Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Hard to miss hard court dedication at special place

This morning, George was to speak at a dedication for the new hard tennis courts at The Holyoke Canoe Club. He got the project started, donating $10,000, and others followed his lead and reached the goal of $25,000. I did my little part. He said some 60 people donated. Anyone who donated could cut a piece of the ribbon. 

When they reached the goal, he had said, with a big grin on his face, that he felt like George Bailey from A Wonderful Life. 

Apparently enough people said they wouldn't attend that the celebration this morning would be under the limit of 50 people set by the governor. I thought of going. I really wanted to. But concerns about my funky immune stopped me. He is always there, so I think I will go over this afternoon to ask how it went. 

I did a Serenity Yoga Studio yoga class (at home) during the time of the celebration. The teacher lives nearby, and next time I might do it at her house. I gave Maddie a good walk first so that she wouldn't come and try to sit on the mat with me. She seems to like to do that. I like it when she lies down beside me but not when she hogs, or rather dogs, the mat. 

George has helped me so much during all of my comebacks. It's not just the tennis. It's having the clinics – summer camp for adults. I told him I don't know if it's improving my tennis, but I come for the fun. He said it is, so I'll take him at his word. It's figuring out a way, this year, to have socially distant watermelon during breaks and place our chairs far enough apart and telling stories. We both talk about our fathers and tennis. "My father always said..."

My favorite of my own is, "Don't kid yourself how good you are when you're hitting with the pro." George says it's not totally true because he often hits us hard-to-get balls.

It's the breeze and the river and his "air-conditioned court," the one closest to the river. 

It was telling me not to take more than one step when I first came back after my fourth stem cell transplant, because that's all I could do. If you didn't know him, you would have been insulted by the way he said it..."Don't go for that ball, you won't make it." 

When I got to the point of being expected to get more balls, if I missed one, I would joke, "but I was in a coma." That would have been 11 years ago, when the coma was in the recent past. One day when the coma was farther into the past, I said, "I guess I can't use that excuse any more." So I stopped. 

In any case, he was a big part of this story I wrote for espnW.com about how tennis helped me recover from leukemia.


Well, I guess I forgot to post that one!

Later in the day we went over and hit some balls and sat on chairs at the hard court and heard about the dedication. The idea is that these courts will be playable further into the cold weather than the clay courts. If the inside season started now, I wouldn't go in. I would of course miss tennis in the winter. If things change, maybe I would change my mind. I look kind of silly in this mask in the photo but I took the photo after tennis at Longmeadow High School courts with a little explanation of why the smell from this kind of mask brings back bad memories of wearing these when I was severely immunocompromised. Hey, this is kind of related to tennis: something I wrote about backhanded compliments. 

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