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So, what does a writer do when she's not writing? Thinking about writing, of course. Planning the next day, jotting down ideas, researching, corresponding - BUT there comes a time when the mind just shuts down and the body says, "MY turn." It's a very singular, lonely, sedentary job, writing is. Which is why my other passion is as challenging physically as writing is mentally. That would be.....


One way to shoot the ball.
Huh? You ask. Handball? No, not the sport that you only hear about during the Olympics - that's team handball - sort of like soccer only you can use you, well, hands. MY handball is court handball. You know, sort of like racquetball only without the weapons, er, I mean racquets.

You ask, isn't that - no offense - a MAN'S sport? While men first starting playing handball (like all sports) women have become increasingly involved over the last twenty years. I grant you, our numbers are small, but our spirit is great. Here in the Northwest, there are only a handful of women playing regularly. So, when I play, I play men.

It's a tough sport, as anyone who has been infected with this disease will tell you. If you aren't familiar with handball, it's played on a racquetball court - which by the way, was a handball court long before it was a racquetball court - and in handball, your only two weapons are your right and your left hands. The ball is smaller, heavier and harder than a racquetball. Playing handball forces you to develop your off-hand side. Just try effectively throwing a ball with your off-hand and see what I mean. It takes years to develop handball skills, but you'll know the first time you make contact with that little hard ball if this is the game for you.


I guess that's why there are men's age brackets up to 80 and over in the National Tournaments! I guess that's why I hope to play it for the rest of my life. To ensure that level of fitness, I also run, bike, and (yuk) lift weights. Again, we writers need some mean physical activity to balance out the hours of utilizing butt glue - you know, that stuff we have to coat on our chairs in order to keep us working.

Writers should downplay the use of adverbs, but. . . I play handball aggressively, competitively, avidly, passionately, constantly, and lovingly. That's how addicted to this game I am. If you're a player and are ever in the Tacoma, Washington area, drop me an email and I'll set something up.

If you want to know more about this game, link over to the United State Handball Association at http://www.ushandball.org

Randall Platt


Randall sez:
Play every game as though it was your last. One of these times, it will be!


Why handball and writing are alike: Rejection letters are like lost games. It feels rotten, no matter how you look at it. But if you keep playing, keep submitting those stories, you will see that you are 'losing better and better.'


Hand-ball - a game where two adults lock themselves in a room and bash a small ball against the walls with their hands.


Okay, so I'm a huge supporter of healthy, slow weight loss for those who need to dump about twenty years' of weight gain. So here are the ten things you should invest in to loss weight. I'm not a doctor. You know the rest of the disclaimer:

  1. measurizers - food scale, bath scales, liquid and dry measuring devices, measuring tape and (pause to reach for smelling salts) a fat caliper.
  2. a computer program to help you chart calorie intake and calorie outtake - excercise!
  3. a year's supply of sugarless gum, mints, and sunflower seeds
  4. running or walking shoes
  5. a step counter
  6. mouthwash/ toothpaste/ floss - no one likes to eat after having all that in one's mouth
  7. a air popcorn popper and non fat 'butter' spray
  8. cases and cases of 100 calorie packs of snacks
  9. a tanker full of water
  10. hand weights, rubber cords or anything 'work out' that will holler guilty phrases at you if you don't use them