As a coach & motivational speaker by profession, when I share my story of “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” my audience always respond in awe! This particular experience’s “Grand finale” is still quite a recent reality and it hasn’t sunk in as yet so I thought to share it with my readers as my first blog.
I started my journey of “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” about a decade ago in 2007. Picking a new activity each year and challenging myself to face my fears doing the unthinkable for the inner me…
Each activity brought about a new dimension to myself…..It was like I was discovering a new version of myself as I overcame every new challenge. This is a story of one such “never done before thing”, A challenge I took upon myself five years ago in 2012 – by starting a sport called Squash. I vividly remember my husband (Sundeep) taking this activity with some of his office mates & I had absolutely no exposure to sports ever; it intrigued me enough to ask if I can join them for a practice game.
Sundeep & myself are childhood sweethearts, we have known each other since we were 16, so no quick judgement on him when I say that he laughed at my suggestion saying “If I were to throw a beach ball at you, you’d miss it, this game isn’t your cup of tea! It is a hardcore serious sport!” he said I don’t blame him, becausewhat he said was very true, I had practically zero hand eye co-ordination since I had never ever played any sport either in school or university. He may have been absolutely right in his assumption that any sports let alone squash wasn’t for me.
All I needed to hear was “You can’t do it” to challenge myself enough to go for it….
This started my journey into the world of Squash and my training routines. It did help that I was a complete fitness fanatic, having always trained hard to maintain a healthy weight & healthy life style enduring two pregnancies and being a mother to two beautiful girls.
First thing I invested in was serious commitment of time; a dedicated trainer, and the paraphernalia of the necessary equipment.
Time was the toughest investment I had to make as juggling between being a Wife, Mother, Business woman & my personal space. I realized that I had barely any time for squash trainings. Then again for me everything boils down to WILL, I made thrice a week training schedule as a part of my new fitness regimen.
In the first month of my training I had a bad ankle injury, that put me off the game for a month and got me in trouble with my loved ones who again reminded me how this sport wasn’t for me especially at the age when people quit sports and get into less stressful ones such as yoga or meditation.
And here I was entering into the world of squash.. I was in my late 30’s to have this bug in me of proving to myself that I can do this.
Though this injury was my first very soon I realized it will not be my last. I was on bed rest twice in the years to come injuring my ankle and also learning a very important lesson that sports injuries are a part of a sports person’s life. With time I also realized I was more scared of my family’s reaction then to the actual pain of the injury
In the first year I lost the count on the number of times people reminded me how I can’t start to learn squash this late in life considering my age and my body not having a sporting muscle in me. The more Nay’s I heard the more Yay’s I told myself.
Thrice week training went on for months and then years. Squash was like an addiction I never had.
I was about two years into this sport when people started noticing my game, I was asked to participate in the Kenya Squash Ladies League by the KSRA (Kenya Squash Racquet Association) administrator. I was shocked beyond belief and it was just the encouragement I needed! To simply participate in a serious tournament was a highlight. By now my family had seen a different side of me and were extremely proud of me.
I played my first league match in the bottom division- 6. I lost most of my games but met some amazing players & learnt some important lessons which helped me in my future games.
2014 I got awarded “The most promising player of the league” medal during the Kenya ladies league. Yes, I was very happy though deep down I knew that such titles were a mere consolation for any sports person.
Slowly & steadily with a rigorous training regimen my game started improving and I kept rising up the division ladder. It’s these little victories that you cherish, to me even the rise in the seed level was an achievement.
I have learnt that as much as embarrassing it was many times in the squash courts to be playing as a beginner with younger players with over a decade of experience and pros; if we persevere we gain their respect. It is all about sticking to what we decide. Failing, falling, losing but still sticking to what we decide…..
“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance all things are attainable” this innate belief in me kept me going.
With never having played any sports before the age of 37, today at the age of 42, this year I am a part of the WINNING TEAM who won the Winner’s Trophy for the Kenya Ladies League. Although it was a team event my contribution to the winning points was equal to the rest. I am still giddy with the whole excitement of this moment.
This day will forever be marked into my gallery of happiest hallmark moments. Sharing few pictures of the prize giving ceremony with my readers.
When I hear my husband proudly speak about my squash achievements to his mates or my daughters gushing over my new victory I guess I tell myself it is time to introduce Binny Version 2.0 to the world 😉
My message to all the women out there, Perseverance, determination, Grit is all it takes to achieve your dreams! Don’t short sell yourself ladies…. We have the power to be whoever we want to be!
“I am Power, I am strength, I am determination” are the magic words that I have always used for myself internally when in a nail biting game of squash or an anxiety filled big presentation. It works miracles like some divine intervention we all talk about. My point is, that the power is within us, we are our own super heroes. We just need to awaken that spirit in us.
Squash is a sport in which two players hit a ball with a racket (or Racquet). The aim of the game is to beat the other player by hitting the front wall and making the ball bounce twice on the floor before they can hit their turn, or for them to hit the ball out of play.
Squash features as no.1 in Forbes List of Top Ten Healthiest Sports. The only sport where you cannot play to be fit, you have to be fit to play the sport.
Please like and share if my story has inspired you. Do write to me your comments or questions, I would love to hear from you.
Cheers beautiful People….