Note to Tennis….
I rekindled an old love affair recently. It wasn’t on craigslist or Facebook, it was with an old friend I’d spent countless hours with. We had our ups and downs, trials and tribulations, but we were close. It was a love affair based on fun and passion. My old lost love was tennis.
We met when I was just a boy. You were tough to learn and even tougher to master. We met on a warm summer day, in a public park, and I was smitten. You were so popular I had trouble getting in, but you were interesting and challenging and you made me feel good. You also made me mad. I was never as good as I wanted to be or as I thought I should be, but it was hard to blame you. You were pure and simple yet complex and difficult. You brought me new friends and to new places I would have never seen. You gave me ambition and drive almost to the point of obsession. I admired your best, like Laver, Ashe and King. I could emulate them; you allowed me to dream.
I started to win with you so you helped my confidence. You gave me humility when I suffered crushing defeats. I got a place on your high school team and rose to the top. You paid for my college education and gave me my first job. I was able to share you with others and help them enjoy you more. I even got paid to introduce you to kids in schools. I met my wife through you and taught you to my kids so this love affair has been passed on.
For a long while we were well connected. Then I got a promotion and we lost contact. I didn’t see you for almost two years. I realized I missed you. The little kids who used to tug on my tennis shorts were tugging at my heart strings. My body didn’t feel the same without you. My back hurt more and my stomach was no longer flat. You used to reduce my stress but now I was feeling its full effects. Our love was rekindled in part by my son who asked me if I wanted to go out and hit you around. We had fun together that day and I realized I had more fun working closely with you. I decided right then to get back together with you. You were ready for my return. You’d lost some luster since your glory days but you’re still relevant. I couldn’t play you like I used to, but it was ok, neither could most of my friends. But I started to remember why I loved you so much in the first place. You are not boring and I’m getting fit again. You are stimulating when I play you. You make me think, and I lose time when I’m around you. My back is loosening up and I really believe you keep me from getting sick. I actually believe you are a fountain of youth. I’ve been eating better lately, I don’t want to carry an extra pounds around when I play you. You’ve helped me reconnect with my friends who I’d bonded with over you.
I think our love affair came down to a few things. You didn’t discriminate and you still don’t. There is a community around you that I can be a part of. I’m still inspired by you and by those currently at you’re top are some of the greatest champions of all time. Your allied organizations are really pushing you out there and seem to be working together better than ever before. I read your latest industry report and you have some challenges. Especially selling lots of your racquets and your hard cores aren’t quite as active. Call me crazy but I believe in you.
I’m glad to be back in this love affair. Thanks for welcoming me back. I hope we stay together for a long time and I don’t lose you again. I’m getting my racquet and lacing up my sneakers and I’ll be right with you.