April 24, 2020 — Do you feel things speeding up again a little bit? Is your schedule feeling super booked, even though you don’t have to be in the car running from place to place? I feel it. I notice that I over-book at the drop of a hat. I imagine that it comes from the fact that we are home all the time not seeing people, so it’s imperative to make the effort to “see” people in other ways.
I vow to keep fighting for that “slower” feel while we are still in quarantine. It definitely requires a concerted effort. But I like it so much that I’m going to seek to guard what I can.
I have another thing in my life that I fought for and continue to fight for on a regular basis.
I want to share with you something that I am so deeply proud of. Something I worked really hard at because it was important to me. And it happened in my mid-forties.
My hubby and I had wanted to learn to play tennis together for so long, but with littles it was nearly impossible. I remember when we would try to go to the public court with our “then only child” and let him run around in the fenced-in court with us, but as you can imagine that didn’t hold his attention for long. We gave up on the idea of tennis for the forseeable future…
At that point, I took up triathlon because of the Danksin sprint distance tri and having friends that couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved it. I was in! A training group? Yes, please! I enjoyed the challenge of swim, bike, run, but really, for me, it was the people. I was, and still am, highly reliant on buddies. People that get up and go exercise ALONE, in the DARK, amaze me. But if someone else is there, too, I am all in.
Fast-forward 11 years, several different tri events later, including 2 Olympic-length Cap Tex Tris, and I was OVER IT. I honestly hated the swim part. Too stressful!! I swore it off IN THE WATER of my second Cap Tex: “if you make through this mile swim (in a stupid WET SUIT no less), I will NEVER make you do this again!”
And I never did another Tri again. Funnily, I don’t miss it. Why?
I found TENNIS. Social! Fast-paced! Less cumbersome equipment! And WAY cuter outfits!!
But then I found out something about myself that I didn’t know…and I didn’t like AT ALL.
I am deeply, ferociously, COMPETITIVE.
What? Who, me??
I found out that I could get REALLY ugly, REALLY fast. Not Johnny Mac ugly, but maybe more like shades of Aussie bad-boy Nick Kyrios’ drama and pouting. It was like a force that would well up in me that I could not shake during the match, but then afterwards, I could easily come up with a million reasons why I did NOT need to ruin my fun, and everyone else’s as well.
That was the problem: I would stop having fun during my favorite activity. And worse: I kept OTHER people from having fun, too. Doubles, singles, it didn’t matter. I was NOT fun to play with. (I cringe thinking of it)
I hated that ugly person that reared up inside me when I was losing or not hitting good shots. I desperately wanted to NOT act that way. But that didn’t make that monster stay on the bench. I was powerless against it.
Until my team captain said one thing that made all the difference and shocked me hard:
“Ryan, I have to pair you with someone who can talk you off the ledge during the match.”
Wow. Truth-teller. That MORE than hurt. I was the LIABILITY.
I wanted to be the one with whom everyone WANTED to play! I wanted to be the one who made others play hard and have FUN at the same time. But I was the head-case.
I vowed then an there to fix it because I was in danger of throwing away something really important to me. I picked up a sport at age 43. I was freaking proud of that. I’m pretty good most days. But when you act like a JERK, it’s irrelevant (unless you’re getting paid!).
How did I do it? How do I CONTINUALLY do it? (because it is a life-long struggle, and so worth it)
First, I zeroed in on a few of my tennis buddies that I wanted to emulate. Not their skills of forehands, necessarily, but of how they made others FEEL on the court. Their positivity was magnetic and raised the level of everyone on the court.
I wanted to act THAT way. I also adopted the mantra: “What would Roger do?” I have never seen a player that could act as calmly in the face of losing as of winning…a true tennis god. Long may he reign!
And, most of all, I sought to viscerally remember how unbelievably GRATEFUL I was to be a tennis player, playing tennis, with other lovely ladies, usually in gorgeous weather, with able legs and athleticism: how could I possibly be unhappy or angry??
I call this my TENNIS MENTAL VICTORY: but it was, and still is, and will be the next time I’m on the court.
And guess what?? The goal is not to win. I know! Crazy, right? Winning is just icing on the cake.
The goal is this: exercise, fun with my gals, and exciting rallies. Oh, and laughter. ALWAYS.
Tennis can be hilarious if you are in the right frame of mind.
So I seek to be, every time.
PS The fact that you read this crazy rambling means the absolute world to me!!