Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"I'm Not as Good as I Once Was, But I'm As Good Once As I Ever Was...."

That Toby Keith song by sums up my brief (2 hour) return to the tennis court tonight. After a hiatus of over a year, I succumbed to threats and begs from old friends to make a return to what was once a joy I couldn't wait to feel again. Maybe I anticipated it too much. The trouble is, it wasn't joyful. It was painful, and for a variety of reasons, and I don't care to return again, at least for a while.
  1. I arrived 5 minutes late, rushing in, no water, no visor, no towel
  2. My first three shots hit the net
  3. My next three shots went wwaaaayyy out
  4. Seven must be my lucky number
  5. The noise from my shoulder during my serve (that amazingly went in) sounded very similar to the popcorn I made last night. Sadly, the serve kept coming back to me - with a vengeance.
  6. My forehand was errant to the max
  7. I left my backhand at the office
  8. I won 4 games out of about 26 played (that's the "I'm as good once.." part)
  9. I had surges of unexplainable emotion that literally brought me to tears, wanting to enjoy the game like I used to, but couldn't
  10. Begged off fall league because of some "balls and chains" in my life right now
  11. Found out one of my tennis "cronies" has bone cancer - pretty much ruined the night for me
The first few months I didn't play, I mourned and missed it like an old friend. Tennis was who I was, where I found pleasure and release from the daily grind, where I could kick back with people who laughed with at me hysterically, and with whom I shared so much in common besides The Game. And if I say so myself, I was really pretty good competitive. Tonight we all still laughed, shared stories of new grandbabies, recent weddings, engagements, fabulous vacations, and I went through all the motions like a good teammate. Motions, but not e-motions. Only when I got in the car and drove home did the flood of tears hit me while listening to "Made to Worship" and I realized that things are different now.

Tennis apparently isn't who I am anymore. Maybe it never was. I've found some other comforts, other priorities, other peace. But I still love it and the fabulous memories of laughter and the "high" it always gave me. The sound of a bullet off the sweet spot. And that unforgettable smell from the new can of balls. BFFs. I can live with those memories. This is sort of like when your children grow up - you accept it and never forget the memories they created in your heart. Tonight I'll pray on it a bit. God can always change my mine, my heart. And if He does, perhaps He could tweak that forehand a bit, too. Surely He saw the need tonight.

Tea today: Revolution Acai Green