Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One Young Hour a Day

Among the curses of war is that of homeless refugees. With Iraq, the surrounding nations bear most of the refugee burden, which totals in the millions. The USA has taken 7,000 Iraqis in, and lamely promises to do better. In the meantime, neutral Sweden has admitted 40,000 Iraqis. One city has taken in more of Iraq's huddled masses than all of the US - and Canada.

If you were to list some things that are common in the lives of younger adults, what would be included? Career choice and progress, raising children, attending and participating in sports, lots of inter-gender "cuddly time", dancing, home improvements, taking on new challenges, etc.
I'm no kid. I guess I've described this before, but when you can remember the original Mouseketeers palling around with Walt Disney on black and white TV, no one's calling you "kid" anymore. So, from that list above, the only one that still applies is the one about sports.
I admit it. I get the chance to play my game almost daily now. It's tennis. Sometimes it's with guys on their lunch break on two courts near downtown. It's noisy, there are sometimes puddles to sweep up, the quality of play is often spotty, and we never know who, from a group of a dozen or so, is coming. But that's OK. Our unstated bylaws guarantee everyone a chance to show his stuff. A woman showed up once. She thought she was a player, but had been misinformed. We serve 'em up when the weather allows every weekday, with some guys involved Saturday and Sunday, too.
Once a week I get to play at the club, a term which sounds WAY more glamorous than it is. One of our every-week opponents is in his eighties and used to play with good opponents, but he's now stuck with us. He doesn't cover much court, but he surprises us with trick shots every week. My partner and I cannot do better than play dead even against him and his partner, a bald guy my age who moves like a greyhound. At the club they have indoor courts, so we never get rained out, which can be a local problem.
I'm never sure whether or not I can actually improve. You'd think all this play would help, and I guess it does, but it's still a rear guard action. I never know when it will seem easy and when nothing will work. The biggest question is - how much longer can I play AT ALL? In the meantime, there's no league, no recorded scores, and we sometimes have stop in the middle of a set. We've played a tournament or two amongst ourselves, but we're so unofficial that the city won't even give us keys to the park's restrooms. Oy.
Winning at this stage means less, but I know when I've played decently and when nothing has worked. It's not like golf, where there's a score measuring you against the course. I've seen the local high school players, and we're as good as most of them. At a certain point, you just have to give the other guy the calls he deserves, treasure the good shots, forget the bad ones and be thankful to be a young person for one hour a day.


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