The beauty of numbers: 1 and 3

The numbers 1 and 3 can mean many things... One and Three Chairs, a group of amino acids, the proportion of British workers who suffer from chronic lack of sleep, or the number of babies born this year that will live to the grand old age of 100. They're also prime numbers whichever way you use them... 1 or 3 or 13 or 31.

The number 13 is believed unlucky... there are 13 steps to a gallows and 13 is the minimum number of twists to make a traditional hangman's rope to do the job effectively. It was also the number of people around the table at the Last Supper. Happily they were welcome numbers for me this week when put together in the form of 3 - 1.

Been playing son David squash twice weekly for ages now... actually it's been a quarter of a century, ever since he was aged about 10. So with me on the fast road to velcro slippers and a high waistband, him in his prime mid thirties, wins for me are few and far between. Keep trying to persuade him to play racquetball, where my stamina has a better chance against his skill, but he's dead against it and to be fair he's now getting payback for all the years I beat him when he was a kid.

Was holding my own (almost) up to when he broke his leg last May. When we resumed hostilities in September the pin in his leg did slow him down somewhat, but he's nearly back to normal now. The lay off did me more harm than him.

This year I'd only won two matches so far, both of those quite a while ago, so I'm having to resort to adjusting the rules periodically to give me a chance of an overall win this year, or at least to keep some element of doubt in the final result. Now so far behind in matches, my current favourite is to switch to quarterly scores. That means David would now be 1-0 up in quarters and about 3 -0 up in matches for the second quarter of the year. Sounds much better than 21-2 doesn't it? And the inevitable result of a win for the year to him can't happen until the end of September even if he won every match from now on.

But back to the topic...

And with some style as well. Cue multiple excuses from David, the prime one being his racquet grip was worn and kept slipping about in his hand. Even voicing that as he came through the door for his weekly evening dinner a couple of hours later... doesn't make it any truer though!

Being ever the optimist, I see regular wins stretching out in front of me for some time in the future. The reality is I can't go on being the Peter Pan of the squash courts for ever. Been lucky up to now, most squash players' knees have gone by my age with all the twisting, turning and sprinting. No major bits have dropped off me (recently) so I struggle on.

The last 'mature' player at our courts was Bob, who still played into his 70s. Was an unreal experience to see him take on one of the young up and coming beaux. Stuck in the middle of the court with his opponent rushing around him, any ball that came near was killed. If the opponent had any sense they'd play the ball up the sides where it was some years since Bob had been seen to reach such areas of the court. But many's the time I've seen a young strapping player come off court with a puzzled expression, having just lost the match. Bob would follow off court some time later.


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