Publishers Note Enjoying the Moment

By Jay D. Prince

Looking back over the past ten years, it is hard for me to believe that this is the 100th time I’ve sat down to write my Publisher’s Note. I suppose the hardest part is simply that when we printed our first issue, it never occurred to me that I’d have the opportunity to write my random thoughts 100+ times. But I can proudly say that I am, and I sincerely hope to be looking back again in ten years time when I sit down to write No. 200.

But rather than waxing nostalgic here, you’ll find plenty of that in the pages of this issue, I have another reason to celebrate today. I played a league match this week, and it’s the first time I’ve played the first match of the season in nearly three years! It seems that over the past two years I’ve spent more time whining about my various injuries than much of anything else. But I have to admit that sitting on the sidelines is depressing.

Last spring, someone asked me how I was feeling. After all, it had been nearly nine months since I’d played any squash at all, and my shoulder injury had required far too much physical therapy. My reply? “I’m healthy!”

I won’t make that mistake again. Within a week I was on my knees suffering from intense pain as the result of a partially herniated disc in my neck. More cortisone injections (I’d had two for my shoulder) didn’t help, but a steroid pack took the pain away in a matter of days. Unfortunately, my right arm developed this nasty habit of feeling like I’d grabbed hold of an electric fence every time I extended my appendage, and once that had subsided, the entire arm would go numb. For those of you who have seen me over the summer, the hairy growth on my face was the result of my arm falling asleep every time I raised razor to skin.

So now I have vowed to stop saying, “I’m healthy,” and have adopted the phrase, “Things are feeling alright at the moment.” Hey, I was a baseball player, and superstition is everything on the diamond.

But back to my league match. I told one of my teammates that it didn’t matter who I was playing, I was coming to the club to lay down the hammer; to run roughshod over him like nobody’s business. I was pumped. I mean, come on, I was going to be playing a meaningful match (to me, anyway) for the first time in far too long.

I got off to a good start by keeping the pace fairly slow—didn’t want to reach oxygen deprivation midway through the first game. Fitness isn’t exactly my strong suit right now. My legs got going at that point and I felt like there was nothing on the court I couldn’t reach. That was a cool feeling. I took the first game 9-3.

The second was more of the same. Though it was more like 9-4, I was staying out of the tin and managing my breathing fairly well. There was one stretch, however, when I could feel my heart climbing up my throat and accelerating way too much. Not to worry, I’ve learned a few tricks from a friend of mine, so I took the walk to the front wall a bit more slowly to pick up the ball and then bounced it a few more times than normal before serving. Phew, escaped potential trouble there.

In the third, my opponent started running more which, of course, meant the same for me. I was getting a bit winded, but after one very long point, I could sense that he was in worse shape. So at 5-5, I moved him around a bit more and forced a few tins out of him and took it 9-5.

While it may seem relatively insignificant, that match was huge for me. I’m so ready to “feel pretty good” for a while and, psychologically, it was just nice to contribute to a win for our team.

I suppose my reason for filling you in on the gory details of this league match is just to remind you of one small thing: Enjoy your squash every time you have the chance. Because you never know if it might be your last for far too long.