Writing, Like Racquetball, Has Three Major Skill Levels And There Will Always Be Someone Better Than You No Matter What Your Sport

Hi folks, welcome!

FitOldDog enjoyed racquetball for several years, becoming stuck at level II, and consequently moving on.

FitOldDog enjoyed racquetball for several years, becoming stuck at level II, consequently moving on.

Do not let the enjoyment of your sport depend solely on winning. There will always be someone better than you, if not at this game or race then at the next. Instead, measure success by enjoyment level and you will have a great time for the rest of your life, even as your performance declines, as it inevitably will with age. This, however, is possibly not true of the sport of writing!

Lest you think that my sole interest has been triathlons, I would like to let you know that I was an avid, though not too talented, racquetball player for several years. During this time I achieved what I call level II: level I = 4-6 inches off the ground, level II = 1-2 feet off the ground, and level III = all over the place.

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Best self help book  you will ever read; it makes you laugh when you want to cry.

My last game was with a level I (Ed), and not only could I not get a point, but he eventually leaned his racquet against the wall to play with his closed fist, and I still could not win a point. So I stopped playing, and moved on, knowing I would never achieve this level of performance. My heart was set on winning!

I now compete in triathlons, have experienced many up and downs of life, and my enjoyment is not based on winning my age group, it is more related to putting the whole thing together.

My objective is to be the most efficient, least injured, older age-grouper Ironman distance triathlete that I can be – so I study body awareness and movement skills as much as I train, if not more so.

I want to finish with the best time I can:

  • But not in winning way!
  • In a ‘man, that was a great day out there‘ kind of way.

I’ll just be the best Sid Bunratty, I mean FitOldDog, that I can be, which brings me to writing.

It struck me as I thought about racquetball, that writing also comes in three major skill or proficiency levels. In contrast to racqetball, assessment of writing skill is a function of the nature of the reader – there is no score, as such. I consider myself an experienced reader, but some writing is so profound (or not?) in nature that I fail to comprehend or appreciate it’s content. For instance, I attempted to read ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce several times. Ulysees by James Joyce AmazonEach time I became stuck in a mire of words, seemingly leading nowhere. Should I try again, now that another 20 years have elapsed, I wonder? I think that I will (or is it shall?). When I read ‘The Razor’s Edge’ in my 20s it made no sense, but in my 40s it was a true delight. I’d been there, so I got it.

Then there’s the much trumpeted ‘The Great Gatsby’. I was unimpressed, while ‘Look Homeward Angel’ and ‘Howard’s End’ had me entranced from the opening lines to the last word. When it comes to level III writers (the least skilled), I rarely finish the book, but I always doubt my judgement when I do so. I try to write encouraging reviews of such works – if I dare. This type of encouragement can go a long way towards pushing a level III writer to level II, and who knows, sometimes maybe even level I? What a contribution to human life that would be.

My goal is to become the best writer I can be, and to have fun trying.

I am surprised how much I like writing this blog (graffiti with punctuation?). It’s almost as if I write it for myself. That said, I’m convinced that as I write about my sport it causes me to reflect on the challenges of undertaking exercise safely and effectively with increasing age, thus it improves my appreciation of my sport, and maybe even my performance in the long-term. I guess we’ll see.

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.