Thursday, August 25, 2011

A love letter to my Tennis Team

I have been playing tennis with my team at Swim and Racquet for four years.  Up until that point, I had not had a regular tennis partner, let alone a consistent team each year.  Not only are each of my teammates talented in the sport, but they are all just really cool, solid people that happen to make me laugh so hard I nearly pee my pants each week.

Unfortunately, this usually happens when I am serving, and my partner, (we'll call her Christina, because that is her Christian name) turns to me and says something side-splitting that makes me cross my legs as I interrupt the game for several minutes.  I can't imagine what it must be like to play the two of us, because we are constantly making cracks and cursing, or cursing in other languages, (like "Shiite," or "Merde" or "Bullocks" or something along those lines) that come close, but do not violate  GCTA rules that outline cursing as "unsportsmanlike".

Whatever.  If you are a potty mouth, like I am, what is a more productive way of expressing anger and frustration, than while playing a sport?  I think, the Universe needs to rethink it's policy of considering yelling curse words during a match, under the heading of "conduct unbecoming".  I see it as a natural response to a stressful situation.  Normally, I am not one for causes, but this is something I could definitely get behind. 

Okay, so the two funniest moments this summer, for me, and there were many of them, is (1) When we played this team that had as one half of it, this very sweet, Zen, and athletic Asian woman.  Christina, pulled me aside after a few successful points, which had ended with the Asian woman mentioned above making an error each time.  Christina, very dramatically grabs my arm, because I often have attention deficits, and whispers, "I think if we get into the Asian woman's head, we can win this thing."

I am not kidding you, as my partner is finishing this sentence, I look up at my Asian opponent, and find her beating her own head repeatedly with her racquet, while she squints her eyes, and curses herself.

"Ya' think?"  I ask, as I nudge her to look up at the scene across the net.

My other favorite memory (2) is when we played this team at this ghetto club, where they had metal cables attached to the nets on either side of ours, to keep it up.  Therefore, you had to do the limbo, on every odd game, as you switched sides.  It was the perfect height where you could not comfortably swing your leg over without it "goosing" yourself, so you had to go under the cable, which most people would bend at the waist and duck under, but Christina and I chose to bend over backward and shimmy under as if tiki torches were lit on either end and bongo drums were playing. 

Anyway, that is not even the best part.  The best part, is that Christina and I were winning, and all of the sudden, one of our opponents yells out during a point, grabs her knee, falls to the ground, and exclaims, "I heard a pop!  I heard a pop!"

Then, after she has everyone's attention, she (I am tired of calling her "she", let's call her "Bullshit Artist") explains that her knee has been tight for several days and maybe it was a "good pop".  She then proceeds to call a "medical timeout," which up until then, I had never heard of, and hobbles off of the court, careful not to put weight on her newly deflated knee, and then eats a full meal and downs a gallon of Gatorade.  Oh, and it is about 150 degrees at 10 o'clock in the morning.   We are within one game of beating their tennis skirts off.

Alright, to be clear, the previous Labor Day, my idiot Labrador, ran into my knee and blew it out, and at the exact moment of impact, I KNEW that it was a BAD POP.  (I mean, is there such thing as a "good pop?  WTF!) I don't know if it was my post traumatic stress disorder kicking in or what, but I instantly became infuriated with Bullshit Artist.

I was still bitching up a storm to Christina when the Bullshit Artist limped back onto the court and announced that she would be finishing the match.  Brilliant.

We gave up a game because we were mesmerized by Bullshit Artist's dramatic limping around and loud pronouncements such as "I am NOT going to get that!  It's too RISKY," when a ball hit at her required any sort of accelerated movement.

 After losing that game, it was my serve, and Christina was at the net and right before I tossed the ball into the air for my serve, she swiveled around and hissed, "Hit ONLY short balls, and run her ass around if you can.  I'm tired of this bullshit. I've got a ton of errands to run."

Up until that point, I was thinking this strategy to myself, but was afraid to voice it, for fear of either Christina judging me, or getting struck by lightening - whichever came first.

I fell in LOVE all over again with my pal, Christina, which had first presented itself when she gave that girl with the weird serve wind up a nickname.  Tennis is about so much more to me than the game, I guess.  It is a departure from being a Mom, where you can be competitive in a healthy way, and play a sport you have enjoyed your entire life, and laugh out loud while doing it. 

Thanks for a great year, ladies.  I really enjoyed your company.  I will send you each your critique, shortly after I finish this blog, where specific drills are recommended for each of your weak areas.  Just kidding, of course.  The only thing I EVER remember about playing with you all, are the hilarious anecdotes and experiences that come out of a clinic or match.

My advice to you, today, is to pick up a sport that you learned to play when you were young, and find a group of people who you enjoy being with, and play that sport with them.  I find that in adulthood, playing a sport, requires a lot of thought and effort and money when scheduling it, and obtaining childcare, so I damn well better enjoy myself.  Camaraderie is an integral part of any team sport for me, and it makes the experience so much more rewarding and worthy if that is acheived.

Pic above is of my new tennis racquet.  It is beautiful.  My husband makes fun of my pink strings, but my teammates have all individually complimented me on them.  Go figure.

Below are my favorite Sport/Fashion sunglasses.  They are Oakley and can be found for a fraction of the cost on Ebay.  Actually, you should always buy your sunglasses on Ebay, especially if you don't mind what season they are.  There are some great deals out there!

Now, get out there and PLAY!!!

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