"Yes, once upon a time Yoda said: don't try, do.
But that was then, this is now: don't do, start with the try."
- Barb Elgin
So today I read a thought-provoking blog post written by Sarah Ansboury, one of my favorite pickleball coaches. She's a pro and an instructor and I had the fortune of taking some lessons with Sarah Ansboury near the Delaware beaches awhile back.
This post - on the importance of choosing a partner you are comfortable with got me to thinking: reading her words had me doing one of my metaphorical reflections on the state of living as an individual today...
On a global level, we are living at a dizzying, challenging time in history where everyone is clashing and banging if you will, together, by virtue of the abilities we now have to communicate and travel great distances, physically and virtually. This in comparison to most of our ancestors, who lived their whole lives in small towns and maybe never even leaving that town. Or, if they traveled with their tribe, they stayed in that same group of people.
You have a lot of naysayers, lamenting how dangerous all of this is and how much trouble modern ways are creating. And yes, you've even heard me complain one of the downsides of living today is being overwhelmed with information and the relentless pace of life.
And yet, I say: fear not. It doesn't for example, help to worry about that which we can't control.
As in other challenging times in history (that means all other times LOL), we who adapt survive. Those who give in or give up: well you know what tends to happen there.
To say it negatively: all of us are victims of our own success. In a sense. But, isn't that the price of progress? Part of the 'dangers' of life today, if you will, is that the human body and the earth itself, is reeling to keep up with what is happening in and around us. I can give you dozens of examples. As we've educated ourselves, we've created progress such as higher levels of education for more of us, the women's rights movement, gay rights, civil rights, the rise of the computer and technology, etc.
While at one time we improved working conditions for workers, today we find employers having to struggle to keep any semblance of such an agreement due to the pressures of globalization (and some would say greed). For example: since those in power have made doing business more about making stockholders rich than creating (and rewarding) true value, we find ourselves struggling to create the kinds of jobs unions used to bring us.
As awareness has expanded, we've learned so much more about what makes us healthy mentally. When a person 'raises their consciousness' and says no to abusive treatment by a spouse or in my case, outgrows their partner, what is our choice? Do we act on the truth or run from it?
I think you get my point, eh?
Ansboury's article topic is on finding a partner you are 'comfortable' with. Definitely something I can relate to. I've played with many partners, men and women, over my years of playing recreational pickleball. Despite that, I still haven't found a male or female partner I can reliably play with or attend a tournament with, and I decided to consider why.
Well, you know me, blame has no place here. However, I recognize it is up to me to make it happen. And that's how life has always been, hasn't it? You see, I may be an avid student of communications (and a teacher of it as well), but that doesn't mean I still don't need to do the work to get what I envision.
I'd like to find a partner who is on my level or a bit higher. That makes sense - one never wants to choose a 'partner' in whatever endeavor they are attempting, who is too different. But some difference is good. In my early years of play in Baltimore, I had a couple of male partners, one about my age and one significantly younger. We did well. I found that playing with a guy a bit better than me is really a 'go to'. However, the older guy got injured and doesn't play anymore (at least around here) and the younger guy has gone on to focus in on playing with another higher-ranked woman and guys more his age.
One of my favorite pickleball buddies is a guy, and I tried to partner with him but our differences around age and personality were too great. Most women my age in my area are already partnered up, often with their spouses. Now that is an area I've explored some: finding a female partner who may already have a mixed doubles partner who is open to a female doubles partner.
I've learned too that many don't want to go so far as to even partner, they are playing for fun and that's that.
Most of the women I play with recreationally are either above me in level or below me. Go figure. And many now play such a 'banger' type of game (and don't seem to get it when I suggest slowing down, both to sustain my energy - I'm asthmatic and tire more easily), while I like the finesse game, because I just can't keep up with all banging all the time!
I've reached out to a few women who seem similar in terms of style, personality and level and many are too busy with their lives to do tournaments.
So recently I've settled back into just doing the same: recreational play, without an agenda. Actually it's been fitting my energy and time availability.
Still I dream of finding the compatible playing partner ready to go wild doing some tournaments!
I think my experience looking for partners to play pickleball is similar to life today. There are so many options. Thus, we can be more choosy. And therein lies the rub: to get better, you have to have choice but with choice comes the work of choosing among alternatives. And when you have a few contenders, doing the work to get through the inevitable conflicts to learning whether your styles will work well together. Too many I find, avoid that. Instead find something wrong with a potential partner before they even get started.
Again the analogy to life fits: there is always better, if we take the risk. Don't judge your potential partner from afar: based on one or two interactions. Give it time and interact, and don't judge what they do or don't say. Use your communication abilities to see the potential.