How My Squash Coach Changed My Life

How My Squash Coach Changed My Life
I have grown up surrounded by strong women around me, perhaps in our Kashmiri families we’ve seen matriarchal societies with the clear understanding that a woman, particularly a mother, is the reigning queen. I’ve seen examples of women in my own family that are balanced. They have their own identity yet are able to balance the act of family life beautifully. I’ve also seen very loving men around too, especially men who are incredibly committed to family lives, particularly to their children. But now, as I grow up and look around me, I see men who are incomplete in so many ways. 

I am disappointed by men of this generation-  not all, certainly not my friends- but a majority of them. The respect, the honour, the commitment, the love that trace back to their roots- it isn't there. They are damaged souls drowning their negativity and bitterness in alcohol and other substances, night after night. I meet many men, some married, ready to pounce for an affair with no consideration of wife or children and I ask myself, where did the society start its breakfall? When did it become okay to be so casual in relationships, friendships and marriage?

And as these thoughts swirled in my head, I walked into the squash courts and into the “Coach’s office”.

It was the day my life changed.

I looked at him and saw a white light surrounding him. For those who understand energy, you already know what white light represents.  It was the first time I have seen it shine so strongly from a man before.  He looked at me and said, “ Maam, please take a seat.” My heart wished to ask, “ Are you an angel?” but I was in awe of the light I was receiving. With his kind, beautiful green eyes, he asked me, “ Do you wish to learn squash?”  I replied, “ No, I wish to be the best female player on this court.”  He responds, “ Well first you will need to build stamina.” And I smiled and said, “ I can run up and down mountains sir, put me in the courts, give me a racquet, let's go play NOW NOW NOW.”  (sounding like a fiver-year-old version of myself).

And so began my squash journey...

I have never learned so much from a man or a sport before than I have in the last year. We started slowly -  he controlled my energy. He controlled my anger. He controlled my exhaustion. He controlled my disappointment. He controlled my growth as a human. All with a racquet and a ball in a four wall court. I didn’t get a coach, I got a mentor, I got an older brother.  He taught me what a God-fearing man is. He taught me what a good man is and most importantly a man who looks down when a woman walks in.

He knew what I held deep inside,

“There is a lot of anger inside of you that you release on the court, what makes you angry?”  “ Injustice,” I responded. “ It angers me when a man treats a woman poorly or vice versa or when a rich person is unjust to a poor person or when someone puts me down..so many reasons coach.”

It is not your job to do justice. That is His Job.

But …I can do something to help them.

It is not your job. He’s the one who balances the scales.

But coach…

No but coach. Either you take squash seriously or you don’t. You will come to my courts with your mind in the court. You will stop all other physical activity- no hiking, no yoga no riding.

But coach I’ll die.

You will rest your body and mind and let the muscles recover.

But coach I’ll die.

You have to concentrate on your performance.

Yes Sir.

And since then, I’ve learned to focus. Focus on things that matter in real time. My mind, my heart is no longer multi-tasking. When I’m here, wherever that is, I am alert and present.  I focus on my performace, whether that is at work, with friends, in the courts.

I focus, I am mindful of where I am and what I am doing. Am I the best possible person at that time? Am I striving to be better? Am I pushing myself harder to be kinder? Am I focusing on that ball coming at a speed I can’t imagine. Are my senses alert? Life is like that court for me. I am a one woman army armed with a racquet, fighting my battles. Some days I am tired, some days I am a “ Tiger”, some days I lose terribly, some days he lets me a win, some days my leg’s injury gives in and I can barely walk home but everyday when I am on that court, I don’t give up.  I don’t give up. I am a fighter. Life isn’t about winning or losing. It is about showing up at that court everyday. Life is about someone believing in you.  For many things in life I am grateful, but for this honorable kind hearted, super good looking new found brother of mine, I am indebted.

Disclaimer: The opinion, belief and viewpoints expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoints of Hello! Pakistan or official policies of Hello! Pakistan

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