Life after squash

I look around and see that nobody is watching. When everybody’s staring at their computer screen I sneak down the stairs of the grey office building. I’ve hidden my trainers in a washroom in the basement that holds a shower and a few lockers. Nobody uses this facility. I quickly put on my gear and run up the stairs. I need to reach the revolving door. Preferably without being seen.

The moment I spot a gap between colleagues in suits and important looking managers, I make a run for it. My card hits the magnetic sensor which lights up green and the doors start to rotate. My stride accelerates and before I know it I’m running. It’s pissing down rain, but I don’t care. I’m out.


I run and I run and I run till even my upper body gets intoxicated by lactic acid. A smile appears on my face. This is the shit I want. This is the shit I need. This is the shit that saves me from being miserable. While I run through a barrier of pain, at 11:00 AM on a weekday through an Amsterdam forest, I realize that no common man’s job will ever replace this feeling. I realize that life as a pro athlete was not that normal, however normal it seemed at the time. I contemplate my chances ever embarking again on endeavors that will give me such highs and lows and make me money at the same time.


A moment later I’m back in monkey mode. Suit on, laptop in front of me, holding a pen. A pen still feels good. It’s like not everything disappears into cyberspace with the click of a button. No, some things stick.


I’m in a meeting with people I don’t know, talking about stuff I don’t understand. ‘Never be afraid to ask questions’, my mum’s voice echoes in my head. So here I go. Turns out nobody really understood what we were talking about in the first place. The goal of the meeting? Unclear. The expected outcome of the meeting? Unclear. What we finally agreed upon in the end? That we urgently need a company-wide buy-in to add such and such field to the existing data model in this and that instance so that so and so can register these and those assets in order to define the scope of impact in case of such and such calamity. Right… Do you mind if I eat that last cookie?


We’re hardly moving while the rain pours down on my windscreen and a billion other cars are trying desperately to reach their caves. Caves lit by candlelight, wives and children waiting. Caves with neighbors that have jobs they hate to go on holidays they think they deserve. Caves with mortgages that decide exactly what it is you do five out of seven days a week.


My dog greets me as if I’m the last human being on the planet. When she has settled down I tell her about my day. Halfway through she picks up a tennis ball and tosses it to me. She understands. Life is more than traffic jams, mortgages and grey office buildings. Life is play.