February 5th, 2002
I’ve been making references to racquetball since September (just search for racquetball on artlung.com). And I’m still enjoying it. I started playing every weekend, and now am playing basically twice a week – with family and friends. It’s a fast, fun game. It’s precisely the right game given that you are unaware of the exercise aspect of the game while you are doing it. Moreover, there’s strategy required in the same way as a game like pool. You choose your shots in ways that will bank and bounce away from your opponent. And even better, it’s all in 3 dimensions, rather than pool’s flat plane. It’s also an excellent twitch game. Like Quake or Unreal, the action can be very fast as the ball careens through the court.
I’ve never been a thin person, which has roots in genetics and dietary habits. However, in my early 20’s I was actually sort of happy with my physical state. I was not unattractive to the opposite sex, and I could bound up several stairs in the hospital (where I used to work) to get to a code blue or deliver a blood sample quickly and without losing my breath.
Sometime in making the transition from being a Respiratory Terrorist to Web Designer, I stopped exercising altogether, save the occasional trip to the beach (when one was available). This turns out to be bad for your health, and I ballooned. This rightly worryied my parents. But worse than my shape, my tolerance for physical activity was lessened. I don’t give a care what I look like, save to my wife, but being incapable of going up stairs or on a hike is an ego blow of the highest order. The regular racquetball has addressed some of these issues, and I can actually feel an increased tolerance for long walks and stairs. And most clearly, my tolerance for lots of racquetball has increased! Heh.
I despise exercise for exercise’s sake. I have envy who can muster enthusiasm for going for a run — which seems utterly pointless activity to me. Running seems like a means, not an end in itself, and certainly not pleasurable. But some people are wired to enjoy, or are willing to force on themselves walking, running, treadmills, exercise bicycles.
Perhaps as I age I’ll appreciate “just taking a walk.” But for now, I’m going to stick to racquetball. When summer comes, I’ll add bodysurfing and snorkling back into the mix.