Tough Day

I am pretty agile as an athlete, but sometimes accidents happen. They are usually minor mishaps that only require a bit of rest and a day or two off from basketball. Recently, however, it was a more serious injury requiring some medical attention. I went to a sports doctor who provided a thorough examination, including a look at the leg muscle tear. I hadn’t been for a full checkup in years, so I noted all the extra attention to my general health. To look into my eyes, he used the coolest medical penlight I have ever seen. It was bright shiny metal and easily activated with a button on the bottom. With one touch it would go on, while with two it grew more intense. I went searching on the internet and found it here: I can see that this device far surpasses normal penlights, like the small one I keep in my car to read paper maps or find something in the glove compartment.

I was pleased to hear that all was well and that the tear would heal in a week at most. It would not impede my ability to play in the future. I know that some basketball players are finished if the Achilles tendon snaps. It isn’t a matter of being more careful. You just have to do your best. I always warm up as recommended by the coach. It came as a surprise to me when I had a tough day and ended up in the doctor’s office. He said, “Fortunately, the young heal fast.” I count my lucky stars! Not all athletes are so lucky; even some of my teammates have to take off for the rest of the season now and then.

There is more to my story to tell. I was inspired by the North America Outgames in 2011 to come out to my teammates. It is a great feeling to be treated as an equal as both a teammate and as a lesbian. I wanted to start a blog to support and encourage other LBGT athletes in my hometown of Vancouver and also around the world. My message is that no matter what your orientation or how you identify yourself, you are a valued member of a team and a respected athlete. The world of sports has changed dramatically from decades ago. Let’s celebrate this progress!

Meanwhile, I am gaining notoriety in the area which will certainly help my cause. As word gets out, more and more people come to the fore to offer their assistance in promoting my mission. Good publicity is a godsend when you have a message to deliver. I am open to interviews of any type during which I can speak my truth to those willing to listen, sports fans or not. I was particularly pleased recently to play in a tournament to fund LBGT athletes in the area. I am glad to live in a more liberal time and to have better opportunities than my forerunners. The abandonment of stigmas is a blessing to those in my shoes, which happen to be Adidas.

I Hate Allergies!

I am an athlete and allergies really curb my style. I can’t play basketball, the sport I love, when I am not my best. I need to have maximum energy to help my team prevail. I want to be there with all my skills intact. Every ball player wants to be a valuable and reliable member. We know that it is a group effort and you don’t get to go solo all the time. You work on strategies that several can execute and it makes for ultimate success and a high winning score. I therefore do everything I can to combat my pervasive allergies that appear several times of the year when the weather changes.

I hate being the victim of nature but I have no choice. I start to dry up and get sinus headaches. Other times I can sneeze for hours and have itchy, red, and watery eyes. It is not a pretty picture. I have tried all the over-the-counter preparations and pills in the drugstore. I have consulted the pharmacist and read dozens of articles online. I was getting frantic after I missed a few games. I was actually bedridden over allergies which is unheard of. You have to feel weak and tired to resort to missing the normal activities in your life.

I was about to give up and was constantly complaining when a friend came to the rescue. One day when I was stuck in bed watching old movies, she came over with a small electrical device that she told me was one of these HEPA air purifiers. It was a little miracle. She plugged it in and I could feel it go into operation in cleaning the antigens and pollutants out of the air. I had closed the windows, even though I like fresh air, to ensure that no more toxins entered my premises. With the air purifier installed, I started to feel better in an hour. It was wonderful. I could breathe through my nose which hadn’t happened for some time. I had a sore throat from sleeping with my mouth open. Help was at hand. I now know that I had missed an obvious allergy solution. I know that many of you blog readers know what I am talking about and have suffered in silence for years. I am glad that I was not so silent such that I prompted a friend to take action to help me out.

An air purifier is a simple appliance that anyone can use. There are no cons, only pros. Even if you don’t have severe allergies, an air purifier can clean your environment and help you feel better. Who doesn’t want that? We often forget what is in the air. Think of those windy days that blow pollutants around and wreak havoc with your respiratory system. I found the answer with someone’s help, so I am dedicating this blog to helping you. It is easy to go on line and visit the many sites that offer quality, well-priced air purifiers. You can order and get one in a few days. Relief is coming!

Good Luck Rituals

Ball players can be superstitious, especially when they listen to myths and old wives’ tales. I count myself as one of them. Not all basketball players are susceptible, but clearly I am. This means that I perform certain personal rituals before games. I hope that it will bring me luck and this has been the case so far. I am on a winning basketball team in a major city, and as a woman, what could be better than that. I haven’t shared my ritual with anyone except family. I don’t care to be mocked or scorned. I just do it as a matter of course the night before and the day of each game. It does not apply to practice, but only a competitive environment.

The first part of my ritual has to do with eating the same mean the night before a big game. It consists of a steak, a baked potato, vegetables, and a piece of pie. This gives me a lot of calories for energy the next day and it has never let me down. I am not known to be weak, feeble, or tired on the court. The next part of my ritual is to lay out my dad’s lucky watch that he bought after reading Timepiece Quarterly on the bureau so that I won’t forget it the following day. The minute I get to the stadium, it goes in my locker right before game time. I just put it on for the trip from my house to the gym.

The last part of the good luck ritual is to thank my team members after the game and to hug each one before I go. The men pat each other on the back and then huddle together and chant something about next time. It changes each game, so as a ritual, it is a bit ephemeral. I don’t ask since I witness it every time. The automatic watch that was my dad’s is very special to me and I relish having it as part of my particular ritual. I make sure that I never inadvertently leave it in the locker. If I lost it, I would be frantic. While I wear it to and fro for a big game, I am tempted to start wearing it more often. It reminds me of my dad and rekindles fond feelings.

Rituals may be suspect, but in my opinion, they work. After all baptism, marriage, and holidays all have them. No one is exempt it seems. I just apply them to my calling—a basketball player on a top-tier team. If my ritual keeps me going, so be it. It exists for a reason and we all have some method of pumping ourselves up. You can talk to yourself before a game, meditate, recite an affirmation, or whatever suits your style. You can change up the ritual and adapt it to current circumstances. I think I have stuck with a successful one that has personal meaning.

So, I’m Not the Cleanest Person Around

I play on the coolest basketball team. I love the guys and they don’t mind that I am a woman. They say that they didn’t even have to get used to it. It seemed natural from the start. They admired my talent, the kind of skill that allows a woman to participate on an all-male team. It is a rarity they exclaim and they are super proud of me. We are friends and socialize given their positive attitude. I invite them over, with or with wives and girlfriends. I have a small place and yet it tends to often be a mess. I had to get ready fast for one recent evening of wine, cheese, and music.

It would have been a little better to start ahead as I had a lot to do to spiff up the place. Not that the guys would notice, but I care that I present a clean image. I don’t want to be labelled a slob. My housecleaning turned out to be extensive and I ran around like crazy making sure the vacuum took care of the floor and area rugs. I hoped it would not conk out since it only cost about one hundred dollars. I found it here and it has gotten a lot of usage over the years. I also use attachments with it to take care of crumbs and dust on the sofa and a small brush to go over the blinds. After a good two hours, the house looked wonderful. I set about putting out candles, bowls of nuts and candy, and a bucket of ice for the drinks. I may not be the cleanest person around, but I know how to cover my tracks in a jiffy. There was not a speck of dust on an end table or armoire.

The party was casual, simple, and successful. You don’t have to fuss and bother to please basketball players. They like basic food and beer. They were all happily ensconced on the sofa and chairs, one or two on the floor and no one uttered a comment about the cleanliness of the house. If they remarked that it was so clean, it might mean that it wasn’t always. They were too polite to go that route. And it was clean thanks to the vacuum. It held up well and will live to see another day. I plan to entertain again as it is a lot of fun. We are always in good spirits when we are together and it is different than when we are on the court. People bring potluck dishes, items that are special creations. I specialize in dessert. I like to bake when I get any free time, which is not often. I don’t get too fancy, but love to make cupcakes and cookies and small things like home-made chocolates and nut balls.

The only problem with a party is that food gets on the coffee table and the floors. The kitchen is full of dishes and glasses. Now it is time to get out the vacuum once again. I wait for the morning.

Sun and Fun

I play basketball on a great team, but it doesn’t mean I don’t do anything else. I am an athlete and love to try out other sports. I have a particular fondness for beach volleyball and am always willing to make a whole day out of it. Recently, I had the chance. A few of us decided on a group outing at the shore. One of the attractions is beach volleyball. I prefer it to surfing or body boarding. It is what I call sun and fun. I was the first one to say yes. We picked a day and hoped for good weather, but it wouldn’t matter. Even on a cloudy day, beach volleyball is exciting. So, you don’t get a tan! You do get exposure. As a woman, I comply with the attire that female players wear. You have seen the skimpy outfit the gals wear during the Olympics and other tournaments. It’s fine with me. It denotes a healthy outdoor activity that brings visible fitness to the body for all the world to see.

We play for hours, but often need a food and beverage break. Thus, we like to set up “camp” on the sand near the net complete with beach chairs and a large beach umbrella for much-needed shade. Otherwise your snacks get too hot. I do have a cooler for drinks which helps, but the umbrella is a godsend on a realty sunny day. One or two people can sit under the average umbrella and we put down large beach towels to mark our spot. If other players are in the water, I read a good book. They call it a beach book since it is light and fun. No heavy plot or deep characters to bog you down. I can also listen to music if I prefer or do both at one time.

You can take your own striped, eye-catching beach umbrella or rent one near the parking lot. I bought one some time ago as I love trips to the ocean. It makes for faster entry to the volleyball area since you don’t have to stop and pay the rental fee. You get it out of the trunk, or back of the van if that is what you drive, and you are off in no time at all. You want to do this because the volleyball courts get taken by midday at most beaches. We try to arrive early to avoid the rush. Sometimes I throw the umbrella on the sand next to the cooler and towels and set it up later after we have secured a court. You can see that I believe in advanced planning.

If you love the sun and sand, get a sturdy, durable beach umbrella that won’t let you down. You don’t want it to fail like rain umbrellas that easily get bent or turn inside out. Most beach umbrellas are made from wood so that the mechanism that opens and closes them slides with ease. Mine works to perfection.

Sore No More!

Oh, my aching back. Haven’t you heard someone say that recently. Back injuries are a perennial problem. It could be too much yardwork, overzealous exercising, or a congenital condition. Athletes are prone to the problem, including me. Is it the basketball and sudden moves that twist the torso? I don’t think so. I have been playing ball for years with no ill effects. It usually happens when you are older but still want to participate in sports. Thus, senior citizens resort to swimming or golf. The lucky spry ones can play tennis. As for me, I am still young and vital and I don’t credit basketball with any bodily harm. I will worry about it when the time comes, but it is a long way away.

Meanwhile, I must consider what is causing my body to ache. I noticed that I am sore in the morning when I awake. The culprit is not sports but my mattress. I think it is time to replace. It has been eight years which the salesmen say is past a mattress’ prime. It also might be the result of buying something too cheap and soft. I didn’t think about any back problems as I was so young at the time. Now I realize my mistake. It is time to go mattress shopping. This is not a particularly interesting outing. It is also a frustrating one as there are so many choices. You have to listen to the salesman and try each one out. You don’t know what it will be like in thirty days. Sometimes they let you keep it for a week, but most often not. I would prefer to go that route to be sure and I finally found a store that would take care of delivery and pickup in the event that it didn’t work.

I believe I made the right decision going with a medium hard model. I woke up each morning with no pains in my lower back. I had gotten used to my old softie, and this one was so different. It didn’t take long, however, to be satisfied. When I was certain that I would keep my selection, I paid for it and also found a mattress protector and a new sheet set. Why not treat yourself and get new linens to go with the new mattress. Bedtime would no longer be something to fear. I now knew that I would wakeup refreshed. This would make playing basketball that much easier. Why did I wait so long? It always is about money. The expense was not horrendous and it turned out to be well worth it. I disposed of the old mattress not feeling that it had any life left.

I particularly like having a mattress cover as they say it keeps out dust mites and it repels liquids should you find yourself sipping water in bed and tipping the bottle over. It makes the mattress last longer which is a good economic factor. Hello a good night’s rest.