Dan doesn’t get mad if he misses a shot or double-faults. With the same mess-up, Hayden has thrown his racket and cursed himself. I fall somewhere in between. I like to blurt out, “Bastard,” in a quiet, English accent when I miss a shot. I did note when playing last night that my blurting out, “Bastard!” is ironic, given that I am playing against my own son.
Still, “Bastard!” Hayden really does have a nice little drop shot that he inherited from his dad. And what do I have? I have tenacity. The more I play, the better I get. Dan is really good overall. I think he’s taking a class in Zen Tennis. He has the mind game and the real game down. He’s unflappable, consistent.
There is something totally satisfying about the Thwack of hitting a ball. Something very healing about whacking at a ball flying through space. The sound, the feel, the shudder. I am not great at golf or softball, other thwacking-type sports. I just like being outdoors. And as I’ve mentioned on this blog, I love the bonding of playing sports, doing yoga, or running with friends. Only the camaraderie of Happy Hour comes close.
A few of my work friends and I occasionally find a cheap place for Happy Hour beers on payday. I like that part of work — the socializing part after work. (Okay, I also like the socializing part AT work.) But working out with friends is really, really fun.
You learn a lot about people playing against (or with) them in sports. The biggest surprise? How good the IT people are at tennis — Fred and Cynthia, for example — are really athletic. And you don’t always equate computer nerd with jock.
Becoming a grown-up teaches you that people are not simply the high school labels we might impose upon them. People are complex. It shows through in their game.