My lower back is in pain.
I started having back trouble about a year ago. I’m not sure how it happened but somewhere along the way it began to ache, causing insomnia.
But last night I couldn’t sleep for a different reason. I’m in pain because I began a new hobby — tennis.
I have been a fan of the sport for a while. I wasn’t an avid tennis viewer but I enjoyed playing the game and wanted to learn more about it. As a child, Nickelodeon Games and Sports for kids (Nick GAS) would profile young athletes and I would admire these professional tennis players not much older than I.
Maria Sharapova was one of those profile stars. Anna Kournikova was too, but she was praised for reasons other than tennis. But what caught the eyes of everyone else was the Williams sisters. Venus and Serena were just as big as they are now, beaded braids and all.
Saturday, I bought my first tennis racket. This was after my grandparents bought me one from Value World years ago. It was made of wood like the Billie Jean King rackets and right up their alley to purchase because it was cheap. My racket is for beginners but cost substantially more than the first.
I went to Jay County High School’s tennis court and hit against the practice wall for a bit. A 6 p.m. setting sun beamed down hard on my brow. When the ball skimmed over the wall, I was blessed for a nearby tree’s pity to offer me shade.
I can still recall the motions. The ball clinked against the wall and smacked the concrete — one bounce, two bounce, three. I rush to make the next hit. It recoils to the right, and I hit again. Over to the left the ball goes. I rush over and attempt a backhand strike. I miss. Try again.
My opponents were the practice wall chipping winter green paint and the sun’s rays flanking me from my right. Both do not wish for me to succeed. I serve the ball with intent to give the wall a thrashing. First strike pounced too hard and the ball went behind me. Try again.
This time I serve underhand. A gentle bounce scrapes the concrete twice. I strike the ball upward to keep it off the ground. One hit, two hit and the momentum continues until the ball goes too fast or I don’t make it in time to strike.
Tennis time lasted one hour.
I need to work on several things: agility, decision making, serving, strike power, back hands and overall understanding of what I’m doing. Looking up how the sport is played and what it takes to get better will be a new challenge. But it is one I have been anticipating for some time.
Readers may be wondering who won this three-way match between the wall, the sun and I. Well, considering I’m now a darker mocha shade, probably the sun.