Friday, July 21, 2006

Serena and Myskina

Watch the video
My Grandma was a tennis player when she was growing up in Southern California. She played all through her youth and early adulthood and when we lived with her in the mid 80's, she paid for lessons for me to play.

I loved it at the time and made the High School tennis team; it was one of three Varsity sports I played my freshman, basketball and track. I moved to Cincinnati after my freshman year and for some reason abandonned tennis for cross country (though my real love was soccer).

I joined the swim team that same year as a way to bridge the off season between cross country and track. I had no aspirations for the pool whatsoever, I couldn't even do a flip turn when I joined the team, but, I was fast and I kept getting faster in the pool and at some point my coach suggested I give up running to focus on swimming. It made sense to me, so I went full force into the swimming world, where I stayed for the remainder of high school and my first two years of college.

College swimming is all consuming. Think 30 hours a week of training, plus study tables, full time classes and all of your social activites linked to the team. I loved it at first, but as I watched the rest that college has to offer elude me, I ditched the pool for left wing politics, djing and explorations of my sexuality.

By the time I was a senior, I had my first girlfriend, a job at the record store, new best friends and the freedom to return to tennis. I spent a summer after graduation in Athens and played daily with my girlfriend and my housemate. Our evening routine went like so: two hours of tennis, home cooked food and a night on the couch watching the Real World on MTV or highlights of Wimbledon. I broke my elbow playing tennis that summer.

That was 13 years ago and somewhere along the way, tennis got shoved into a corner again. Last month I visited my ex-girlfriend and hit the courts again. I immediately remembered how much I love the sport. This week I did something I've wanted to do for years. I went to Cincinnati to watch professional tennis. It was awesome, we lucked out and got to see Serena Williams play one of the other top ranked players in the world. I didn't care who was on the court, I just wanted to see them whack the ball in person. Serena hit a serve 127 miles per hour. Whew.......

I didn't mean to write all of this when I sat down, I was just going to post the video, but I think my relationship to tennis is kind of like my relationship to a favorite pair of shoes. I love the memory of the shoes, I can't get rid of them, I like to know they are still sitting there in the back of the closet, sometimes I like to get them out and wear them again, and everytime I do I wonder why I have neglected them for so long and then I remember why I never got rid of them in the first place.

Speaking of shoes, the ones I have on in the picture are first edition Nike velco tennis shoes. That's me, forever on the tip of the latest fashion trends!

1 comment:

pixelville said...

Ok and I'm gonna guess that you probably still have those shoes somewhere in the back of a closet?

just kidding. :)

sweet picture. and nice thoughts about the things that are meaningful to us, maybe even drive our lives at one point, and then recede along the way into the background. It's good to bring them back out again sometimes. To remember the things that have made us who we are.