HERE’S what you look like if you think it’s a good idea to go straight from the squash court to a game of badminton.
Our weekly shuttlecock convention has been disrupted by the return of the students to the university. Unreasonably, they want to use their sporting facilities.
The regular badminton game is moving around for now, and after missing last week’s session, an opportunity pops up. Play the Wednesday game of squash, then join two of the usually larger crew who have hired a badminton court for an overlapping hour.
First, I suffer/enjoy 40 minutes of squash against the unconquerable one (losing 4:1). In fairness to the one who is never beaten, it’s not that he’s unconquerable so much as me being all too conquerable.
It’s the getting cross that does it. However chirpy the mood at the beginning, that long line of defeats queue up to mug my confidence. Once I start losing, that’s it: another sweaty tragedy.
The games are good and close, but I still lose; and between points I still call myself out for being an idiot; the usual self-sabotaging stuff.
Game over, and I walk downstairs into the sports hall. With the badminton I do try to contain the crossness. I hardly ever drop a racket nowadays, although there may be muttering. The first game is a bit of a massacre, so maybe there is a mutter or two. The sitting-out friend mildly tells me off for being too hard on myself, as I’d just been playing squash. The second game is close, but both are lost.
That makes the final joint tally: six games lost, one game won.
We’re told to keep fit as we age. And this is my possibly idiotic contribution. It won’t be a regular thing and hopefully the games will appear on different nights again soon. But I couldn’t resist the idea, even if I did end up in a puddle of defeat.
Bits of me do ache nowadays, but I keep those aches on the move. A recent weekend away in the Dales saw my knees heckling me for a week after a tough 13-mile walk, but there you go.
I’m the eldest of three boys and we all try to stay active. But the middle brother told our mother that I am too old to play squash. I’d better not tell him about the squash/badminton double. If it comes up, I’ll tell him that my other squash opponent has five years on me.
After badminton, there is no one else in the changing room, so I take the sweaty selfie.