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love all or why i should not play tennis

June 29, 2009

I do not like to play tennis.  This might seem strange for someone who willingly took tennis lessons for many years, and played on the tennis team throughout high school, but I hate tennis.  I’m not talking about passive dislike, but a deep seething rage that takes over my body whenever I get on the court.  For some people (most people) playing tennis is a relaxing way to pass a few hours on a summer afternoon, for me it is an acid trip straight to the worst parts of my personality.  Seriously, tennis causes me to engage in not one but all of the seven deadly sins.  

Lust for the deep, low forehands of the players on the court next to me.  Hits that practically drip with topspin, and make a barely audible reverberation as they hit the sweet spot of the racket every single time.  Lust for their relaxed smiles, after all they’re only warming up, and have many hours of happy play ahead of them.  Emotional gluttony as I allow myself to become frustrated, little fingers clenching the racket, as another ball dribbles down my side of the net.  Greed as I hoard the balls on my side of the net, and refuse to walk very fast to pick them up, taken over by some tennis demon who makes me want to annoy my opponent as much as possible.  Acedia as I am taken over by a melancholy that is only deepened as my partner does things like smile at their mistakes, or make little jokes, or talk about how much fun this is.  Wrath as I pound my racket on the ground after a lost point, and then give my partner the silent treatment when they say how close my last serve really was to being in.  Wrath as they call out the score.  What sick god invented this cruel sport and then termed the lowest score ‘love’.  As far as I’m concerned all scores in tennis should begin with the word ‘hate.’  Envy for the people who enjoy tennis, the people who wear tennis dresses designed for Adidas by Stella McCartney, the people who are not sitting on the baseline crying over a Penn 4.  Finally, pride as I realize that this whole thing is a huge ego-trip-up and that I will never again subject myself to such torture.  

I had a boyfriend who almost broke-up with me for crying on the tennis court.  My dad and I have been in countless fights over my bad sportsmanship.  The first step is admitting you have a problem, and I have a problem, I hate playing tennis.  I promise to do whatever is in my power to keep from putting myself in situations where I will be tempted to play.  I may never be strong enough to marry a WASP, but alcoholics don’t marry bartenders either.  It’s just too much temptation.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2009 9:27 pm

    How about ping pong?

  2. Kent McMIllan permalink
    July 1, 2009 1:19 am

    Okay, I promise not to make a habit of this, but I’ve got to comment. Then I’ll return to that parallel universe where I don’t.

    I think that I’d rate this post as very close to the top of what you’ve done so far. It has a measure of grace and a smooth, powerful stroke. But where is the follow-through? You’ve diagnosed the problem in so many synonyms, but for some reason the writing muscles give out just when the metaphoric ball touches the gut strings of the racket.

    Isn’t the problem that the blogger is overwhelmed by what she experiences as failure? That is partially a framing problem, it seems to me. Games are framed by strict rules that rigidly describe who wins and who loses, but as a metaphor of the psyche, tennis is much more than that. It isn’t about winning and losing, it’s about keeping the ball in play. That is what relationships ultimately are all about as well.

    I mean, if you are playing at the top of your social form, you are trying to return the ball to the other court with what passes for elegance and grace. If it so happens that the other simply cannot keep up, well, in a sense you have lost because you didn’t match your style of play to theirs.

    Possibly were the blogger to reframe what constitutes winning, she might not feel the weight of not.

  3. hunnix permalink
    September 18, 2009 5:48 pm

    I beg to differ. What you have written is sacrilege to me. Tennis brings such immense joy either through watching or playing. With any sport, the objective is to judge how competitive you are and without competition you’d never really know your worth and Life is really about challenges. You can experience such raw emotions you haven’t ever felt before and that can really make you feel alive and give you a purpose.

    I’m not foisting off on you but as a lover of the sport I couldn’t resist typing this in.

  4. October 13, 2009 5:05 pm

    tennis tips

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