Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More Lord Carrington Than Jonah Barrington

I played my first game of squash in years yesterday. At my age and in my physical condition doctors the world over will be cradling their heads in tut-tut disapproval at the mere thought. And I was suckered into playing someone half my age who was something of a university champion and a mild celebrity to boot due to his sporting prowess and mind boggling success. What the hell was I thinking?

In truth I considered myself a bit handy when I was playing regularly during the early to mid nineties. A bit whippy with the forehand, a brutal firecracker of a serve, brave in the face of wild swinging racquets and impervious to the odd clout across the ear or head clatter into the back wall. But that was a long time ago. A long time before spidery bones in my foot that I'd never heard of had been broken and fussily fused with great fragility. Years before a ghostly fairground blubber-hoop thrower had encircled me around the waist. Aeons before a million heart attack terrors jolted from every hunger pang and muscle twitch-ache from the chest and the fearful worry that 'the end,' that we all heard about when we were young but either disbelieved, distrusted or didn't care about, had arrived.

I'm older now. Less flexible. Slower. More vulnerable. Crap. Well not really crap, just not very good. From fleet of foot, to clumping. From scampering to the wall to retrieve nearly dead balls, to theatrical sighs and depressed realisations that it would be me who was dead if I chased down too many seeming lost causes. From digging out inert balls from the corners and skittering to the 'T,' to becoming inert myself, exhausted, fagged out by a life time of fags, every little one paying me back, cashing in on half a lifetime of careless, couldn't give a shit lung ruination.

Don't play squash to get fit. Get fit to play squash. Or so they say. I'll write an account of the game, or games should I ever recover.

You're very brave. Badminton knackered me out about 15 years ago.

Two words of warning: Leonard Rossiter.
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