Saturday, August 20, 2005

Racquetball Diaries-I

Back in what can fairly be described as my athletic glory days, I was something of a racquetball player. I traveled around the country to tournaments, won a decent number of trophies, and even competed in a tournament to determine a national champion--although, in a spirit of full disclosure, my presence in the national tournament was short-lived, and, when one reflects on the scores of that rather brisk opening match, er, ill-advised.

This is a self-serving way of stating that I used to spend a great deal of time on racquetball courts, vanquishing opponents and otherwise delighting in this vigorous, competitive, and selfish zero-sum game. One of my favorite taunts of racquetball buddies used to be: "There is no luck or art to racquetball, it's all just physics and effort." I especially liked that statement as it made me sound rather "smart", it confused--temporarily, at least--the occasional opponent, and, let's be honest here, the comment reflected my basic view of the world: life to me was a matter of physics, and a matter of effort. Period. Anybody who said otherwise was weak or was trying to excuse being a loser.

That was roughly 20 years ago.

Over the past six months, I have taken up racquetball again, and it recently occurred to me that it might be useful to explore this question just a bit further: is racquetball merely a matter of physics and effort?