Thursday, 10 September 2009

yelling and screaming

I see myself as a pretty reserved person. It may that others disagree (and they're welcome to comment to that effect), but I see myself as someone who keeps my emotions to myself most of the time.

The two biggest exceptions to that are watching football, and playing tennis. In the last couple of weeks, there have been two classic examples.

On Saturday night, Brisbane played Carlton in an elimination final at the Gabba. Being members, our posse of Gav, Doug, Andy (claiming the floating ticket) and I went along to cheer along our respective teams. Brisbane started poorly (or Carlton well), and the Blues fans in front of us were in strong voice, jumping out of their seats to cheer Carlton goals. Brisbane came back, and I felt obliged (and moved) to respond in kind, leaping to my feet and letting forth an appropriately guttural roar. Come the fourth quarter, Brisbane were 5 goals down, and up against the wall. They came, though, with a furious rush that put joy in the heart of any non-Carlton-supporting fan (Carlton are not a well-loved club in recent times). It was a famous victory, that will live long in the memory, and left my vocal cords in tatters for Sunday and Monday.

Although this was one of the more notable (and justified) examples of me having a good yell at the football, it is far from the only one. Its not always in triumph - the umpires bear a heavy load, and I do not shirk from making suggestions to or critiques of Brisbane players. In general, though, its an environment where I feel comfortable letting myself go and just yelling at the top of my lungs.

The other, less fortunate scenario in which I find myself yelling, is while playing tennis. I like to think, and it may not be true, but I like to think that at some point between 5 and 10 years ago, I was a handy tennis player. I have never been blessed with consistency; when I play, I live and die by the sword, and many of my matches are decided by whether the ambitious groundstrokes I attempt come off or not. More often that not, they don't, particularly at times like now when I haven't been playing regularly. Other than this Achillean, live-well-and-die-young approach, the other notable characteristic of my tennis game is that I play stupid. I try shots that aren't on, repeat the same mistakes over and over again, and generally make dumb decisions.

Anyway, these unfortunate aspects of my tennis game, combined with the impression (or delusion) that I was once capable of making the shots I try, mean that I get very frustrated. And I yell. I yell at myself for being stupid, I call myself a moron, and I swear (in French, now, as is my wont). I'm not proud of it, but its something that I seem to do. Last week was pretty bad. I played very poorly (despite doing some things very well - I probably hit a dozen aces), and yelled at myself quite a lot. Last night wasn't so bad. I hit the ball a bit better, and was able to be slightly more circumspect when I didn't, although I still let fly with a few gros mots.

So, two places where I yell. One I like, and feel like its a place where having a shout is fair play. The other, I don't like, and over time hopefully I can quieten down there.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

sportfolio management

The variety of sports that I play regularly (weekly, fortnightly, as opposed to the occasional outing on a weekend) has generally hovered around 2. Tennis has been the most common of them, but at various there has been basketball, golf, indoor soccer, cycling, and most recently beach and indoor volleyball. When I got back from New Zealand, I was invited to play tennis with Gav's team, meaning that my Monday (indoor volleyball), Tuesday (beach volleyball) and Wednesday (tennis) nights are all given over to sports (in the case of Monday and Wednesday, supplanting AoC).

When I was asked to play tennis regularly, something inside told me that either the number (3 nights a week) or the density (3 nights in a row) would probably be slightly too high for me, and that's proving to be true. I like my nights at home to myself, so long as they aren't too numerous (as they were for much of my time France, for example), and I'm finding that I miss that at the start of the week.

Something has to give. It won't be indoor volleyball at this point (much as having Monday nights free would suit my gaming). I'm enjoying the challenge of learning to play, and the guys I'm playing with (Chad, Brett, occasionally Lach) are great, because they are better than me, and play the "right way", which makes it easier to learn and improve. I also feel like I need to give tennis a proper go. Its without doubt the sport I'm best at (at this point; one day I'll be a better golfer than tennis player, but that day has not yet come). I haven't been playing well, and have been getting frustrated, but I feel like I need to give it some time so I can find some form, and work on being smarter and calmer (being smarter would help me not get frustrated, and I suspect not getting frustrated would help me play smarter) on court, in order to play better and enjoy it more.

The likely casualty is beach volleyball. I have enjoyed playing, and we've improved as a team, but I can't help but feel that I've stopped improving personally. We play an unstructured game, and I'm probably one of our better players, neither of which help me to learn and improve. Learning and improving are really important parts of the enjoyment I gain from playing a sport, so losing that really doesn't bode well for beach volleyball's spot in my weekly routine.

The spectre on the horizon is that I've become intrigued by the idea of playing rec footy, and the season for that starts on Tuesday. Which night depends on where I play. I had pegged Kedron, based partly on the idea of signing up friends (notably my Lions season ticket mates) to play with, although some of those are falling away, which could see me opt for the geographically more convenient alternative of Morningside. The likelihood is that I don't have a body which could withstand the rigors of "actual" football (assuming that training could overcome my lack of fitness), and rec footy would represent a nice surrogate.