This week has ushered in the beautiful changing seasons and all of a sudden in the midst of the crisp fall air I want to go for car rides to see the beautiful leaves, drink pumpkin spice coffee and decorate for Halloween. Our family has spent some wonderful time getting into the fall spirit by making all kinds of fall foods and enjoying the outdoors together.
While being home has had it’s stressful moments, for our family, it has been a blessing to have extra time with one another, no commute time and an opportunity to office with the view of my yard. We have also been taking time to play more together as a family. We camp out in our living room, watch movies together in our yard, set up waterparks in the summer…but we now have a new favorite pandemic-approved fall activity!
My Dad loved to play tennis when I was a kid and he begged me to play tennis with him. He bought me a racket and took me over to the tennis court close to where we lived and even brought my Mickey Mouse scooter so I could scoot around during breaks. He was a teacher, a Physical Education specialist and so naturally he was really good at teaching me all kinds of sports. Tennis was no different.
Hold your racket back.
Shake hands with the racket.
If your racket is point up the ball will go up.
All the nuggets of wisdom.
Sadly, I didn’t have the patience or interest in waiting to become good at tennis. That ship sailed.
In high school, I thought I would give it one more shot. I joined the intermurals tennis team after a boy I liked told me he played tennis. I lasted one day. ONE. DAY. This should give you a little background on the lack of athletic prowess in my life.
But despite the fact that I am not very athletic myself, I recognize the importance of sports, teamwork and think it is really important to be healthy in general. I want my kids to be healthy and enjoy sports and tennis is one of those sports that you can enjoy for a long time– therefore theoretically a great one to learn in my book.
Fast forward about twenty years. My husband plays tennis and is quite good. He was on tennis teams when we didn’t have children and even won trophies and was bumped up to good divisions. He begged me to learn how to play tennis and took me to practice. I was terrible. Not even a little good. Yet, he really wanted to play tennis with me. He sincerely hoped that we could play doubles together. To be a good supporter, I said I would try. He drew me a picture of the court and said I should cover the little area around me and he would cover the rest of the court. It did not turn out well. I didn’t know how to keep score, I kept missing the ball completely. While the other players were quite nice about my ineptness, it was clear my tennis career had ended.
So it has been about a decade since I have been on a tennis court. I went on the tennis court again with my children this time to help them to try the game. My husband stood on one side of the net and my son, daughter and I stood on the other. Given the history of my tennis, I expected to be quite horrible. Much to my surprise that I could pick up a racket a decade later with no practice or additional skills, after having 3 babies and play tennis better than ever. I figured I am comparing my skills to a 5 year old and 8 year old, of course I would be good compared to my children who have never really played before. I chalked it up to beginners’ luck and figured that would be my only shining moment with tennis. But we went back the next day, and low and behold, my tennis skills remained in tact. And even on day three, I was able to volley and hit the ball with ease.
It was on the third day that my husband revealed to me that we were using a special kind of ball for small children to learn how to play tennis– “red balls.” Apparently these balls don’t bounce as high, are easier to hit and are great for teaching 5-8 year olds. However, I plan to use them forever! I can play tennis now and it is fun! It was never fun for me before and now it is– so victory! Additionally, we now have this great pandemic activity for the fall– being able to play tennis as a family, enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company!
Today I woke up and my entire body hurt– turns out when you don’t exercise for long periods of time and then try to play tennis for three days in a row — you feel it!
What have you tried that is new in the midst of this pandemic? What kinds of new experiences are you having?