Tennis is a Mental Sport!  

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My son is on the tennis team for middle school (Jr. High for those of us over 30). He was really excited about playing tennis because I played tennis in high school. He wasn't so excited about playing baseball after he got plastered by a pitch when he was 7 so we moved on to other sports and tennis is something I think he has some great potential in. He needs to be a little more driven but hey, he's 12 and girls and video games are still a priority in his mind.

I go out to the court with him and we do some exercises that I remember doing as a youngster to help develop diffrent aspects of his game. I have to admit his mental game is pretty strong, so I'm thinking the rest should be much easier. The problem is at this point he is pretty sucky. It's not his fault. I can only work with him a limited amount of time and I've come to find out that his "coach" is merely that in name. My son doesn't even know his coach's name because the guy never gave it to the kids. He is supposed to be a tennis player, but yesterday I went to my sons match to watch. Half of the kids didn't know how to score a match. They didn't know which side to serve from, they didn't understand when to switch sides, and they didn't understand how to play doubles. This is half of the kids. The other half understood but totally sucked at this game.

I was never a great player, but I was better than average. I didn't have the drive to be great. It was fun for me, but I didn't take the sport seriously enough to make it my focus all the time. It's not something I regret. I still enjoy the game and I'm sure that's because I never made it a job. I don't want my son to make it a job either, but I want him to see progress and this "coach" does the team a disservice. He seems to think that coaching is merely having the kids hit forehands all day at practice and standing outside the court clapping when they play (lose every single match).

Out of 9 matches yesterday, my son's team won 1 game. For those of you that don't play tennis a set consists of 6 games. At this level they only play a single set each. Sooooo we could break that down as 54-1.....I know winning isn't everything but come on about being competitive....So we shall see how tomorrow's match goes...I'm hoping for 2 games won this time...

Don't know if I mentioned but my dad's biopsy came back clear...WOOHOO!! So we move on to see what the docs at Stanford have to say about it....Fingers and toes are still crossed, but it's looking better and better for the home team on that front.

I have been safe from the HIYAA!! Since my little one developed an infection on his toe. He informed me that his kicking would have to wait until said toe is "uninfected daddy". Then he has explained to me how he will make up for all lost kicks. So at least at tennis time I will be able to breathe without any bruising on the ribs to make it difficult or uncomfortable. Lord help me make through this week :)


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Have I ever mentioned that I'm a glutton for punishment? I'm sure at some point I brought it up. I have further proven to myself that I enjoy being given the beat down at least from time to time.

Case in point. My youngest son wanted to join karate. He begged, pleaded, promised and pouted until we relented (which was fairly quickly). So he is learning to be courteous first. I thought what a great idea. To teach the children manners and to respect others is a big deal for me. So I was rather proud of my little one when the instructor offered up praise for how courteous my little one is already. "We will not have to teach your child manners. He learned them and applies them. Nice job dad!"

Ok I admit it, I might have been beaming with pride just a little bit. So we get home and he holds the door open for me (which is not something he normally does). I have not even really sat down when he asks if we can practice just a little bit of what he learned. I figure sure no problem. They were working on please and thank you for most of the hour, so how hard can it be. He then explained to me that they learned a kick and a punch. I'm thinking this is looking up. Only one punch and one kick. He should only be able to do them about 10 or 15 times each before he is tired and then I can watch Warehouse 13 and relax for a few minutes.

So the kicks come and so do the punches. After each and every one is a gut wrenching HIYAAA!!! My ears hurt far more than my arms did after this exercise. I thought for sure I had survived day one of karate until my boy told me that he was thinking about it and figured out a way to use his wrestling with his karate. A demonstration was in order of course. First comes the single leg take down (which was done exceptionally well I might add). I fall to the ground like a good practice dummy, but before I can so much as cover up I'm punched in the middle of my chest. The pain was minimal and I was thinking that for a little guy it still hurt quite a bit. That was about the time his kick caught me right about square on the solar plexus. I exhaled for about 7 hours I think. I could not catch my breath and he didn't realize that he had kicked his old man's ass thoroughly. I managed a weak smile and told him (whispered is more accurate) what a great job he did.

The little one runs off to take a shower and get ready for bed. This is about the time I sit down and try to tell my lungs to accept some oxygen. I didn't get much opportunity because here comes middle son (Cameron). He asks if we can practice tennis after school tomorrow (which is now today). Now my boy knows that I played tennis in high school. I have my nice varsity letter to prove it and he is hungry to know more than his coach is teaching him. I of course promised that we would indeed go play. I keep forgetting that I'm not a teenager anymore and I haven't held my weight to 170 lbs since high school.

We went out to the court today with a bucket of balls a few rackets and about that many bottles of water. we warmed up and started to rally. I was thinking how much I suck now that I don't play regular but it wasn't long before the ball was at least thinking of doing what I was asking it to do. I put him through some fairly grueling exercises to get him balanced (and because I'm sadistic a little bit I think). He slowed down a little but managed to keep going. We played a few points and one more long rally before we called it a night. I couldn't help thinking as we walked to the truck that I was pretty satisfied with myself for not falling over dead from exhaustion. We got home and I relaxed for a few minutes before getting up to take that nice relaxing shower. THAT'S when my body explained to me that I'm not a teenager any longer. It also explained to me that even if I was a teenager I better lose some weight if I'm going to keep this kind of ignorant behavior up.

So a shower, some advil, an ice pack and 2 hours later I'm here sharing all of this wonderful stuff with all of you. I get to play karate man again tomorrow with Ethan and then tennis boy one more time tomorrow evening with Cameron. Life is looking up . I'm thinking that maybe Ethan is going to find out what I learned in the Corps tomorrow if he tries another HIYAA!!! kick to the chest on me.

Just a quick update on other stuff going on. I did decide to at least apply for that position out of state. I was a bit reserved but I have a feeling that even if I don't get the position I have put my name out there and they will be absolutely aware of what my abilities are now. I have to admit it took me about 10 minutes to hit the send button.

The other bit of news is that my father goes in tomorrow morning for a biopsy of his lung. If the spot they found turns out to be scar tissue (which is what the doctor has been telling him for years now) then there is a good chance he could be accepted for the donor program. So fingers and toes are crossed at this point.

Since tomorrow is my birthday I have decided that I really only want three things. To survive the HIYAA!!!, to survive the tennis lesson, and for my dad to have an easy time with the procedure. Everything else has taken care of itself so far.

So there you go Momma Fargo, I think break is over for now :) You know I enjoyed that iced tea and all but a Sam Adams sure does sound good right about now. Oh the joys of getting older and feeling those aches and pains soooo clearly.