Thursday, January 14, 2010

TMI (Too Much Information)

Spoiler Alert: This post is about menstruation. So if that troubles you in some way, you may want to just skip over it and wait for another installment of The Gecko Chronicles.

When I have my period, I play great tennis.

There, I’ve said it. I wish I could describe what it is that happens, but it’s not any one thing. I can run faster. My reflexes are quicker. I’m more coordinated. I can get shots that I can’t make at any other time – backhand ground shots that I need to run across the court for, volleys coming straight at my face. I yell to my partner, “I got it!” and then I really do get it.

It’s amazing.

I mean it’s really amazing, because there’s no good explanation for it. I spent some time online today, trying to see whether there was some hormonal reasoning for it. Evidently not. Studies show that heightened estrogen levels can result in increased motor function and coordination – even brain function – but estrogen levels drop to their lowest when your period comes on, so that doesn’t track.

I’ve long suspected it’s the Advil that actually sharpens me, but I’ve arrived on the court with various other aches and pains, popped some Advil and have never seen quite the same result. Maybe it’s the combination of achy back, ibuprofen and feeling like I want to kill someone that creates the magic. Because magic it is. Everyone notices. It’s like I turn into spry, competent 30-year-old, albeit a cranky one.

The sad thing is, now that I’m older than the hills, my period only lasts for two days. It’s unusual for me to play tennis two days in a row, so really we’re talking about one good tennis day a month, tops. The rest of the month, I suck.

I’m not sure what will happen when I go through the change and stop menstruating altogether. I imagine it won’t bode well for my backhand.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps it is the temporary loss of the biological imperative implicit in the fact of menstruation that causes your tennis improvement. As a female animal your body wants to procreate. It spends three weeks or so a month preparing for the arrival of male genetic information. Eggs are formed and sent down the fallopian tube, your womb is prepared for the potential new life. It's like your body's getting ready for a big event. Then...nothing. You get your period and it all gets washed away. Maybe your body then says "Ach, no fertilized egg? No progeny? Okay, then I'm gonna get creative THIS way!" And Whack! You hit that tennis ball like there's no tomorrow.
    Just a theory...