1/22/2014

Coulda Woulda Shoulda

I played competitive tennis from the age of 10.  Rising through the ranks of club play, club tournaments, city tournaments / leagues, state tournaments and finally high school tennis team.

I played the number one position in both singles and doubles during 10th, 11th and 12th grade.  My sophomore year record was 3-9, that is 3 wins and 9 losses, basically I was outmatched physically.  I ended my senior year with a 9-3 record and getting to the finals of the District tournament, losing to the best player in the city who went on to play at Aurburn University and then the pros.

So what were my strengths?
  • Speed
    • I was fast and had good footwork from years of soccer
  • Anticipation
    • I could see the ball early to get in position, some people said I was deceptively fast
  • Endurance
    • Because I worked out every day I could play in the Florida heat for hours
  • Two handed backhand
    • Since I threw left handed, my two handed backhand was powerful and accurate
So what were my weakness'?

  • Serve
    • Since I played tennis right handed and threw a ball left handed, I did not have the natural throwing motion in my right arm, so I had to have a strong second serve with lots of spin
  • Keeping Score
    • For some reason I lost track of the score easily to my disadvantage
  • Seeing the ball 
    • I had difficulty seeing the ball to determine if it was in or out and didn't want to be called a cheater, so I played many out balls
  • Temper
    • Sad but true, there were many a times I lost my temper into a free fall spiral
  • Perfection
    • I expected to win every point and even the slightest error upset me
During High School I lived and breathed tennis, that's all I did, every day, including weekends.  Many of my team mates got tennis scholarships.  I ended up quitting tennis cold turkey which severely impacted my life.

Without tennis, how does one compete?  Stay in shape?  Have goals?  Identity?

The short answer is they all go down the drain.  The lost 17 years.  Until the age of 34 I picked up the racquet again.  To play club leagues.  City leagues.  State tournaments.  Earning a national ranking of 14 in the men's 35s.  And taught tennis full time.  Indeed a minor comeback.

And then proceeded to quit again as I found a wife and went back to computer programming full time.  I'll never forget those couple of years they were lots of fun.  Teaching tennis was an experience I never had before and I was good at it.  At the moment, I have no interest in tennis or competition.  I took it as far as it could go, gave it the best shot, had some good victories and that's that.

How far could I have gone had I played tennis in college?  Who knows.  At this point, it doesn't really matter.

I'll settle for living the married life, having a family of 4 legged creatures, taking walks in nature smoking cigars, relaxing by the pool and exercising.  For that I'm thankful.

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