Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Who needs Atkins?

Racquetball is the panacea of our age.  There is no miracle diet or pill, just racquetball.

I’ve determined this after four months of intense research.  Like most “research” in my life it wasn’t intentional, but I’m going to look back on it and say I had a grand plan.  I started off the semester at 155 pounds, which was a record low for me in my adult life.  This was entirely due to a semester of authentic Chinese food, which is very often indigestible.  One of the last things I had to do to graduate was take a final gym class, and I decided racquetball was the answer.  

Why racquetball?  I’d already taken the two easiest gym classes, bowling and weightlifting.  I could opt for hockey, scuba diving or skiing, which are all popular among upperclassmen.  But I wanted something less time intensive and that I might actually continue back on the east coast.  I decided that if I was going to be a doctor, I should start acting like one.  Golf is too dorky, and I hope that I will view it as such no matter how old I get.  Tennis is a decent enough sport, but is too preppy.  Racquetball is like the hip, urban tennis.  Just what I’ll need to be one of the cool doctors.    

It turns out that I’m immensely bad at racquetball.  This was no great surprise to me, since I have yet to find a sport that I’m good at.  I have a couple where I’m moderately competent, but none at which I excel.  But even in relation to other sports, I suck at racquetball.  I’m too slow, and more importantly, my reactions are too slow.  Us gamers tell everyone that videogames increase our eye-hand coordination and reflexes, but it’s all a lie.  I can shoot an alien in a tenth of a second, but I can’t hit a racquetball worth anything.  So after a semester of reinforcing my belief that I should never attempt a sport again, I returned home.

So, back to racquetball curing all the world’s health problems.  Although I had certainly gotten better over the course of the semester, I still was horrendously bad.  So developing skill was a complete failure.  But it turns out that I lost 2 pounds.  I don’t own a scale, so only know my actual weight when I return home to NY.  As an aspiring doctor I realize that a 2 pound weight loss in 4 months is not exactly a tremendous success.  However, you have to consider what else I did in that 4 months.  The answer: almost nothing.  I can’t think of a single athletic activity I participated in that semester, other than my racquetball class.  Furthermore, I ate horribly.  I probably ordered a pizza a week and ate fastfood every couple days.  I was expecting to be five or ten pounds heavier after neglecting my health for this period.  

The conclusion: playing racquetball for 2 hours a week (sometimes 3) will allow you to do no other exercise and eat anything you want, while maintaining a constant weight.  I can’t speak to my health, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have scurvy.  And can you ask for anything more than that?  I certainly don’t.  


Emily said...

"Racquetball is like the hip, urban tennis. Just what I’ll need to be one of the cool doctors."

For the record: my personal image of raquetball is 47+ year old overweight, sweaty men wearing white in a white room. It is unattractive, unhip, and uncool.

ellie o said...

I love raquetball--and even the adorable sweaty men of all ages who play it with the possible exception of those with beer-bellies. A point in passing: they never wear white in my experience--at least not before Memorial day. The game has little more intensity than tennis--the "kill shot" is a bit more visceral than a tennis overhead slam and one does run the risk of getting whacked and bruised painfully by balls and racquets. It brings out my Amazon side which is fun from time to time.

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