Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Angles of Both the Squash Court and Real Life -- To Oleg Pakidoff

I've often wondered what makes this great game of squash so incredible and yet so immensely challenging. I won't say I've come to any conclusions, because that too, in squash isn't always the best thing to do. But this has been quite a week...I was on the court hitting with my new EyeRacket 120, I finally found a racket to switch to, never thinking I'd give up 6 years of Dunlop Hotmelt Pro use -- but I did. Anyways, I just loved the feel of this racket and the forehands and backhands I was hitting, great control, nice on the follow through. Of course 15 grams or so lighter did make a difference in racket speed. As I started to move the ball around from rail to cross to rail again, I found myself moving to the ball extremely well, great distance, good preparation and great length (the ghosting drills are paying off). I picked up the pace a bit and then the aforementioned elements began to break down a bit. It sort of just hit me, my shots were better, so my retrieval of my own shots were more pressured and then the angles began to move around which is really the source of the challenge in this game. I stopped and just looked at those simple, elegant, red lines that dip on the side walls to lower on the back corners, it opens up so manyu possibilities, almost endless. It introduces so many different variables where the ball hits and at what pace -- in combination with movement, distance, quickness, racquet preparation...well, you sort of get the hint. I thought about this all week how this came to me and how I might have intuitively known it, but when I started playing with the new racquet, it made sense. But another event much more incredible to me than what I just described happened to me outside the court. My beloved uncle, Oleg Packidoff, from Russia called me late last night through Skype, remarkable, because I lost touch with him and my Grandpa Igor and the family there after the fall of the USSR. I have been searching to reconnect for well over 20 years and here, in an instant, through a phone call it just came to me. His life, their lives, spanning wars, exodus, and this most wonderful uncle who was once orphaned for two years after the war and my Grandpa finding him in a post wore torn Russian orphanage... I met him years ago when he came to visit and we wrote once a week to one another for years until communication just stopped. What does this have to do with squash? Not much, except these angles in life, infinite in possiblity, are no different than those on the squash court. While I have been frustrated in squash and equally in life, for example, losing my Russian relatives as well as enduring a few years of injuries on the court, things change, the angles become different. What was once hard on the court now is easier and what was once unfathomable on the court now seems possible. The same with my Russian relatives, what once seemed so futile finding them amidst all the chaos, now seems so simple, it was Skype, we both just needed to be on Skype. As for my Eyeracket, maybe like Skype that brought me and my uncle together over a vast array of different angles in our lives, it just took me hitting with a different racket to get a different feel, a different angle(s) on the court. As long as I can connect the dots to life and squash it will always be just something to shake my head about and smile widely inside at this good fortune.

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