space“Tennis is a lifetime sport,” is a common phrase used by coaches across Wisconsin and beyond. While that is one reason I love tennis, when I brainstormed other reasons, I became overwhelmed with ideas. Here are just a few:

spaceFirst and foremost, tennis has provided me with tremendous memories. When I was young, my parents would me and my older brother and sister “tennising”. I’m not sure where they got the term, but I do remember the parks: Forest Hills, Spring Rock, Field Park; we went wherever there was an open court. Sometimes we played for fun, sometimes the event turned to argument instead of match play. Either way, the collective experiences brought us closer as a family. I also remember playing just about the entire day when I was younger. We would play at a single court at our elementary school in the morning, then we’d go to three consecutive lessons in the afternoon at the main park in my suburb. Although the three sessions were essentially the same exact lesson three times in a row, we still enjoyed it tremendously. Every Friday the high school students would drive us play in a tournament against another suburb. Although typically terrified at the erratic driving (I’m still not sure how that arrangement was allowed), I’ll always remember those afternoons. Lastly, I remember the one and only time my parents ever called me in sick when I really was not sick. We went to watch the girls team at state, and since my dad was a principal and my mom was a teacher, I knew it was a big deal that they did not make me go to school that day.

spaceTennis has also taught me many life lessons. The first is one that I’ve been able to apply to any life situation; perseverance. A few months after I turned 16, I was allowed to drive myself to a tournament in Rolling Meadows, IL, about 30 minutes from where we lived. It was the longest distance I had ever driven by myself. About halfway there, I rear ended a car in front of me, and that woman hit the man in front of her. As luck would have it, I did not have my license and had not taken the time to learn about what to do if you hit someone. The woman was furious with me; I still remember her charging at my car in her business suit. After we exchanged information, I still needed to continue on to the tournament. I was hoping for my match to be over quickly so I could go home and fess up or come up with a better story. As luck would have it, my first round match lasted about three hours. The reason I will always remember it is that I had so much on my mind, but it didn’t matter, I still had to play. I was thinking my parents would be furious, I’d never be able to drive again and I would have to sell my racquets to pay for the damage to the car. By the end of the day, however, I had somehow won my match and fessed up to my parents. I am not sure why, but my dad said, “ok, no big deal.” I’m still not sure if those were really my parents saying those words, but I’ll always remember the story because sometimes in life we just have to tough out a personal situation.

spaceMy other major life lesson was dealing with disappointment. I will never forget the last match of my high school career. In the state qualifying match, a team from Chicago came to Sedgwick Park and beat me and my partner in three sets. I’ll never forget how final that day felt. No practice the next day, no state, nothing. It was a very difficult situation to deal with, but I kept playing tennis for fun and eventually moved past it. Without the sport, I would have still experienced disappointment, but with tennis I had a way to get through it.

spaceI am very fortunate to have been exposed to the sport of tennis. A major influence that pushed me to teaching was that I grew to love it in high school teaching younger kids during the summer. So in addition to tennis being a lifetime sport, it has provided me with many other benefits that have made me the person I am today.