the top players and I’m going to be using my backup racket. Not ideal.

And speaking of computer games . . .

Okay, I was thinking of them, not speaking of the, . . . still . . .

Been playing Left 4 Dead the past week or so and I must say it’s pretty intense and loads of zombie blasting fun. It’s even more fun when you play online with a friend, which I’ve also been doing.

The sucky part is the fact that the achievements on Steam seem to be broken. I’ve completed quite a few of them and not gotten credit for them. A quick check on the intertubes had me finding that I’m not the only one.

Oh well, the game itself works fine, but it would be nice to see the achievements racking up as I make them.

Oh, a solution just occurred to me. I can bag some, and mulch some.

I’m going to enjoy this day. I find autumn the most awesome time of year.

Until next Sunday . . .