As Good As I Once Was

Actually, yes I am.Given the title of this post there are about seventy two different ways I could take things but I’m going to go the route nearest and dearest to my heart.

And that would be…(let’s all say it together)…BEACH VOLLEYBALL.

I was listening to some country music, taking a break from perhaps the most awesome Pandora station I’ve ever created (“Africa” by Toto was the catalyst) and this song came on.  I decided right then and there I was going to scrap the other post I was working on and do this one instead.  It’s actually not the overall sentiment that I’m as good (or not) as I once was that convinced me to write this post – it was a particular line in the song (by Toby Keith):

I used to be hell on wheels
Back when I was a younger man
Now my body says, “You can’t do this boy
But my pride says,”Oh yes you can…”

That would be a pretty accurate reflection of how I approach things.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m still young, so the whole piece doesn’t really apply to me.  But today reminded me that my body, my pride and my desires don’t always get along.  After nine straight hours of playing out at Volleyball Beach on Sunday (which followed a Saturday comprised of 4 1/2 hours of volleyball followed by a graduation BBQ followed by a birthday party and getting home at 3am) Tuesday came around.  And when the weather is nice that means late night volleyball.

So after playing nine games of A/B/A-level sixes followed by three games of doubles it was time to play MORE.  We played a game of doubles to start with, then a handful of quads games before we called it a night.  It felt incredible (as it always does) – even when I was sure my heart was going to burst from my chest and seek a less strenuous place to hangout it was purely awesome.

And today my body decided to retroactively protest my involvement in the sport, turning what’s normally a mild ache at worst into the kind of pain.  It’s the kind that just spits in the face of a handful of Advil, daring you to move any muscle that’s still attached so it can remind you that you chose to ignore the lesson you (in theory) learned last year about this time.

My response?

Whimper in pain.

But seriously I told my body to stick it because we had work to do.  The May Fire quads tournament is this weekend at the Beach ($1,000 top doubles team prize; people from all over the country coming to watch) and Pauly’s Sandy Pirate Hookers are playing in it.  And Sunday is another nine-hour day of volleyball out there.  And both are projected to be absolutely gorgeous days so whether or not my body wants to continue to partake in it is irrelevant – until I have to have it carried off in a stretcher my feet will be in the sand.  (let’s just hope I didn’t jinx myself with that statement…)

But seriously – when you love something as much as I love my sand volleyball whether your body cares to cooperate or not becomes somewhat irrelevant.  Sure, at some point it plays a limiting factor (“hey, look – my fibula is at a ninety-degree angle!”), but for the most part the pain you get is irrelevant.  That ache you feel just says you’ve either decided to stretch your limits (good!) or you’ve been slacking off and need to get back to it (bad…but at least that knowledge is power).  From my standpoint it’s nothing more than an inconvenience – it’s certainly not a license to wimp out.  And while not all pain is good pain nothing good is going to come without it.

So the next time your body says “you can’t do this, boy (or girl)” feel free to use one of those four letter words your parents told you not to repeat out loud when you’re in church and tell your body to shape up because you’ve got better things to do than babysit it.

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