My father taught my younger sister & I how to play tennis when we were eight or nine years old. We took lessons, practiced regularly and played on the school tennis teams. My father, who is now 73-years-old, is passionate about tennis and still plays 2-3 times per week. Despite his age and slight limp, he can get around a tennis court. Many of his opponents have learned the “you can’t judge a book by its cover” lesson on more than one occasion.
Growing up, we spent many hours on the tennis court together. At times, my mother would join us and we would play a few hilarious sets of doubles together. I use the term “hilarious” because my mother would play the net like a maniac, flying through the air awkwardly to return a lob or totally missing the ball and accidentally tossing the racket mid-swing. I’m sure onlookers thought we were crazy. I remember laughing so hard, I could barely swing the racket.
Today, after nearly 25 years, my father, sister & I still play tennis together. We don’t play often because she lives in a different state and I get busy being mom and doing mom things. When do play, it’s just like old times. We giggle when we successfully drop shot dad and I still run around my forehand because I prefer backhands. My sister mutters funny stuff under her breath when she crushes her forehand and we both blame the other one when a ball whizzes by us on the center line. “That was yours!?!”
We’re teaching my children how to play tennis, although they are still too young to fully understand the concept. It’s a chaotic scene – me, my husband and my father trying to convince two small kiddos to hold the racket steady and swing. They’d rather chase tennis balls, tug on the net, drag the racket on the ground or use it like a golf club. And that’s all just fine with me.
One day, we will all play doubles together. My kids will laugh at my silly antics at the net and I will marvel at the great shots they make. We’ll spend time on the court talking about nothing special, enjoying the physical activity, the smell of new tennis balls and relishing in the perfect cross-court winner.