Remember how much fun we had as kids playing outside? Whether we were on our own, with siblings, or with other kids from the street or neighbourhood, there was always something fun to do. All it took was one kid who said: “I’ve got a good idea…” and we were off!
Tennis was one of those fun ideas. We’d grab old wooden racquets (perhaps a treasure found at a garage sale), find an old ball or two in the garage… and voila! We’d count to see who could bounce the ball of their racquet the most times without dropping it; we’d hit balls against the garage door (to the extent that it no longer made sense to replace those tiny glass windows in the middle of it); and we’d take over our residential street for a rally. Who needed a court? That was where the “grown-ups” played.
As tweens and teens, many of us took lessons after school or on weekends, or went to summer tennis camp. We’d play for hours, building skill and confidence day after day, and eating more popsicles to cool off than I care to remember. Pink and purple colour stained our tennis whites, and t-shirt and shorts tan lines told the story of how we’d spent our summers. Good times!
Sadly, my love of tennis took a back seat for the next twenty-plus years. I got busy with school, work, and a young family of my own. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when my youngest daughter started taking lessons, and my own childhood tennis memories came flooding back, that I decided to return to the game.
For the last few years, I’ve played several times a week from April to late October. I don’t play particularly well, and I don’t always play by the rules, but the fitness, social benefits, and fun with family and friends, always keep me coming back for more. My community club is about to open for the season, and after hitting with Joel Dembe a few weeks ago, I’m pumped for the fun, but also find myself newly-inspired and eager to improve my game… so much so, that I’m hoping to be first on our courts.
Make this the year you return to tennis. Grab your old racquet (vintage is always in style!), scoop up a new can or two of balls, and bust a few moves on or off the courts. Work up a sweat, enjoy some laughs, and slurp a grape popsicle as you celebrate your triumphant return to the game.
See you on the courts!