Calvin Keeney with a silver medal from Mid South Pickleball tournament on the left. Calvin Keeney sick and with a pulse oximeter on the right

My 2020 – From Hero to Zero

The end of last year was a bit rough physically and financially. The start of my 2020 started out very well compared to the last quarter of 2019.

My health was improving as I did more physical therapy. I was able to teach more pickleball lessons which improved my financial well being. Then I got excited to compete at a high level pickleball tournament.

A week after the tournament the world shut down due to COVID-19…

(Note: I wrote most of this on January 5th but finished it up on the 13th. Trying to get back into creating content slowly.)

Social Life – 6/10

One of the things I liked best about 2020 was that it forced humans to learn technology better. We’ve had useful technology around for awhile but haven’t been pushed to explore it as much until Covid shut everything down.

I think my social life was way better this year as my close friends and family learned to communicate more through digital means such as Zoom, Discord and Facetime.

I’m not trying to say that digital communication should replace physical interaction. But I do believe that we should use it better alongside physical meetups going forwards. Now that we were forced to learn these technologies, I’m confident it will be good for us going forwards.

It was very nice to have my weekly Mimosa Tuesday group to chat with every week. This friend group of mine used to meetup at bars when they were open. Since I don’t drink and find bars too loud to carry on meaningful conversations, I usually stayed home and just didn’t hang out with them much.

My relationship with them grew greatly throughout 2020 as we kept our weekly calls going from about April and still going. Thanks to Casey for putting this group together. I’m super grateful for you and the relationships that have developed through this.

Watching movies and playing games with friends and family online were also great for me to keep in touch with them while still being physically isolated. Thanks to my mom for watching a Christmas movie together and learning new games online with me.

Financial Life – 3/10

My pickleball lessons were going strong through mid March. Then Covid shutdown the city and the courts I taught at took awhile to open. Once they opened, I started a few lessons back before they shut down again.

I’m very thankful I had help learning about the Covid unemployment support. I was reluctant to go on unemployment but I don’t think I would have lasted through the year without it.

I was able to make some money coaching throughout the year along with my unemployment assistance. I’ve started back to coaching enough to where I don’t have to receive unemployment. That has been nice.

One of my long term goals is still to make enough money to not have to worry about counting down the months until I run out. I’m not sure how far I am from that, but I can see my pickleball career continuing to improve once the Covid vaccine gets out to more people.

Career – 2/10

My career was pretty good when I was able to work around Covid. There were many months and events that I wasn’t able to do because of Covid.

When I was having physical health problems at the end of the year, it made it tough as well. I limited my lessons to 1-2 a day in late December to make sure I didn’t overdo it.

There was one day I remember having trouble with getting a doctors appointment along with insurance problems (several Doctors telling me my insurance wasn’t active even though insurance telling me it was.) This day and a few times after I literally wanted to give up. Not on life as a whole, but give up on my dream of making it on my own. To be contempt in finding a desk job I could do safely from home while I was on a reliable insurance.

My fight mechanism kicked in again and I was able to workout something with my insurance and doctors offices. I felt a little more hopeful about the same insurance that I had for 2019 and just renewed for 2020.

I really want to do more with pickleball videos long term. I have noticed many different techniques and strategies that I repeat when I’m coaching lessons. These tips could be beneficial to pickleball players everywhere and I’m excited to spend more time working on them.

Physical Health – 4/10

1st quarter 2020 my physical health seemed to be improving a lot. I got in real good shape for my first 5.0 tournament. Then quarantine happened and my days filled with video games and staying inside. This was a very tough habit to break which I am still working on.

About midway through November I started experiencing very scary and severe health problems. Shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and weakness were my primary symptoms.

These are covid symptoms so the doctors had me quarantine again for 14 days. I still didn’t feel recovered after that and even went into the ER just about 16 days after going to the urgent care for the same symptoms.

I tested negative for Covid 3 times. The first 2 times I did the test I did it myself while someone watched. I’m not sure if I did it correct after having the 3rd person do it for me. Anyways, whether my illness is Covid or not, it stinks!

I’m still feeling a bit shortness of breath, tight chest/stomach at times. Dry mouth. Overall I’m feeling much better than I did a month ago, but it’s still extremely frustrating feeling out of breath just teaching 1-2 lessons a day. Or when tying my shoes and feeling dizzy when I stand up.

It’s been hard to see doctors for this because they mostly seem to be worried that my symptoms are Covid related. Extreme frustration with this. I feel like my physical health has been bad the last several weeks and am trying to find answers.

One cardiology appointment I went to said it was ok to come in. Once I got there though, they said to do a televisit instead because of my symptoms which we had previously discussed. So I went downstairs and the doctor called me about an hour later. He had no working camera and I could hear myself talk through his end. This was one of the worst experiences I had with a doctor visit. I felt extremely let down and frustrated afterwards.

Trying to get help for my physical health has been extremely challenging during the Covid pandemic.

Mental Health – 3/10

Memaw died on November 9th 2020. This was extremely hard for me. She was my #2 support growing up and always believed in me. Confidence and creativity was instilled in me through Memaw.

I did my senior art show in ceramics based on stories Memaw told me growing up. She was my first guest on my podcast. I learned it was ok to be myself even though that meant being perceived as “weird” by others. My time around Memaw felt safe and exciting.

She was a great teammate. Always willing to try my latest experiments and encouraging me to push past my failures. I miss her so much and I’m sure I still have plenty of grief to go through.

I’m extremely grateful for the amazing times we shared together. It’s still odd opening up the “favorites” on my phone and seeing her listed as #2. Knowing I can no longer call her when I’m having a bad day is tough. She had been in lots of pain and struggling with her health for many months this year. A part of me is glad she is not having to suffer anymore though a bigger part of me wishes she was still hear and healthy.

I miss you so much Memaw and thank you for giving me all of the great tools you taught me to push forward. I love you.

Romantic Relationships – 1/10

This was basically non existent this year. I went on 0 dates and didn’t even have a single conversation that carried on when trying to do online dating.

I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into this, but the effort I did put in was very humbling and tended to make me feel worse as a person. So I spent my time building friendships with family and friends.

My long term goal is to still meet someone that has similar interests where we can mutually benefit each others lives.

On a plus side, I did realize a few characteristics that I really want to look for in a partner going forward. I found that I really find the following 3 characteristics extremely attractive in a person. Good communication, playful and cute. This will be helpful for me as I look in the following years.

X Things I’m Grateful for from 2020

This year has been tough for a lot of people and I am no different when it comes to that. I think it’s helpful for me to remember some things I’m grateful for so here we go!

  • Preparing and doing well at Mid South pickleball tournament
  • Meeting new friends through pickleball
  • Tuesday night Zoom calls
  • Sunday night codenames with my family
  • Playing World of Warcraft with my mom
  • Realizing I needed help (mentally and physically)
  • Loving myself enough to reach out to friends/family/doctors/therapists to get support for myself
  • My brothers support
  • Dad for checking in on my health and giving his advice
  • Wonderful memories with Memaw (including Facetime calls during her final days)
  • Perservearing these tough last few months and striving to get better and continue forward
  • Carla for helping motivate me to be creative even when my motivation was extremely low.
  • Playing video games with my friends over the internet
  • Enjoying Nintendo games and Netflix shows with my new roommate, John S.
  • My great friends that checked up on me over the last 2 months while I’ve been sick and struggling with Memaw’s sickness/death. (Judy W., Cherry W., Justen, uncle Scott, aunt Marsha, Andrew G.)

The year overall ended up being one of my worst years so far. I would probably rate it a 3/10 as a whole and probably bottom 2 or 3 years compared to the rest of my life.

I’m hopeful I can get through this tough time and have happier years. It’s ok that this year has been tough and totally normal that these circumstances have been difficult to go through.

I plan to continue working with my therapist and doctors to improve my mental and physical health. And to keep growing my relationships with my closest friends and families. I’m proud of myself for accomplishing even the smallest tasks this year and I look forward to getting back on track. I love me <3

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