Posts tagged ‘sports and fitness’

August 6, 2011

Doubles with People with Parkinson’s

My nephew, YC, and I played doubles with my husband, C, and his brother, J, who both have Parkinson’s Disease. In their day, the brothers had killer shots. But on this summer sunny Sunday morning, it wasn’t their shots that failed, it was their legs.

J was my partner. He fell several times. Even though he landed face first on the clay court, he usually returned the volley within our opponent’s white lines.

“I’m fine. I’m fine,” J said as he struggled to stand. “Keep playing.”

“The point’s over. We won,” I said. He and C’s shots were still, many times, unreturnable.

I glanced across the net at YC, who is about to be a college Senior. We smiled at each other, asking with our knit eyebrows, “Should we keep playing? Is this crazy?”

Just last summer when playing one of these tennis games with my husband, he fell and we landed in the ER. He had dislocated his pinkie.

from creative commons. Tennis balls on a clay court.

That day, C had said to me, “Just pull my finger. It’ll be fine. Then we can keep playing.”

“No, I won’t,” I said. I have my limits and apparently relocating a dislocated pinkie is one of them.

So I knew that tennis with a Parkinson’s partner was fraught with possible negative consequences. But this summer morning we played on. My nephew and I continued smiling, almost laughing, sympathizing with one another. We were trying to take our cue from each other. But neither of us wanted to call off the game. We all wanted to keep playing, to stay competitive, to win.

Fortunately, I had to shower before Sunday chapel service. We didn’t play much longer. There were no serious injuries; although there were minor ones, like scraped knees.

While the people with Parkinson’s may believe they’re “fine, fine, keep playing,” those around them may wonder if that is true or wise.

If you ever do play mixed doubles with two brothers who have Parkinson’s Disease, I advice you to smile a lot. Even laugh. Because life is ridiculous. And everyone wants to keep playing for as long as possible.

Advertisements
February 9, 2011

Cross Country Skiing and Listening

When I started out cross country skiing today, I was totally listening to the world from a level 1. “I can’t do this. I’m cold.”   

In my workplace Leadership Academy, I learned there are three levels of listening:

  1. Listening to yourself  (at times, self consciously)
  2. Listening  to one other person (intently)
  3. Listening  to the room (the vibe)

After about 20 minutes of skiing, I found my rhythm. I may not have been elegant, but I was competent. And I could see the trees and the snow and the mountains.

After looking around, I began listening around. I was at level 3 — the greater room, the bigger world. Nature was my room, and the vibe was quiet.

There is a time when doing outdoor sports — or maybe any sports — when it is no longer possible to remain self-centered. Okay, yes, I can run with headphones on and stay in my head. But, at some point, I will be aware of a larger world around me. If I take the buds out of my ears, I can hear the sound of my feet hitting the sidewalk, a bird calling, or a dog barking.

Out in the snow today, the sounds were muffled and quiet. Occasionally a tree creaked as if in pain. There was nothing really much in the world to hear. Yet I was alive to the sounds and to the day. I forgot I was cold. I transcended myself.