Sunday, October 4, 2020
Sunday, September 27, 2020
I wasn't sure I could watch the US Open without fans, and with knowing that Donna and I wouldn't be going this year. But I quickly got into watching the tennis and finding it interesting to see the players watching each other and wandering around doing all the other activities in the bubble.
|At Holyoke Canoe Club|
It was right about this time that the elastic in my tennis skirts gave way. I kept jacking them up like an old man hitching up his pants. And the colorful skirts and tops that many of the women were wearing caught my eye. The design was like paint brush strokes. I put in the relevant keywords (Nike skirt US Open blue and pink) and the Nike US Open skirt came up.
I thought it was just an interesting, colorful skirt, but then I read that the Nike look at the US Open was more than that. Marija Zivlak of Women’s Tennis Blog wrote,
"Nike is reviving Andre Agassi’s rebel style in the 2020 iteration of the ATP icon’s Challenge Court collection that stirred up the tennis fashion world thirty years ago. Using coquille board, torn paper and snippets of the original design, Nike re-created the legendary looks with more modern, functional fabrics.
"The bold collection includes tanks, cropped shirts, skirts, shorts and jackets, all in neon and surf/skate-like geometric patterns that bring back the vibes of Agassi’s groundbreaking on-court style."
When I looked up the skirt online, I saw that I could get it for a discount at Tennis Warehouse. But in keeping with the "shop small" theme that I already follow and that the Open promoted, I got it at the tennis store in Fairfield after another fabulous day at the beach.
"Maybe it will improve my game," I said to the salesperson.
Well, actually, it did.
I had this thought about my game:
For all the years I've been playing, and all the lessons I've taken, maybe my game should be a little better.
But for all the days I spent almost dying, maybe my game should be worse...or maybe I shouldn't have a game at all.
Therefore, I am probably right where I am supposed to be.
Also, I'm having fun and getting exercise. When I first came back (multiple times) and went to clinics, I could barely keep the ball in play. I remember feeling kinda bad that I was gumming it up for the other players and feeling embarrassed that I couldn't do what I wanted to do. Now I get asked to sub in groups and feel like a valued member of the tennis community. And in the four days that I played this week, my foot didn't hurt!
Just to make sure it stays that way, I went out to Shutesbury, to the foot fix-it guy Ken Holt, and got a new pair of orthotics. My last pair was three years old. I was using a pair that was even older that got mixed up with the three-year-old pair. Ken is not seeing people in his office; you drop off your old orthotics and he makes the new pair based on it. But I wanted to make sure he was working off the right pair, so I met him in his driveway (at a distance of course) and showed him both pairs. I couldn't tell, but he said it was easy to see which was the newer pair.
With our democracy at stake, foot problems and tennis level ponderings seem very shallow, so, I'll just say that although I found door-knocking easier when we were in the real world, I am doing some phone banking. I wrote postcards to Florida voters to encourage them to vote by mail, but that part is over. And the price of the shirt to go with the skirt was too much so I didn't get it, though who knows, maybe my gae would go up another level if I matched.
Sunday, September 6, 2020
I had a great pre birthday, birthday and post birthday followed by a bad foot day. The bad day turned into more. Something re-activated the dreaded plantar fasciitis, making me a bore to anyone who hasn't suffered from it. One of my tennis buddies had it so badly that she had to skip tennis for a while and go to physical therapy. In between games on the court, she showed me some of her stretches. I feel like I know them all...I actually threw out my boot because I was done with it. The moral might be that even if you have a dumpster in your driveway, never throw anything out.
I have been going to the chiropractor and have contacted my orthotics guy, Ken Holt, because I wonder if it's just a matter of getting new orthotics.
A friend said he couldn't keep track of my birthdays, and I understood. One original birthday and four re-birthdays.
It was great to have the three kids and one cute little boy at my house for the pre-birthday. We ate outside and were going to stay outside (because, COVID) but Callen wanted to go in. We thought of not doing it but all of a sudden we were all inside. We spaced out and that was a while ago already so I figure it was OK. I loved seeing him at my mother's piano next to one of her paintings.
On the real birthday, I played tennis and went out to eat with Boyfriend, for the first time. People said that 30Boltwood, in Amherst, does a good job, and they were right.
A couple of days later, I got to go back to the Fairfield Beach Club, where I had great success in getting Callen's little shoes on him while Ben was busy with Nell. Callen had eaten a Spiderman pop and got more on himself than in his mouth. I suggested we go wash up. He took my hand and we headed off. That little hand in mine was worth the two-hour drive. I thought we were going to a certain bathroom but he led me to another room with a big sink in it. I picked him up and turned on the water, which he seemed to be trying to catch in his hands.
This of course makes me think of doing the same thing with my little kids.
At the end of the day I enjoyed a swim in the calm Long Island Sound. I miss seeing the ocean at Cape Cod, but I think it was Katie who pointed out to me that since I'm not allowed in the ocean, this is a good fit for me. Ben pointed out that there were also no sharks.
If you don't care about feet, you can stop here.
On top of that, my neuropathy, which has been pretty tame, has gone on and off crazy. The other night, I felt like my feet were electrified. I don't post too much in FB groups such as Our Neuropathy Friends, because everyone is going to have a different opinion. But if a lot of people have the same opinion, for example on a kind of CBD that is effective, I might be interested. That group is recognized by The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, by the way,
Hello! I haven't posted in a while because I've been doing OK, meaning, a low buzz in my feet but not that bad. 900 mgs of gabapentin twice a day, or an extra 300 if I want. I don't know what happened. Maybe it's the rain that is coming. My feet got totally electrified, on top of a return of plantar fasciitis. A while back I tried CBD, THC and a combination and was never that happy with the results so I stopped. I was just staring at some chocolate that is 1-1 and wondering if I should take a nibble but I didn't. CBD doesn't really do anything and THC makes me a little stoned, even if I take a little/ I guess it works to take your mind off the neuropathy but I've kind of been there done that with that feeling. As you all know it is very upsetting. I took 5 mgs of oxycodone before. Now it has worn off. Ibuprofen has a bad effect on my kidneys and Tylenol of course is bad for the liver. I put CBD cream on my feet and that helps a little. I guess my question is whether people have had good luck with CBD. The kind I have now is made by Good Body Products in Vermont, for what that's worth.
Mostly it was good to get a little support.
"People that dont deal with this problem have no idea of how debilitating and relentless it is," one said.
Mostly they are doing the same as I am, rubbing different things in their feet. One said he had it so bad that he had to stop work and apply for Social Security Disability.
Someone said capsaicin in a gel, but I put that on my toe once when I had problems and it burned my skin.
But then after a string of bad foot days I had one of my best tennis days ever. So in conclusion it's hard to figure.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
This morning, George was to speak at a dedication for the new hard tennis courts at The Holyoke Canoe Club. He got the project started, donating $10,000, and others followed his lead and reached the goal of $25,000. I did my little part. He said some 60 people donated. Anyone who donated could cut a piece of the ribbon.
When they reached the goal, he had said, with a big grin on his face, that he felt like George Bailey from A Wonderful Life.
Apparently enough people said they wouldn't attend that the celebration this morning would be under the limit of 50 people set by the governor. I thought of going. I really wanted to. But concerns about my funky immune stopped me. He is always there, so I think I will go over this afternoon to ask how it went.
I did a Serenity Yoga Studio yoga class (at home) during the time of the celebration. The teacher lives nearby, and next time I might do it at her house. I gave Maddie a good walk first so that she wouldn't come and try to sit on the mat with me. She seems to like to do that. I like it when she lies down beside me but not when she hogs, or rather dogs, the mat.
George has helped me so much during all of my comebacks. It's not just the tennis. It's having the clinics – summer camp for adults. I told him I don't know if it's improving my tennis, but I come for the fun. He said it is, so I'll take him at his word. It's figuring out a way, this year, to have socially distant watermelon during breaks and place our chairs far enough apart and telling stories. We both talk about our fathers and tennis. "My father always said..."
My favorite of my own is, "Don't kid yourself how good you are when you're hitting with the pro." George says it's not totally true because he often hits us hard-to-get balls.
It's the breeze and the river and his "air-conditioned court," the one closest to the river.
It was telling me not to take more than one step when I first came back after my fourth stem cell transplant, because that's all I could do. If you didn't know him, you would have been insulted by the way he said it..."Don't go for that ball, you won't make it."
When I got to the point of being expected to get more balls, if I missed one, I would joke, "but I was in a coma." That would have been 11 years ago, when the coma was in the recent past. One day when the coma was farther into the past, I said, "I guess I can't use that excuse any more." So I stopped.
In any case, he was a big part of this story I wrote for espnW.com about how tennis helped me recover from leukemia.
Well, I guess I forgot to post that one!
Later in the day we went over and hit some balls and sat on chairs at the hard court and heard about the dedication. The idea is that these courts will be playable further into the cold weather than the clay courts. If the inside season started now, I wouldn't go in. I would of course miss tennis in the winter. If things change, maybe I would change my mind. I look kind of silly in this mask in the photo but I took the photo after tennis at Longmeadow High School courts with a little explanation of why the smell from this kind of mask brings back bad memories of wearing these when I was severely immunocompromised. Hey, this is kind of related to tennis: something I wrote about backhanded compliments.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
In my opinion, the goal of a volley drill is to keep it going, to practice control, not to win a point. You don't want to hit a pouf ball because you need momentum, but you don't want to slam it either. I probably shouldn't have said anything, but I did on Wednesday when the player on the other side of the net was playing speed ball. We got nowhere near the number of volleys that George wanted. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of "I think it works better to hit it more slowly." Or maybe it was, "I think it works better when you don't hit it as hard."
Her response: "I'm here for me too."
She was not one of the regulars. I actually know her from Friday night mixers and team tennis, and we have a good rapport, so I didn't get why she was so edgy. (I was going to say hostile but that's a little bit much.) People understandably don't like to be told anything by anyone except for the pro. I get it. But at least have a better response than "I'm here for me too." It didn't make any sense. Who knows, maybe it bothered the writer in me. "Here for me too" doesn't work if you're not keeping the ball in play.
A friend (who we love) who doesn't live here anymore hit it equally hard in drills, also to the point of defeating the purpose. If we pointed it out, she would just say "I can't hit it any other way!" or something like that. Nobody got defensive and nobody got upset. We would just laugh.
In any case, on Wednesday, we rotated soon after. In two rotations, I ended up next to George and opposite the hard hitter and another player. One of her first balls hit me hard in the arm. My skin is very sensitive, and my sympathetic nervous system is probably over-reactive. I had to fight back tears. (There's no crying in tennis!) I grabbed my arm and gave her a look. "I said I'm sorry. It wasn't that hard," she said. I didn't hear the sorry part but I don't doubt it. But wait...the "It wasn't that hard part" wasn't necessary. It hurt, so it was hard enough. When we rotated again, I walked off the court to collect some balls and collect myself.
That left three in the next rotation. My spot would have been against the hard hitter. "Ronni doesn't want to hit with me," she said to them, loudly. It sounded like playground talk. One of the others called over that she would hit with me instead. I actually wasn't avoiding her...It was hot, we had been there a long time, and I was just taking a break. But the drill called for four people and I didn't want to mess it up, so I went back and hit with the other person.
It all ironed out by the end of the morning. But it was not your usual magic day at the Canoe Club. I thought I would get black-and-blue but at least that didn't happen.