I had always liked tennis, but never got to play as a child. When I was in college, a friend tried to convince me to play. He tried to teach me, but I found it so frustrating. I just gave up.
Years later, when I had already moved to the US, I thought about taking lessons, but never did. I talked about it with friends, but never got around to it.
It was after breast cancer treatment when I decided to beat my fear and learn to play tennis.
I decided to join the local recreation program that Spring.
I showed up to the first class and, just as I thought, I could not hit the ball once. It was frustrating, but this time I didn’t care. I wanted to learn to hit the ball and have fun.
I was very disciplined and did not miss any of the classes.
One day, I was the only one who showed up to class. It was drizzling. I did not see the instructor either, but a substitute teacher was there. His name was “Coach”.
I signed up for the Summer term and Coach was one of the instructors.
Once the Summer term was over, I took private lessons with Coach for the rest of the season. Coach was a nice, young man.
I had a lot of fun during my private lessons and loved being outdoors.
The Summer was coming to an end, and one day Coach told me that he was taking a full time job at a tennis club in the area. I was sad to see him go.
A month later, he called me to invite me to a tennis clinic at his club. I was so scared to go. I just kept putting it off.
I showed up to one of his group clinics. That day I met two of the club members. They were very nice, but also good players. I was atrocious.
The tennis club was a strange, quirky place. The average age was probably my parents’ age. I am not exaggerating.
But I wanted to learn tennis.
I was not liking the all-women gym I was going to at the time, and the tennis club felt like a breath of fresh air. The people were nice, unlike some of the women at my gym.
And because at the tennis club I could also use the gym facilities, I thought it was a good time to switch.
I was taking private lessons to get myself up to speed. When I gained some confidence, I started going to group clinics. I even played some matches and got to win some.
I watched tennis on TV, followed tennis stars on social media and even traveled to some tournaments.
I was breathing tennis.
I feel that tennis changed my life. It showed me that it is never too late to learn something if you put your mind into it.
I also learned that I have very little competitive edge, which is why I enjoyed lessons and clinics more than playing matches.
I love tennis. I do. But I am also conflicted about it because even though it taught me so much, it led me in a weird direction.
I got trapped in a giant tennis vortex.
I met someone who wasn’t right for me through tennis.
I am not sure if that was a personal lesson I needed to learn or if it was just bad luck, but my son makes it all worth it.
I was 7 months pregnant last time I played tennis. I have not picked up a racket since. I am hoping that my internal conflict won’t stop me from playing again someday.