Volleyball and Sushi

My arm hurts, but I had a fun day today.

This morning, I played real, indoor volleyball for the first time in 10+ years. (I'd occasionally played sand volleyball at Yahoo's corporate headquarters during my 8-year stint as a Yahoo, but that doesn't really count.)

Apparently, there's a little Mommy League for volleyball, of moms at various Kyoto preschools. I don't know many details except that I'm not allowed to actually play in the games (I lack appropriate Mommyness), but I can still practice with them. Anthony's preschool doesn't have a lot of volleyball moms, so they need all the warm fee-paying bodies they can get. Today was the first practice day.

I was not surprised to find that despite 10+ years passing since I last played, I was every bit as horrible as I was before. I know how to play correctly, but I'm just not good at it. People are surprised to find out that I'm not a pro, for they assume that anyone who is 192cm tall must be great at every sport but horse jockey, but let me tell you, height is a poor substitute for skill.

Still, I served a noble purpose: I infused confidence. When these ladies got a ball past my block (or, as happened once, spiked the ball into my face), they felt a huge David vs. Goliath type of confidence. So I felt satisfied with a job well done.

Practice lasted for two hours, but having been given bad directions, I got there late. I'd ridden my scooter and was driving around looking for the place when at a stop light a mailman stopped beside me. Mailmen know where everything is, don't they? So I asked where the Central Ward Community Center was. He didn't know.

He did mention that the “City Hall” type administrative building for Kyoto's Central Ward was right there on the corner at which we were stopped, and that was good enough for me. I went in and asked. They'd never heard of the Central Ward Community Center, because, it turns out, no such place exists. (I refer you back to the bit about “bad directions” for the root cause of my predicament.) I mentioned “volleyball” and the kind man made a bunch of phone calls.

He eventually looked up from the phone, and in a voice that said “I'm about to ask the most stupid question I've ever asked”, asked ”the Mommy League?

Yes, I'm a Mommy.”

I ended up arriving 15 minutes late, but that's okay, since no one had really started practicing yet. It's a Mommy league, after all. There were two infants crawling around on the floor.

After practice, despite having worked up a good sweat, I felt good, so continued on to the gym. 25 minutes into my 30 minutes on the elliptical cross trainer I hit the wall and suddenly became very tired. But the “cold plunge” bath afterword felt great. And very much to my surprise, my post-bath weight measurement hit 91.32kg (201.33 pounds), the lowest I've been in many years. And this, despite having put on a bit of upper-body muscle along the way. Nice.

Afterwords, I went to a supermarket elsewhere in the mall where the gym is, and got a package of sushi, and some Coke (happy with my reduced weight, I opted for Diet Coke), and brought it to the food court to eat. As I was eating it, I noticed that two old ladies nearby were looking at me with amused faces. I instinctively knew what it was about -- it's not that I was eating sushi, nor that I was drinking Coke. It's that I was doing both at the same time. I just smiled, and said “yes, it's an odd combination, isn't it”. I explained that I'd just come from the gym and was dying for a Coke, and that I liked it. (I didn't explain that since I can't get the caffeine-free version in Japan, I don't have Coke very much, so when I have a craving for it, I indulge myself.)

They seemed to have ignored my explanation and suggested that tea would be a better choice for sushi. I acknowledge the correctness of their obvious statement, and smiled some more.

I think they took pity on me, because they brought me a cup of water before they left.

After I got home, we took Anthony to get a hair cut. But that's its own story, for another day when I'm not so tired and my shoulder doesn't hurt. Maybe tomorrow, but maybe not: volleyball practice starts at 10am.


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