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Tennis season again
Here in Arizona, in the greater Phoenix area, we get to experience something that most of the country does not. The U.S. Open is coming to a close in New York marking the final major tennis tournament of the year. Most of the country begins to wind down their tennis season and prepare for the cold months of winter. Back East many cities go indoors to play their tennis, not so here in the desert.
Arizona in the fall, marks the end of summer but it also begins to draw out all those tennis players that have hung up their rackets through the summer or for those brave few who play early in the morning or late at night. But in the Phoenix area September through April make for some excellent outdoor tennis and statistics prove that participation levels spike during those months.
Maybe you were some of those players that have watched the U.S. Open and have gotten motivated to grab your tennis racquets once again and head out onto the courts and give it your best shot. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage players to take proper steps to prepare yourself for the months ahead. For the casual recreational player I would recommend taking a clinic or two, to hone your skills and prepare you for a higher level of play. Their tennis centers throughout the greater Phoenix area that are well able to provide the sort of service and lessons you need to attain a higher level.
In this group of people heading back out onto the courts there are those folks who have children in high school that are looking to prepare for the upcoming spring tennis season. Most high schools in this area begin play at the end of January and the season begins in February, so now is the time to get the kids hitting in preparing for their upcoming varsity season.
I mention this because this is an excellent opportunity for families to kill two birds with one stone. By that I mean parents and their high school kids head out on the court’s together. Now I’m not talking about mom and dad dusting off their old wooden racquets and grabbing that can of tennis balls that has been sitting in the garage for years. I’m talking about enrolling in the program to where you can get back in shape and learn the finer points of tennis together as a family.
I’ve often said that families that play together stay together, and this is a fact that many others have found as well. There’s a lot to be said about families getting out of the house away from the TV to do things together. I have also found that tennis is the great equalizer. There is something to be said to where high school boy or girl can be out on the court with mom or dad and not have the authority issue in their face. My students in the past have found it amusing to see their parents vulnerable and struggle with the same things they do, even if it’s tennis.
So much about tennis involves around humility and that aspect is vital when maintaining communication with your high school student once you leave the courts. High school kids aren’t dumb, they may be stupid at times but they’re not dumb and they know when their parents are being real with them and when they’re not. As a parent myself, quite often I used to find myself talking at my kids. Whether it’s cleaning their room, doing their chores, doing their homework or reminding them of the hazards of driving, those are all things that we parents do instinctively because we want to make sure everything gets done correctly and safely.
But the times that parents can spend on a neutral playing field like a tennis court to where a parent doesn’t seem to be the stronger person or can’t get by with that look that we parents give kids to get our points across, tennis is a great avenue for that. Tennis is simply one of the most affordable sports that a family can play together. Tennis does not have ridiculously priced green fees like golf and the cost of equipment is minimal again nothing like golf.
So the choice is up to you for what you want to do this fall. I would recommend going to the USTA website and there you can find a place to play, a tennis pro to teach you the finer points of the game and additional information and product to make your time on the courts as enjoyable as possible.
For the first time in three years I will be returning to the courts as well to begin teaching youth clinics at the apartment complex where I live. Many of you know that I became disabled on most three years ago due to a bout of shingles. Through that I went blind for a few months and my pain levels were off the charts. Since then I did regain my eyesight but the pain factor has yet to leave because I am left with nerve damage in my low back, hip and upper thigh. But I have decided that I’m going to do this despite pain to get back onto the courts with the use of my mobility scooter and teach kids the game of tennis that I love.
Giving up the game of tennis was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. For a good portion of the past three years I was unable to even watch tennis on TV because of the way it made me feel. I miss the camaraderie of playing with the friends that I had and even looking at it on TV was too much for me to bear. So I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I return to the courts in October and try to establish myself once again in the hearts and lives of those young kids around me. I used to be very effective in what I did and I’m hoping that my condition does not prevent me in my endeavor to return to the court.
In closing, tennis is a great sport and whether you’re new to tennis or a seasoned veteran, enjoy your time on the courts because I learned first-hand you never really know what tomorrow holds.
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I appreciate your continued support!