Last night I discovered tennis is a lot more fun when you actually bat the ball back and forth with your partner. It’s far more entertaining than sending balls ricocheting onto the next court or running after wayward balls mumbling, “Sorry!” after missing an easy shot. Maybe I won’t give it up after my lessons end after all.
I no longer completely suck at tennis. I now only mostly suck. When practicing my serve, I can toss the ball in the air in front of me and whack it, instead of accidentally tossing it behind my head like a bad juggler. We played some easy doubles games and I was able to hit the ball more often than I didn’t. During one game called “Kings and Queens of the Court” my partner and I were able to get three points in a row and defeat the reigning kings to take over their spot. I will try to ignore the patriarchal implications that it is better to be the king than the queen and just be happy that I was able to hit the ball in the general direction that I wanted to without bruising anyone’s face.
Every time my team stepped up to the baseline I felt worried that I would let my partner down by missing an easy shot. It’s one thing to screw up your own game, but I didn’t want to bring down my teammates, even if I didn’t know their names and will likely never see them again after this month. There was a temptation to think, “Crap, I’m not going to be able to hit the ball.” But negative thinking like that has never helped anyone do anything but fail. So I had to remind myself, “You will hit the ball. You will smack the curvy white lines that form a smirk on its fuzzy green face and you will show it who whacks the racquet on this court. Boo-yah!” Which pretty much sums up my attitude about life these days. Rule the court. Get your game on. There’s no use in focusing on what you can’t do, just think about all the stuff you can do. Just believing you can do something makes it all the more likely that you can. And I did hit that ball more often than not. Some shots still got by, but the apposing team can always use some positive reinforcement too, right?
I’m also trying to resist the urge to apologize after I goof up and send a ball out of bounds or miss a volley. I’m not Grand Slam material and that’s okay. I do not have to apologize for still being somewhat inept. I don’t have to say I’m sorry as long as I try my best. Still, I find the “s” word slipping off of my lips more often than I’d like. It’s a reflex I guess, just like that instinct to dodge when a ball comes flying at my face.
It was very hot on the courts which are inside and not air conditioned. There have been heat index warnings this week because it’s been in the 90’s with high humidity. Some people complained about the heat, but I honestly didn’t notice it that much. I kind of like getting sweaty. It makes me feel like I’ve really accomplished something, even if I’ve only accomplished to become dehydrated. Or maybe my body now naturally feels cooler, just like I freeze in the winter when everyone else feels fine. I keep my water bottle full and trundle through. I’m not big on whining these days.