Went to a pro squash match in Wilton CT. These players rank from 56 to 120 or so, and the quality of their game was way above college level. They can really whack the ball and retrieve seemingly impossible shots. Lots of long rallys. However I have to say the general play was not as strong as the other pro match I saw, when some players were as high as 24 or 36.

I’d invited a former college roommate to meet me there. Michael had never before seen a squash match. His droll comment was that “You had to be in pretty good shape to play this game.” It definitely takes endurance and flexibility. He did say he had heard over the years of heavyset guys who could place the ball so well that they won points and games in spite of their inability to move very fast or for long.

He also told me about a grossly overweight tennis coach in high school he would watch who could just stand in the middle of the court, barely move his feet, switch the racket from one hand to the other, and then win many points against his students. It was because he could place the ball so perfectly. Hard to imagine, even though I face excellent placement from many of the older guys I play doubles with. This coach would also SERVE from the baseline ON HIS KNEES, again to emphasize that you don’t need a powerful serve to win points. Just place the ball with great dexterity.

I’ve played against a guy who shifts the racket back and forth between hands. Weird. So I can vouch for that skill. But what do you think? Can anyone be even a decent competitor without a strong service game?

Frank Adams, the tennis coach I know who has written a manuscript, plays what he calls “The Walking Game,” in which he defeats opponents without running. He merely serves and walks toward the net, so that he can return the shot at a sharp angle that is totally un-gettable. Still…to just stand in the middle of the court? Maybe those kids returning the ball couldn’t place it down the sides often enough.

This morning I was up again at 3:30 to be in the woods hunting turkeys. I talked with one old boy for about 30 minutes, eventually got him off his tree and down into the pasture. After another 15 minutes, he was close enough for a clear shot without any overhanging branches in the way. I fired…and missed. Too high. But the second shot took some wing feathers. He flew away safely, and I measured the distance—it was 40 yards. Pretty far for a bow and arrow. Six inches to the right, and I’d be eating Thanksgiving dinner on Memorial Day.

Spent just under an hour at the gym yesterday. A trainer reassured me that I could work on my abs every other day, when I mentioned that I’d heard to not tax them more than twice a week. So I gave them a varied program—exercise ball, ab machine, captains chair, and from the chinning bar.

Also some lat pulls—can now do five chin ups with fingers facing me and almost three with fingers away. Also did machines and free weights. I’m gutting out something.

How long is this going to take to see some results? I have to learn how to flex these new friends. It’s so funny to be grunting and twisting in front of a mirror and not seeing anything show.