This weekend I watched my brother play his first tennis match . Sure he played a few tournaments when he was younger, but since I was already away at school and then with my move up north, I never saw him play. So, this was the first time I sat on the sidelines. I was itching. I wanted so badly to go out there and play.
This is somewhat a surprising reaction since I hated playing when I was his age. Okay, maybe not hated, but the fear of playing bad was always there, so I would choke, I would play like a champ, choke again, write a novel in my head of all the things I was doing wrong, maybe put on a play and then re-focus to play the match again. It was exhausting. So, when I was watching my brother play I was wishing I could be playing with my current grasp on my mental well-being. While I still tend to sometimes crack with my impatience or doubt, I am 85% more sound in mind than I was when I played. I had scratched that itch a bit when I practiced with my brother a couple of weeks earlier. It felt great. The motions were all there, and when they weren't, I knew what I was doing wrong. While sitting and watching, all I wanted to do was play. I wanted to play giving it my all and get that feeling I would get on the rare occasions I played with no lurking shadows of doubt.
My brother won his match with ease. He got a bit frustrated, but for the most part, kept it level and played his game. His opponent was a nice kid, probably a freshmen as well. They at one point had changed the score card incorrectly and thought their match had finished a game earlier and shook hands as if they were done. Then my brother turned to me and I had to hand gesture to him that the score was, in fact, 4-1 and not 7-0 (sometimes I wonder where his head is at). His doubles match came next, in which which they struggled for a bit, but then came out on top. I remember that Andrew kept asking why they were shaking hands between each point they won. I told him that was just a motivational ritual. I remember playing with my college partner and we would tap "spirit fingers" as our motivational ritual. With tennis being such a singular sport and interaction being almost non-existent, doubles allows you to have some fun. I only played doubles in college, and while at the time it was stressful, today I look back and appreciate going through all those experiences and having someone to share it with.
So, this Summer, I hope my brother drags me out to the tennis courts in order to better his game. I hope that in the next few years, whether it is here in Lake Placid or the next place we call home, that I join a league or find a group of people that still play with a need for some healthy competition. When I have children, it would be wonderful to see them pick up a racquet. That way, I can stand on the sidelines and beam with pride that my kid is kicking ass (more specifically their dads ass).