I used to be an avid tennis player. If I had to quantify it, I used to play about 20 hours a week. There was one weekend I played 9 hours of tennis in the same day, going from match to match to match. Yes, I used to be crazy.
I ran for the ball and held out my racquet way ahead of me and fell, like a baseball slide. Yes, I scraped my arms and I still have the scar on my pelvis from my skin being peeled through my tennis skirt! I remember an orthodontist friend of mine who said to me that he was really concerned for my hands at that moment. I make a living on my hands being a dentist. This was 10 years ago. I guess priorities change…
Living the tennis dream was everything to me. I wanted to make it to sectionals and regionals and win it all with my team. My dream was to do it in the 4.0 leagues. Or even the 3.5 for that matter. I can’t remember. The closest I got was to make it to play offs and after a grueling 3 set match that I won, my team still didn’t place number 1. We didn’t move ahead. Having such a dream, I still never considered switching my team. I stuck it through. I was sought after as a 3.5 singles player and I enjoyed the mini fame it got me.
Change is a wonderful thing. Sometimes. It makes you re-think the world. A few things changed for me. I was bumped up to 4.0. I was playing in my dream league. This was the tennis that I had fought so hard for. This was the blood, sweat and tears of my tennis dream. It came with a price. A hefty price. First, I couldn’t hold my own as a singles player. The level of play was much, much, much higher than 3.5. I, who had 23 out of 25 wins in the 3.5 level surely could have some merit. No. I played my best game yet. All my balls hitting mark, exactly as I wanted them and willed them, painting the lines, and yet, all balls returned back, more fierce than before until I would lose the match 0 and 0. That wasn’t the worst part. I could sense a loss of camaraderie. These women were not playing for friendly competition. They were playing for fierce competition alone. After my loss, that pretty much guaranteed my chances of play. Not! Around the same time, 2 other events took place that pretty much cemented my tennis breakdown. My coach moved to another club and took part of the team with her. My team in the next couple of years was split. Some players climbing the ranks to 4.0 and some sinking and some moving to the other club and some staying and well, I was tossed and turned in this shuffle. I tried to stay in the same club and that didn’t work out too well. I tried to move back to my old coach and everything was just falling apart. I also got a divorce and priorities rapidly change after that.
I opened my practice and soon tennis became a vague memory. I tried to hold on, but I couldn’t. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I know thinking to myself, as a consolation that although I would never reach my dream, it wasn’t like my dream was a Wimbledon trophy. This was just a league match in a mini world with an opportunity to go and duke it out in Florida or California with other leagues from the country. It’s nice but it’s OK. It’s not worth the intense, I will not smile, competition. Maybe it was all pay back time for when I was younger and more intense and intimidating myself. Oh well.
Age talks back at you as well. When I would try my hand at tennis, my knees would give way when I ran like I used to. I would suddenly just crumble into the ground watching the ball that I could have easily placed in my youth bounce one extra time. It is very strange when you are so much a part of a sport that it runs in your blood and one day it’s just not a part of you anymore. Maybe I’ll get back to it. Little at a time. Maybe. But for now, I keep telling myself that it’s not Wimbledon!
Best to you all,