Summer came just in the nick of time. I had my surgery in mid-April, and although thankfully there were no complications, the momentum I had started to generate slowed considerably. I couldn’t exercise for almost two months, but I could and did work every scheduled day. Work did not end well: it became even more stressful and less satisfying than usual. Family business related to the death of my parents took up all of my free time and energy. My weight crept back close to 200 while my fitness level dipped accordingly. It was not a pretty sight.
One plus in my line of work, though, is that you have ten weeks off in the summer, and I’m pretty sure that this week I’m going to need all ten to get my body and mindset back to where they should be. Three have passed so far, and I’d like to think I’ve begun to make some progress. I’ve been working out and playing tennis on a regimen designed to get me to peak for the district playoffs in August (both my teams ended up qualifying, although not in such dramatic fashion that it bears retelling here). It’s been a slow process and not a linear one, but I’m starting to groove my strokes a bit better and at the same time improve my endurance in the summer heat. I even played a match for the first time last week with some of my 40 and over teammates and was less dreadful than I had feared (although my first volley, usually a strength, was understandably rusty). I still need to work on my serve. A lot. Todd offered to spend some time every week helping me build a better motion and I accepted. With his help I’m going back to a fuller motion which uses the whole body rather than just the arm and shoulder muscles, although the shoulder itself feels much stronger as long as I continue to lift regularly. I’m building it gradually and there is a lot of syncing of different parts which I haven’t mastered yet. But I’ve found that the ball goes in almost as often as before, and I can hit maybe a third of the balls reasonably correctly (they go faster and move more, and are difficult to attack) and every seventh or eighth ball very, very well (with something approaching the correct spin, too). The districts are coming up in four weeks and my goals are to get fitter, stronger, and more match-ready. Serve-wise I need to develop a smoother and more natural motion using whatever parts of the motion I can count on (during the fall and winter I can try to add others). I’m not progressing as quickly as I would like, but I have seen improvement. Whether I can continue to get better will determine not only my success at the 4.0 level this summer but my chances of ever making it back as a solid 4.5. That’s pressure, but at least tennis pressure is easier to deal with, and less costly, than life pressure, so I’ll do what I can and let the chips fall where they may.
Tomorrow (or soon) I’ll write more on my hiking adventures.