The tale of an epic battle between the incumbent champion and the untested underdog. Good versus evil. Right versus
Actually, the story is not nearly as exciting as I made it out to be. I went to the rec center again on Saturday and played racquetball by myself. Years ago, I played in college enough to get pretty good. But, like I said, that was years ago. I played a bit on Monday, and my right arm was so sore (I am right-handed) that I thought I would try using my left arm a bit on Wednesday. I discovered I was almost just as good with my left as I was with my right. Neither was very impressive.
While there on Saturday, I asked a couple college-aged kids waiting outside the next court if one wanted to join me while they waited for their friends. They replied that they were about to start doubles, but they did have a question about the rules for me. As one asked the question, the other started arguing with him, and after standing there for a couple minutes while they argued, I turned and went back into my court alone.
After warming up a bit, I did some drills and then decided to play something of a game to make me run around more. I thought I would just include my text chain with my wife to give you the raw emotion of the situation.
Me: My right hand just beat my left hand in racquetball 11-7. It was a pretty good game though.
Wife: Hahaha! How does it feel to be the best?
Me: Pretty sweet. Also, it was an epic comeback. Left hand was up 7-0, before right hand came back to win.
Wife: [Gif of Gru shouting, “That’s right!]
10 minutes later
Me: Wow, another close one. Right hand 12-10.
Wife: Is the left-hand going to just lay down and take it?
Me: Good question. It came back and was up 10-8, but choked on the serve and right hand came back to win.
Me: The match is over now. The court was reserved at noon, so with two games to zero, right hand wins.
So, yeah. Pretty intense.
There was a funny thing that happened while I was playing. I was in the end court, so there was no one around me, and I felt quite safe in my solitude. I began calling things out, like I might if I was really playing with someone. It started with simple things, such as, “Side out” or “Long!” on the serve. But after a bit, I got more into it. A few times, following a particularly nice serve, I exclaimed, “Whoa! Buried it!”
I found that I was complimenting the play of the other player. I knew that was the case, because one time I did not speak to the other player. Instead, it was a bit of trash talk: “Ha! Take that!” For the most part though, I was able to separate myself enough that I could give myself encouragement and compliments. That is not my typical self-talk.
When I was younger, one of my favorite Pixar shorts was “Geri’s game.” I could not wait until I became an old man and could go to the park and play chess against myself. I am not quite sure if my experience means that I am an old man, or that I did not have to become an old man in order to play against myself. Either way, it felt good to get some sincere compliments for my playing.
This game made me realize how much self-talk matters. Positive self-talk is a skill, and a crucial one to maintain good mental health. I want to work toward the day when I don’t have to compliment the other player to say nice things to myself.
Update: I had a rematch