My feet are sore. I had a tennis lesson this afternoon followed by a match with my friend Amelia. I wanted to show Nelson how far along I have come so we went back to Howard Park Tennis Club this evening and played from 9:30 until 11. I’ve become somewhat of a tennis snob and prefer to play on a proper tennis surface (rather than playing on a public asphalt court), plus Howard Park is lit. Nelson agreed and paid the $10 guest fee. It’s truly frustrating playing against Nelson because I get excited about how much I have improved, but I end up feeling like a sucky player. He hits the balls much faster, lower and harder than Amelia and my instructor. I had to ask him to try to hit the balls more consistently (returning them to me at a consistent speed and trying to get the ball to arch as it races over the net) so that I could continue to work on my positioning, path of the racquet and getting a better understanding of ball spin. Although I didn’t feel I was able to work on much of any of those things, playing with Nelson does give me a taste of “real” tennis. This is what I’m aspiring to be able to do – return fast balls, with proper tennis form. The form does not yet come naturally to me. As the ball is coming towards me, the things that are going through my head, all at the same, jumbled time are:
* backhand or forehand – run and get into position so that I am waiting for the ball
* stand facing perpendicular to the net
* how did my opponent hit the ball (low to high open face or closed face?). Should I move up – is it a bottom spin? Grr, wrong guess and now I’m reaching.
* feet and shoulder must be aligned in the direction that I want the ball to go
* wait for it…hit on the down. Oh shoot! The ball is coming further back – run backwards.
* wait, swing when the ball is coming down at waist level
* ensure racquet face angle is at the correct angle based on the speed I plan on hitting the ball to ensure the ball gets over the net (say what?)
* follow through (thinking about the path of my swing – must end up with the butt of my racquet facing the net and over the opposite shoulder)
* use my whole body. When my swing has been completed, my back shoelace should be facing the net.
* remember to hit low to high to get the nice arch trajectory.
* don’t admire my own good shot – run back into position
Repeat above thoughts over and over until the game is done.
I think smoke is coming out of my ears. Too much to process. Did I mention that I hit 2 balls out of the courts and into the “forest”? Oh, and I got a ball to the ear.
I applaud professional tennis players. I never realized how much observation, technical adjustments, speed and hand-eye coordination is required. It’s a fun sport and I’m not going to quit. I will be able to play a real game with Nelson one day – that was and continues to be my goal.
Anyway, we left the club at 11, which is when it closes. As we turned onto Indian Valley Crescent, Nelson and I both noticed something odd. It looked like a body between two parked cars with an arm and a head poking out further than the cars. We slowly back up and I tentatively open my door and yell out to the body on the road, “Hey, are you ok? Do you need assistance?” No response. From the size of the hand and the shape of the fingers, I was pretty certain it was a female. She was wearing all black and was face down on the road. Nelson pulls over and we walk back to check out the situation a little more carefully. As we near, I again speak to the body and again, no movement or response. Nelson dials 911 and reports the situation. We stay near to ensure no cars come around the corner too quickly and run over her head. While Nelson is on the phone with EMS, a fire truck pulls onto this small street, sirens blaring. It is followed by an ambulance and a police car – what a scene! The firemen approached her, turned her over and she eventually came to. “Victim” turns out to be a young teenager who passed out. She had had too much to drink and probably did some other things. I have a feeling we probably got her grounded, once the police take her home to her parents, but at least she’s alive.
It’s late. I’m tired. I just finished making a tabbouleh salad for Sean’s housewarming. I better hit the sack. Before the housewarming, we’re headed to Jesse’s for the Beer Olympics. Nelson and I are team Baconater. I’ll let you know if we win any of the events. Goodnight!