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that thawing shoulder

I just found out that I can put a barbell overhead again. Well, almost. I can’t quite get my left arm back far enough that my head gets through my arms, but I did lift a 50-lb barbell up. And that’s a far sight farther then what I could do with the left arm a year ago, or even 6 months, or 3 months ago. It’s such a relief to feel the shoulder coming back that I could almost cry about it. External rotation is still the worst with the shoulder, and I remember it being like that with the right shoulder when it froze up and then thawed out years ago. Still, overall I feel very much like the shoulder is getting into the home stretch now and 4 to 6 months from now I should have back almost all of my range of motion.

Also I noticed the other morning I can get both hands on my hips. The left shoulder still lurches forward on that, but a few months ago I couldn’t do that, couldn’t get my left hand on to the hip.

In addition to the shoulder slowly coming back, I’ve also been making progress on hip mobility. I’ve been working on the various stretches and can definitely reach a bit better than before, can turn my trunk a bit more, and maybe feel a sense of freedom there which has not been there for a long while.

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Still haven’t matched that 80 I shot on the golf course back in October. But I’m still pleased with the progress I’m making in understanding my swing, plus I’ve gained some better insight on the effects I suffered while playing through the frozen shoulder. One aspect I understand now and have to work on keeping out of the swing is that restricted left shoulder hurt my followthrough. I had a tendency to shorten up on it to avoid discomfort in the left shoulder, and that sometimes caused me to spin my hips in a circle and when that would happen, I would pull the ball well left of the target.

But now that the internal rotation of the left shoulder is getting better, this past month I’ve had another little glitch creep into the swing which was driving me crazy some for a few rounds — I began having trouble with a shot that was blocked to the right. Way right. Terrible. I finally figured out what was happening when I asked myself, “Okay, so how does the ball go that far right?” The answer of course has to lie in the direction that the clubface is pointed towards. So if the ball was going right, the clubface had to be getting opened way right. And then I finally felt what was happening in one of my swings. I pulled the club back, tried to maintain a sensation of the back of my left hand to the target, but on the transition I would lay the club off. I lost the flat left wrist and bowed it back some along with the clubhead dropping towards the ground. I would then pull the club through on a nice inside path but with the clubface wide open the ball would balloon out to the right. Or sometimes I tried to unconsciously save it, maybe make clean contact or maybe overcorrect and hit a duck hook to the left. So the lesson was pretty obvious for me, stop laying the club off. I’ve focused on that the last couple of times out and I’m getting much better contact again.

And now with the ways I’ve improved how I think about the swing, how I select targets, I’m almost always having at least some shots which go almost exactly like I imagine, I will have a couple of shots which go firing right at flagsticks that are open to being aimed at directly. I’m gaining an increased confidence that I can aim at things on a golf course and hit the ball to them. Especially now that I’ve identified how that laying off move had set me back some.

Of course, I still don’t make perfect swings every time, but I’m getting closer to removing most of the bad ones, getting closer to where I won’t string together a series of bad shots. There will still be bad shots, but I feel more and more like I can get back on track quickly.

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I got a haircut last week. There’s nothing amazing or unusual about that, except for one small detail. During the haircut, while the stylist used the clippers on me, she would put her left hand on my left shoulder. That brought back a flood of memories about the few times I have had women who I would allow into my personal space like that. It was almost sad at how much I enjoyed a sort of voyeurism into my own memories about how good it would feel to be touched by someone who wanted to touch me. I’ve seen stuff that says that people who don’t get much physical touch from others can be deprived in some ways and that it can influence them in negative ways. Has that happened to me? Has it always been that way? I don’t know. How can I know?

It doesn’t really matter in the end. No one is guaranteed happiness, and maybe there are some who are disadvantaged in certain ways to find happiness only in fleeting moments or instances. I hope I’ve tried and done my best when I’ve had opportunities. But maybe I haven’t. Who knows? Is it possible for me to answer those questions? Or anyone else really? There are no hard and firm answers there, and a grave difficulty is that in a world where people can lie, they can lie to themselves just as much. You can’t escape the problem of self-deception, it’s always there, it’s always in how we look at ourselves in the mirror — it is never a true portrait.

Oh well, maybe tonight I’ll sleep okay enough, will feel warm in a cocoon of blankets and find tomorrow to be fair enough.

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