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I never heard of wallyball until two weeks ago when my friend Marianna and I spent three days at the Tennessee Fitness Spa. To celebrate turning seventy this year, we wanted to do something new, something different, and something a bit crazy.

A fitness spa deep in the TN woods, home to a Natural Bridge and an Ice Cave, met our criteria.

Each night, we circled the classes on the “training schedule” we planned to attend the next day. Wallyball didn’t get circled. But, one day, a fellow fitness fella came to the gym and asked for volunteers.

I raised my hand; I was in.

Marianna and I had just finished two and a half hours of participating in land and water aerobic classes, more exercises than we’d probably ever done in our adult lives.

On seeing me volunteer, she said, “You’re nuts!”

So why did I say yes? Some decisions can be beyond rational.

The last time I played volleyball was forty years ago, and the last time I played racquetball was thirty years ago. So I guess it was a bit nuts, but it was new and it was different, and this is what I wanted out of this fitness spa outing.

Once I got on the racquetball court, I had to ask how to play the game. Except when you serve, try to hit the ball on the wall of the opponents’ side. Easy enough.

However, I forgot to remember that I’m not as agile as I was thirty and forty years ago. I forgot to remember that serving the ball could be painful on the fist. I also forgot to remember than my opponent could mistake my face for a wall.

In spite of these memory lapses, I managed to stay upright and mostly uninjured during three games. I can’t tell you why, but an inner voice of reason told me to quit before playing a fourth. Luckily, because two others did get injured in that fourth game. And, if that were me, I would not have had the chance to make more irrational decisions if couch-bound with my affected extremity elevated and packed in ice.

Of the entire spa experience–all the land and water classes, I single out my success in playing wollyball because I was so pleasantly surprised that I could still play. That I could still raise my arms above my head (quickly)…pivot on my feet (quickly)…set up a ball (quickly)…serve the ball (not so quickly and not without a weeping uproar from the blood vessels in my fist).

And, I admit, it was a good thing that there was no time to contemplate which muscles were screaming or where the energy was coming from for this most sustained and rigorous movement I’ve done in years. The point is I discovered I could be physically successful at something way outside of my everyday experience.

Dream a little. Some people come to the spa to lose weight. Some come for a retreat from their normal world. Pretend you’re going. What would you like to discover about yourself?  Perhaps an untapped potential. What would pleasantly surprise you?

Whatever it is, submerge yourself for a bit in the serene ambiance of this healing place.

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