Hyperbole isn't hyperbole if it's true. The love of one's life is truly the love of one's life if it is true. The love of my life who has appeared in this blog before came into my life through squash. I coached her for awhile before lightening struck me, struck me in such a way that it sent a shock through my whole being. I would spare no words in writing about her, she is as part of my being as the air itself is. The ancient greeks thought inspiration was literally a Muse breathing into you, the very air of life, love and words, she has inspired me. You might ask what does this have to do with squash? This is afterall a blog about squash...
Someone very near and dear to her was diagnosed with cancer, brain cancer. A man to young to be dealt such a sentence. It is a long story to unravel here, but he and I have one thing in common. The love of our lives is one and the same. She is with me and I cherish her devotion and love. He has caused me some angst mostly because their estrangement has caused her much stress and pain. At first when she told me he was very ill, I thought, just another ploy to win her back. I was convinced this was the case, we men know there's nothing we wouldn't do to have the woman of our dreams. But as this story unfolded, I began to feel a sense of sorrow, I began to empathize with this man. I don't know him, never met him, what must he be going through? I could only imagine that he should not see his son become a man or see any of his dreams fulfilled or new ones fashioned. Most of all he will never feel the love of this woman whom we both love, he will die without her and I will go on living with her.
I thought about this and felt bad about my selfish jealously. Petty, insecure, it's not like me. I then turned to one of the few things in my life which I've always found solace in: squash. I thought, squash doesn't care if you are happy, sad, good, bad, rich, poor, dying, in love, heart broken, it cares about nothing but you and your ability at any level to play. It might sound a bit like religion, maybe to me it is. And with these thoughts I wondered what if it had been me dealt this tragedy and not him, what would I do? Like most, I'd turn to my "religion", I'd have to turn to it for comfort and the center of my being. My comfort would have to include how I'd want to leave this game as I know it. Here's my list, like a "kick-the-bucket squash list":
My first and foremost desire would be to see my son, my heart and soul, play and win in the British qualifiers. While this might sound not too ambitious, it would be one of my life's dreasuch a great achievement on any level. My son has overcome so much in his life, who has been in many ways my hero, I would do anything in my time to help him achieve his dream. Next I would love to teach my daughter this game. We are estranged from one another, we rarely speak, I miss her terribly, she never wanted to play squash, she rebelled against me in every way. Her rejection of squash was painful, I took it personally. I would give anything to have another chance with her, to teach her to strike the ball, move about the court, see her smile at her accomplishments, teach her something about this game I have loved so much. Equally important to me would be to play as much with my love this great game and remember and celebrate squash is what brought us together. I would in my limited time teach her to retrieve and strike the ball out of the back corners, teach her to move ever so gracefully to and from the corners of the court, and I would marvel at her grace and beauty knowing like I have -- since that first bolt of lightening struck me-- just how much she means to me. Next, I would like to play once and for all the game of my life, I would want to play this game or at least perceive to play it like Nick Mathew does. I would want to see the yellow dots of the ball while in play, hear the beautiful hiss of the strings as I cut deftly through the ball, I'd like to move as if I'm moving on air, and I would like to strike the ball with such precision and accuracy that any 5.0 player would be scampering to retrieve, did I say 5.0 player, sorry, I meant Greg Gaultier. Finally, I would like to go back to India where I lived for a bit and take some desolate, poor child, many of which I saw, take just one, and teach them this game, find a wall, give them a ball and racket, give them a meal, and shoes, and teach them this great game. Inspire him maybe to dream of being a champion, teach him in squash, he will always matter.
As I complete this list, I realize I don't need to be dying to accomplish any of this and more. I should do what I can in whatever time there is, I have no choice in that matter. I do have choice in striving and working towards becoming a better player and helping to make others better and inspiring those around me to love and cherish this game. May that young man who has nothing to do with squash directly someday rest gently in peace perhaps not knowing that he had something to do with fulfilling mine and other's squash dreams.