It’s a couple of years old, but could easily be described as brand new. It hasn’t seen much action. My new tennis racket hangs in its case. It is either accusing me … or beckoning me. This is what I wrote when I bought it.
It was the day before my first lesson and I tried on the shoes I’d bought for the occasion. Have you noticed how joggers present our feet to the world with a new shape? My old New Balance’s accentuate width. In contrast, these new Volleys make my feet look longer, leaner. There is a sensation, maybe an inch up from the sole, encircling each foot, where the solid plastic gives in to the flexible canvas. This sensation instantly transports my senses, my memory, back many many years. I feel 20 again.
Mum would give me her hand-me-down tennis shoes. She played tennis regularly. When the shoes wore out in a certain spot, she would give them up in favour of a new pair. Some of these became my street shoes. I’d wear them until they had multiple holes in the canvas. I didn’t play tennis then.
I gave up tennis in my youth. It was a traditional family game in our rural community. Every little village had a tennis court or two. Some farms even had their own. We all learnt to hold a racket quite young.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take to competition. One day, I was quite excited to get an encouragement prize, until I realised that it was the prize given to those who came last. I’ve no potential where sports are concerned. I prefer to dance.
Today was my first tennis lesson as an adult. With only two in the class, there was a lot more running and swinging and missing than expected.
Today, I entered the sporting fraternity that is my family. There is a beautiful patch of skin missing from my knee. No more sitting on the sidelines while the bumps and scrapes and bruises of others are paraded as trophies. I’ve got my own now.
And then what happened?
There were no more bumps and scrapes and bruises. Once the classes were over, the racket went back into its case and didn’t see the light of day until today.
There were, and still are, plenty of opportunities for a social hit with complete strangers. Most clubs around here have a time set aside for novices and newbies. Yet, I always seemed to have something ‘more important’ to do.
The problem is very straight forward. There has to be someone on the other side of the net! AND I have to beat them, which doesn’t make me feel good, or they beat me, which doesn’t make me feel good.
That really only leaves tennis lessons as the safe way to get some exercise with a tennis racket; knee scapes aside.
That might just work!