I have played sports. I’ve tried out, went to practices, played in games and went to more practices. Although they were different sports, they were all the same. I felt the same when I played them. “Why do you like sports?” was an interview question asked during my freshman year. I caught myself from answering, “Because it is something to do.” All of the sports I have played were just “something to do”.
I never would imagine that that answer would change. My Grandfather, a tennis player himself, was always eager for me to play. Tennis, being a sport, got my mind set once again on trying, practicing, playing matches, and more practicing. My mind however, skipped a step that it had never skipped before; a new step that came into play. This step was connecting. I had connected more to tennis than any other sport. From then on, tennis was never “something to do”, tennis was my obsession. It was tennis that made me realize that I am a dedicated person.
In the month of August I went to Florida to take tennis lessons near my grandfather’s house. As I stepped onto the court, the temperature had already overwhelmed me. The ground released unpleasing heat and the sun crept on my shoulder. The instructor had me warm-up first, passing a few balls back and forth. I could already tell I was portrayed as an underdog by not making many balls go into play. My serves were off too; my toss too high, my wrist too tight, my grip completely wrong, and many other faults. I had already gotten down on myself within the first ten minutes.
Before I played, I had already told my brain that, “I was not good at tennis and that if I can’t do well the first time, why bother embarrassing myself again?” All it took was one good serve to hit that thought out of my head. I took a quick breath in, and the corners of my mouth rose as well as my eyebrows. I felt the ball that time, I didn’t just hit it. That was my connecting moment.
The instructor gave his, “Good job!” and proceeded helping me with my form; I had so many things to remember. As a young girl watching tennis, I always thought it was simple; hit the ball back and forth. I never imagined any more that goes into just one swing. Watch the opponent aim – run – pull racket back straight – keep the face of the racket parallel to the side of the court – have your elbow out, not tucked in – have wrist at about 125 degree angle – drop the racket low – have contact with ball just behind you – bring the racket up, having the wrist angle intact – follow through – run back to the middle – start over.
Although it was a lot to remember, the procedures ran through my head. Every minute I got better and better, feeling connected with the racket as we swung at the ball. I missed very few, but when I did, I smiled. It was a weird feeling because I did not get frustrated like I normally would have in a sport, instead I had the attitude that spoke, “I can only get better.”
My hand cramped, muscles in my body ached and screamed at me to stop, but I never wanted to. I kept pushing and pushing to get better, I strived for that moment in movies where the underdog becomes the champion. My swings progressed, going just over the top of the net, my serves made it in more, ace material. I felt confident for once, but I was still dedicated to progress even further.
Tennis has helped me shape and define who I am as a person. Tennis has helped me see that I am not only dedicated to that sport, but I am dedicated to other subjects such as school, family, and friends. Unfortunately in tennis, love equals nothing, because there is no better way to describe how I feel when I play.
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