Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What a Raquet!

Last weekend I shared my weekend mornings routine with you and it has got me to thinking about the various routines in our lives. There are routines we follow almost mindlessly every day that we give little thought to, like getting dressed and groomed for the day, reading the paper, making the bed (Come On! - you do make your bed every morning don't you?) and simple chores like washing dishes after meals and so on. The drudgery of it all! Then there are routine events that occur on a regular basis, like my weekly tennis match. These, if you are lucky, are the routines you really look forward to each time. I have been playing tennis every Wednesday with the same group of women for about 8 yrs now. The 5 of us met at the summer tennis club we belong to when we all signed up for the same group lessons. We all lived nearby and decided that first summer to continue getting together to play after the session of lessons had ended. I had been playing regularly prior to that summer for about 8 years, so my level of play was somewhat advanced for the group, but I really liked these girls and as tennis is a social sport, put my misgivings aside and said what the hell? If I wanted to compete, I could join other tournaments and leagues to fulfill my "play to win" competitive drive. Summer came to an end and we decided to carry on with our weekly play through the winter at an indoor club. So now we were playing year round and with each passing year becoming closer friends. We started celebrating birthdays with a lunch out and a joint gift chosen for the birthday girl - always something we would likely never buy for ourselves, like a garden ornament or decorative item for the house. One year we all flew down to Palm Springs in California for a "girls tennis junket". One of the girls in the group had access to her parent's condo and the 8 tennis courts that came with it, so off we went. As misfortune would have it, it teemed down rain for 3 of the 5 days and we only got to play one day of tennis. Although it would have been great to play more, we still had a great time getting to know one another even better. (margaritas and wine helped!) As the years have passed, we have shared our joys and our sorrows, our children's ups and downs, our aches and pains (damn these aging bodies) and somewhere along the way, we all got better at playing tennis. These women have worked hard to improve their games. Annual lessons in the spring with the club pro are the highlight of every season - we love our pro (and he puts up with us!). Serves have become harder, ground strokes smoother and more consistent, volley's (non-existent in the beginning) quick and accurate and as we are all getting older, focus on strategy improves every season. We always have fun, do not argue over line calls, (it ain't Wimbledon, after all!) and we applaud our good shots and are able to laugh at our miss hits. Over the years, I have played in many tournaments, round robins and one year I even played league on the Ladies Daytime C Team (we won that year and that put an end to my need to prove myself) but these games, sets and matches are never as fun as my weekly match with my "tennis ladies". I have learned a valuable lesson over time. If you take the need to compete out of the equation, tennis is so much more than a game. When your opponents are your friends, everyone is a winner. Advantage - moi.

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