Sunday, August 9, 2020

'There's no crying in tennis'


In my opinion, the goal of a volley drill is to keep it going, to practice control, not to win a point. You don't want to hit a pouf ball because you need momentum, but you don't want to slam it either. I probably shouldn't have said anything, but I did on Wednesday when the player on the other side of the net was playing speed ball. We got nowhere near the number of volleys that George wanted. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of "I think it works better to hit it more slowly." Or maybe it was, "I think it works better when you don't hit it as hard."

Her response: "I'm here for me too."

Say what?

She was not one of the regulars. I actually know her from Friday night mixers and team tennis, and we have a good rapport, so I didn't get why she was so edgy. (I was going to say hostile but that's a little bit much.) People understandably don't like to be told anything by anyone except for the pro. I get it. But at least have a better response than "I'm here for me too." It didn't make any sense. Who knows, maybe it bothered the writer in me. "Here for me too" doesn't work if you're not keeping the ball in play.

A friend (who we love) who doesn't live here anymore hit it equally hard in drills, also to the point of defeating the purpose. If we pointed it out, she would just say "I can't hit it any other way!" or something like that. Nobody got defensive and nobody got upset. We would just laugh.

In any case, on Wednesday, we rotated soon after. In two rotations, I ended up next to George and opposite the hard hitter and another player. One of her first balls hit me hard in the arm. My skin is very sensitive, and my sympathetic nervous system is probably over-reactive. I had to fight back tears. (There's no crying in tennis!) I grabbed my arm and gave her a look. "I said I'm sorry. It wasn't that hard," she said. I didn't hear the sorry part but I don't doubt it. But wait...the "It wasn't that hard part" wasn't necessary. It hurt, so it was hard enough. When we rotated again, I walked off the court to collect some balls and collect myself.

That left three in the next rotation. My spot would have been against the hard hitter. "Ronni doesn't want to hit with me," she said to them, loudly. It sounded like playground talk. One of the others called over that she would hit with me instead. I actually wasn't avoiding her...It was hot, we had been there a long time, and I was just taking a break. But the drill called for four people and I didn't want to mess it up, so I went back and hit with the other person.

It all ironed out by the end of the morning. But it was not your usual magic day at the Canoe Club. I thought I would get black-and-blue but at least that didn't happen.

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