Irene has been playing a little pickleball these days, this after almost a total absence of a year. She seems, to AJ’s eyes, to be playing perhaps as well as she ever has, which is remarkably well when she’s on. She is a very steady player and big fun to watch, being pretty darn graceful and so on. (These being AJ’s words, she hastens to add, being far too modest to say those things about herself.)
None of this would matter if it wasn’t for the obvious fact that she is enjoying play a lot more than in recent years. She isn’t judging herself, and frankly (my dear Scarlett) she doesn’t give a damn if she makes or doesn’t make a given shot, not does it matter if she “lets a partner down” one game, in her word.
This is a phase we all seem to go through as we get a bit older. With only a few exceptions people can’t keep up with the rigors of tournament play forever. It seems that the late 60s often trigger that change. Initially we can feel badly about having to give it up. But like other things in our lives that we learn to accommodate, we can learn to live with that. And there are benefits to it, as well. For instance, not playing tournaments means not having to deal with that level of performance anxiety. Nor do we have to alternate between freezing on the bench to overheating on the courts and over and over. Then we don’t have to worry about our levels….can we keep up with the 4.5’s? How do we rate on the shootout ladder? When playing only recreationally, who cares? Lastly when you are playing recreationally you can set up the matches you want and not have to hassle with how you are rated. All in all, it’s probably a good thing to take at least an occasional break from winter tournament pickleball.
Just a few random thoughts about a subject that’s getting more attention from the geezer jock set. Thanks for reading!