Yesterday I played a great squash match. I have had a series of nagging injuries that I have slowly been able to rehab, and I'm happy to say I am almost back 100%. I have a hamstring pull that is still a bit bothersome but I've taken to wearing a brace and it doesn't bug me in a game anymore.
So for the first time in nearly a year I am back playing pretty damn well. I am trying to adopt a slower, more thoughtful, less physical game since the mortal clock is ticking and I finally realized I better adjust. So I am still hitting hard rails and laser cross-courts, but I'm also trying to work on a much slower rail that ends in the corner and a mid-speed cross-court that seems to catch opponents off-guard. I'm also going for more drops from the back court, which was heretofore used sparingly by me. Every now and then, when you notice your opponent has taken his eye off the ball, it's worth going for.
Yesterday, however, I woke up for my early morning game and knew I was not feeling well: a cold, with a bit of a runny nose and a stuffed, fuzzy feeling behind the eyes. This was this week's best game, however, and I felt, what the hell, I have to play, it is too good of a match. And I also had in the back of my head an old sports truism that sick players sometimes play better.
I'm not sure why that is, but I believe it. Not really really sick, of course, but a bit off. I was sick enough that I fully concentrated on my game and let all additional thoughts disappear. I was running well, shooting very well, and staying in the moment of the point better than I would have been if I were also thinking extraneous thoughts in the back of my head like the workday I faced after the match, how my son is doing, what's planned this weekend, etc. I only had enough in me to worry about the game, and that's what I did.
And I did well.
Of course, there was a price to pay. As I explained in an earlier blog (here), my squash match resulted in further reducing my post-game immune system, and now, here I sit, a box of Kleenex at the ready, sipping down my NyQuil, a mild cold transformed into a big-time headache. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.