Friday, October 17, 2008

Tennis, anyone?

My introduction to tennis began when I was asked to model a tennis skirt in a charity fashion show despite the fact that I had never held a racquet. I was so smitten with the look that I bought the entire ensemble that day and immediately arranged for lessons, so I would have a place to wear it.

Flash forward 15 years, and I am still playing. I love the sport. The only problem is I am at approximately the same level--C--which is average in school and average on the court. I actually worked my way up to B once, then unable to master the drop shot, sat out two seasons, so I could drop back down to my comfort level.

In my own defense, I haven’t played 15 years straight. I’ve done my share of starting and stopping, learning to dread it when a teammate asks, “So, how long have you been playing?”

I can just about chronicle my adult life by my tennis teams. The first was a young party crowd. We celebrated every point with a sip of champagne and topped off every match, win or lose, with a trip to the bar. And that was a Sunday women’s league.

I later played to the tune of eight months pregnant, sporting maternity shorts in place of my once cute tennis outfits. I knew I was addicted to tennis when I didn’t divulge to my ob/gyn that I was playing, justifying it with the fact that doctors recommend continuing the activities that you’ve been doing.

I think the doctor suspected, however, because, with my due date fast approaching, she said, “If you are doing something you shouldn’t be, now’s a good time to stop, unless you want to have this baby early!” She must have seen me on the court. With her warning ringing in my ears, I played my last pregnant match, defeating a younger, fitter team, much to their shock and horror. Then I celebrated with a banana split.

When I was a stay-at-home mom, I found a great team. We hired sitters for our children, arranged play dates, luncheons, tennis socials and practiced at least three days a week. Oh, those were the days.

In time, I realized these women considered tennis to be a job, not a hobby. The team increasingly questioned how much time I spent on the court. They even got mad at me because I opted to accompany my son on a kindergarten field trip instead of practicing. Sigh, it was time to bow out for awhile.

The inspiring fact about tennis, however, is that it is a lifelong sport. I once played doubles against a mother/daughter team—the daughter was 60. She wore support hose and stood in the same spot the entire match, strategically placing her shots. The mother was a chain smoker who kept a lit cigarette on the court. They kicked our butts.

Now my daughter is taking lessons and doing quite well. She’s even learning the ever elusive drop shot. I think it’s time for me to get back on the courts, and fast. Perhaps she and I will be the next mother/daughter team, minus the support hose. After all, ultimately it is all about the outfits!

No comments: