Amateur sports, Injuries and Thirties

I recently entered my thirties. Birthdays which are usually a celebratory occasion had a tinge of somberness about it this time around. A feeling suddenly hit me that three decades of my life have elapsed. God only knows, how many more to go.

It was a bit unsettling for me.

My unpredictable lifestyle – in the decade that had turned its back on me – was hardly something to boast about. That left me wondering. I wasn’t quite sure if I have already hit the mid-point of my life. In a strange way, it was perhaps my first real brush with mortality. I haven’t been taking great care of myself. I certainly haven’t been exercising regularly. Nor have I been meticulous with my diet. In-fact, I am still trying to satiate my taste buds all the time instead of listening to my body and figuring out a nutrition plan that would work for me.

Sure, I have always played sports with some degree of regularity and a ton of interest. But now I was left wondering if that alone could save me. In fact, on deeper introspection, I came to the gnarly realization that sports was perhaps causing me more damage than good.

Let me clarify. I am not suggesting that we should refrain from playing sports. Quite the opposite. One should play as much as possible & as many different sports as possible. But when I looked back at my own life, a grim picture began to emerge. I realized that as I grew older & advanced towards thirty, I was beginning to pick up niggles and injuries that I didn’t even know existed when I was a teenager.

To me, a hamstring injury was only something elite European footballers experienced until of course a 29 year old me pulled his left hammy trying to defend resolutely in a five-a-side football game against pacy & perky teenagers. Or that time, when I tried to ape Dhoni by attempting his ludicrous helicopter shot in a corporate cricket tournament. I nearly broke my ankle. Well, I made contact, but sadly not with the ball. Much more recently, I have been playing badminton at full throttle. And while my game is improving at its own languid pace, the condition of my lower back is worsening much more rapidly.

I figured the end of a decade in ones life ought to be the right time to not only reminisce but also reflect. A lot of people start hitting the gym, adopt a diet or hire a personal physical trainer in their thirties. I used to often wonder what is it about turning thirty that compels people to do this. Of course, different people have different reasons. And I am going to have my own reasons. At the moment, it looks like the most compelling reason for my impending lifestyle transformation would have to be injury avoidance.

Otherwise, I better announce to myself that I am retiring effective immediately from all forms of amateur sports.

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