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Maria Rodale Headshot

The Joy of a Few Good Whacks

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Every time I get a massage there is this place over my neck and upper shoulders that is so tight. But what I've noticed about other parts of my body is that the more in shape I get, the less stress sits in my muscles--the less tight I really am (but I'm also doing yoga!). However, I've never really found anything that gets to that spot in my neck and upper shoulders. Even doing a headstand in yoga doesn't loosen it. Well, I finally found what does, and it's fun and involves hitting balls.

I was in New York City on a cold Saturday morning and went for a run along the Hudson River. I ended up at Chelsea Piers, where I was able to get an ORGANIC HOT CHOCOLATE from a little food cart that also sells my favorite hotdogs in the universe (Applegate Farms Organic), but it was too early for a hotdog. It was not too early, however, to try out the pretty cool golf part of the piers where there is a four-story ball-whacking area. Is it called a driving range? Who knows? I didn't know much about what I was doing, and they left me alone to do it once I got my 147 balls for 25 bucks (why 147? I have no idea!) and rented a club for another few dollars.

As I've noted before, I can hit a ball pretty well. I've had my fair share going past the 150-yard sign (the range only goes to 200 yards). What fascinated me most were the different sounds, depending on where you hit the ball. You can literally hear a good hit before you can see it. And I noticed that a few good hits sounded similar to that Three Stooges hammer whacking sound! Then, there was this other sound, followed by not even being able to see the ball at all, ever again. Did it go high? The sky was the color of a golf ball that day, so I will never know.

Anyway, I'm going back, and often, because I never want to be that sore again. I want to get into that spot in my neck and loosen it and strengthen it for good (after all, it's what holds up my head!). And for those of us who no longer drink alcohol, it's a fairly good substitute for drinking a few stiff drinks--it's relaxing, mind-numbing, and fun. So from here on out, after a hard day, I'm going to go out for a few good whacks.

You're all welcome to join me!

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