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小小乒乓球,我的青春泉

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luyuna

2017年03月20日

随身学
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I returned home the other night exhausted, quadriceps aching, twinges in my foot, salty with sweat. My husband asked me how my evening was.

又是一个精疲力尽回到家中的晚上,四头肌隐隐作痛,双脚发出阵阵刺疼,全身都是咸咸的汗水。丈夫问我这个晚上过得怎么样。

Glorious, I told him.

棒极了,我告诉他。

I had spent 90 minutes in a gym crammed with 10 Ping-Pong tables and assorted players, all coaxing and smacking a little ball over the net. By 9 p.m., I was exhilarated, depleted, triumphant. I had beaten two young men half my age and lost battles against worthy opponents. To a casual observer, the night was unremarkable. To me, it was a miracle.

我在健身房待了90分钟,那里有10个乒乓球桌和各种各样打球的人,所有人都在轻打猛扣,千方百计把那个小球弄过网。到了晚上9点,我感到兴奋、疲惫、心满意足。我打败了两个年纪是我的一半的年轻人,也输给了值得尊敬的对手。对于随便看看的人来说,这个晚上很普通。但对于我来说却是一个奇迹。

I had taken up Ping-Pong during college, and in my 30s dove in more deeply, climbing the long stairway up to a table tennis center in Westfield, N.J., where I watched Olympic hopefuls and took lessons. Arthroscopy for torn knee cartilage soon sidelined me. Shortly afterward, a distracted driver made an illegal turn at a pedestrian crossing and drove directly into my bum knee.

我是从大学开始打乒乓球的,30多岁的时候,我更深地投入这项运动,爬上长长的楼梯,来到纽约州韦斯特菲尔德的一个乒乓球中心,在那里我看到了有望参加奥运的选手打球,还上了课。不久后,膝关节软骨损伤的关节镜检查结果令我只能退出。又过了没多久,一个走神的司机在人行道上违章转弯,直接撞上了我受损的膝盖。

Joint replacements are a poor bet for 30-somethings. The surgeon did his best to repair my crushed knee, inserted a titanium screw, recommended I stay slim, advised against afternoons of power shopping, and told me never to jog or run again.

对于30多岁的人来说,关节置换风险太大。外科医生做了最大努力修复我破碎的膝盖,在里面植入了一颗钛螺钉,建议我保持身材苗条,别再大下午的去疯狂逛街购物了,并且告诉我千万不要再跑步。

Three months in a cast left my atrophied foot floppy and useless. Standing was excruciating. I hunted for shoes that could cushion my knee and set my sights on walking and climbing stairs again. Years later, I tried to play Ping-Pong and limped for a week. I put the game out of my mind.

我萎缩的双脚被固定了三个月,变得软绵绵的,毫无用处,连站着都是一种折磨。我到处寻找能够让膝盖得到缓冲的鞋子,把自己的奋斗目标定为能够重新走路和爬楼梯。几年后,我试着打乒乓球,结果瘸了一个星期,于是就不再考虑这项运动。

When I was 53, a new challenge arrived. A dimple in my right breast proved malignant, so I underwent lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. By treatment’s end, clothing felt intolerable, and a stroll around the block winded me. My old knee injury hurt anew; flesh around the scar felt fragile as old rubber bands.

53岁那年,一个新的挑战来了。我右乳房上的一个小坑被证明是恶性的,于是我接受了乳房肿瘤切除术,接着是化疗和放疗。治疗结束时,穿衣服都是难以忍受的事;在街区散步也会觉得喘不过气来;膝盖旧伤再次复发;疤痕周围的肌肉非常脆弱,就像老旧的橡皮筋一样。

But I wanted to start fresh. I quit eating barbecue, shunned dairy, embraced kale. I attended therapy and a support group. At a $450 course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, I learned to befriend painful stretches and breathe new life into atrophied muscles without injuring myself.

但我希望能有一个全新的开始。我放弃了吃烧烤,避免乳制品,吃羽衣甘蓝。我积极治疗,参加了一个互助小组。在一个学费为450美元的正念减压课程里,我学会了和痛苦的拉伸运动做朋友,通过呼吸为萎缩的肌肉带来新生命,又不至于受伤。

One day my bad leg was working slightly better. The knee hadn’t been oppressively swollen in a while. I felt a flicker of hope.

有一天我的伤腿稍微好转了一点。膝盖有一段时间没有出现痛苦的肿胀。我感到了一线希望。

Could Ping-Pong be feasible for me, now — in my condition, at my age?

现在我有可能打乒乓球吗——以我的条件,以我的年龄?

Ping-Pong, or table tennis as it is officially known, is one of the fastest racket sports, requiring muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance. Players need nimble footwork and upper body flexibility to return balls that can fly over 60 miles per hour, demanding faster response times than tennis or badminton. While energy expenditure tables list the sport as requiring four METS of energy, about the same as archery or bowling, skilled players can peak at 11.7 METs during a match, said Alessandro Moura Zagatto, a sports physiologist and researcher at São Paulo State University in Brazil. That’s a workout comparable to intense racquetball or moderate rowing.

乒乓球是最快的球拍运动之一,它需要肌肉和心肺耐力。球手需要有灵活的步法和上身的柔韧性,以便击回时速可达60英里的球,这需要比打网球或羽毛球反应更快。巴西圣保罗州立大学的体育生理学家、研究员亚历桑德罗·莫拉·扎加托(Alessandro Moura Zagatto)说,虽然根据能量消耗表,这项运动需要消耗四代谢当量(METS)的能量,大约与射箭或保龄球相同,不过高水平球员可以在每场比赛中消耗11.7代谢当量。这个锻炼强度相当于激烈的壁球比赛或适度的划船运动。

Ping-Pong’s unique visual and spatial demands, strategy requirements and vigor may even offer benefits for the brain. A study of 164 Korean women age 60 and older showed that table tennis improved cognitive function more than dancing, walking, gymnastics or resistance training. Other research suggests Ping-Pong may ease attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

乒乓球有独特的视觉和空间要求,以及独特的战略要求和气势,这甚至对大脑有益。对164名年龄在60岁及以上的韩国女性的研究表明,在提高认知能力方面,乒乓球比跳舞、步行、体操或阻力训练更为有效。还有研究表明,乒乓或许可以缓解注意力缺陷多动障碍。

“The great thing about our sport is it can be played by anyone,” said Jimmy Butler, a four-time national USA Table Tennis Association champion who overcame a debilitating muscle condition in his 20s and 30s to reclaim the title at age 44. “I see 90-year-olds and 10-year-olds.”

“我们这项运动最棒的地方就在于任何人都能玩,”吉米·巴特勒(Jimmy Butler)说,他曾经四次获得美国乒乓球协会冠军,44岁那年,他克服了二三十岁期间的肌无力状况,重新赢得了冠军。“我见过90岁的人打乒乓球,也见过10岁的人打乒乓球。”

Four years after completing radiation therapy, I set out to make my own Ping-Pong dream a reality. First requirement: clothing that didn’t irritate hypersensitive skin. Silk shell and organic cotton sports bra, check. Second requirement: footwear that didn’t accidentally torque a damaged knee. White bowling shoes, check.

完成放疗四年后,我着手让自己的乒乓梦成为现实。第一个条件:穿的衣服不能刺激我极为敏感的皮肤。丝绸外套,有机纯棉运动文胸,有了。第二个条件:不会对受损膝盖造成意外扭伤的鞋子。白色保龄球鞋,有了。

My performance goals were realistic: Just be good enough that other players were willing to rally with me. No diving for crazy shots. Remember how to sweat.

我的运动目标很现实:只要好到其他人愿意和我来回拉球就够了。不要做出高难度的击球动作。回想起人是怎么出汗的。

I arrived at my local table tennis club cautiously, a breathtakingly out-of-shape woman in a sea of men, some in their 20s, a handful over 80. A man with a kind face invited me to hit with him. After 20 minutes I wilted, but went home happy. My knee didn’t implode.

我谨慎地来到了当地的乒乓球俱乐部,一大堆男人当中,只有我一个看上去极为不健康的女人。他们有人20多岁,还有几个人年过80。一个长相和蔼的男人邀请我和他打球。20分钟后我累坏了,但回家时却非常开心。我的膝盖并没有垮掉。

I returned the following week, hit balls, lost matches. I fumbled with scorekeeping, but who cared about points? Just by playing I felt like a winner.

下一周我又回来了,打球,输球。我老是记不清楚比分,但是谁还关心分数?只要能打球,我就觉得自己是赢家。

It soon became obvious that I needed to remember mindfulness while at the table. I got too easily distracted by shouts from my opponent or stray balls flying wildly from other tables. I had to stay focused on the little ball. Keep alert to spin. Don’t rush the attack.

很快我就明白,我需要在球桌边保持专注。对手的喊声或是从其他球桌随意飞来的球太容易让我分心。我必须专注于面前的小球。警惕它的旋转。不要急于攻击。

Months passed, and almost imperceptibly, my stamina improved. Opponents started to compliment my shots. I won a game. I assumed it was a fluke. Then it happened again.

几个月过去了,几乎在不知不觉间,我的耐力有了提高。对手开始赞美我的扣球。我赢了一场比赛。我认为那是侥幸。然后我又赢了。

These days, slamming aces feels wonderful. I keep a water bottle nearby as sweat rolls off me. I stop when tired and praise my flimsy knee for its good work.

这些日子里,大力抽球得分的感觉美妙极了。我在手边放了一瓶水,因为全身都在流淌着汗水。我疲惫的时候就停下来,表扬自己脆弱的膝盖发挥出色。

Some nights I play so joyfully, I can almost believe this sport is the fountain of youth.

有些晚上我玩得那样开心,我几乎可以相信,这项运动就是青春的源泉。
 


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