- I’ve been playing 3 days a week for the last 20+ years.
- The last 10 years have been with the same group of guys and have developed some good friendships that I value. It is also something that I have been able to do with my dad consistently through childhood and adult life.
- I love the sport and the consistent exercise & competition.
- I am extremely competitive within the sport. At the age of 16 I was competing against the #1 player in the world for junior devision titles. In December, when I entered my last competitive tournament my and my doubles partner won a game against the #1 player in WA. I believe that with the level I was at, I was just entering “my prime”.
It is for all of these reasons that the thought never occurred to me NOT to play. But about 3 months ago I started thinking about the future implications. Here are some of those:
- Racquetball takes up about 10 hours of my week (when I factor in commute time) and is fairly inflexible to time and location. This meant that I spent more effort planning around this sport than ANY other activity in my life, INCLUDING work!
- The sport is not friendly to children. Most of the clubs around don’t have much access to kids. I remember playing as a kid and my dad would argue with the club owners every week when we came about the agreement he had made to allow me to play.
- There’s not much potential. I’m not sure if the best racquetball player in the world makes more than 6 figures. Obviously, it’s not about the money but having children involved in a small sport means that you are limiting future involvement, competition, availability, scholarship potential, and the ability to play a sport within community.
The bottom line was this. Looking at the past made it hard to let go. But looking to the future made it an inevitable decision. I could get better and quit in 20 years but why put off the inevitable? Why not spend the next 20 years re-investing into an activity that is more family friendly and will give a better yield on our investment? So, in December I asked one of the best players in the state to be my partner in an open doubles tournament. We placed 2nd and my dad and I placed 1st. Then I said “goodbye.” Everyone said, “you’ll be back.” I don’t think I will. In the meantime my immediate health has suffered but we have taken up swimming and plan to take up tennis as a family. Thanks to everyone who played, supported, and hindered with me for the last 20 years. I have no regrets over my time and enjoyed it while it lasted.
One question to consider is how many things are we hanging on to just because we’re looking at the past? Where do you want to be in 20 years? Are your current choices taking you there?