Game, Love, Tennis

I was staying at the Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman. This sentence alone is mind blowing to a ‘white trash’ Kentucky girl. There were so many amazing and beautiful things I could write about: the jet skis across the ocean, the sting rays I got to swim with, the snorkeling out in the clearest and brightest water I have ever seen in my life, jerk seasoning on everything!!, and sun bathing at a resort that will just bring you the most delicious pina coladas you have ever had, but instead I would like to tell you about tennis. This was a vacation away from children. All 5 kids staying with their Granny and Pappy. The dog chilling with our best friends. I picked parasailing and sting rays as the things I really wanted to do. The parasailing, unfortunately, did not work out due to weather conditions. My husband got to pick as well. He agreed my options were awesome, but as far as resort perks go he really wanted to try the aerobic tennis session. Yeah, sure this sounds awesome. I would love more than anything to do aerobic tennis. I am in pretty decent aerobic health. I have been working on it over the last few months. I have no doubt I can do the aerobic part. You see it is the tennis part I feel like I may not be able to do. My husband played in high school and has sporadically kept it up as an adult. Through him I have learned to love watching tennis. As far as learning to play? Well, I am not the best student. There I said it. What a load off of my chest. I get frustrated if I can’t do it right away. I get angry if I don’t understand why my movements aren’t correct. I am doing it that way!!!!! After a few attempts at teaching me while engaged or newly married we both gave up any ideas of tennis for exercise or as a doubles team. I am still an avid couch tennis watcher. I drive my son to his tennis lessons. I do not however play tennis. Like, not at all.

We are on this amazing once in a lifetime vacation so I am down with doing aerobic tennis. He really wants to, and I am not opposed, it is just that one little fact of my not knowing how to play tennis. He assures me it will be fine. It will be a large group and lots of beginners and lots of fun. So we order the golf cart to drive us to the tennis courts. We grab tennis rackets from the pro shop and meet our aerobic tennis group. By group I soon learn we actually mean me, Pete, and three others. Three others who live on the island and come to almost every aerobic tennis session at the Ritz. They are on super friendly terms with the tennis pro who is leading the class. Of course they are, they come weekly. We start out by lining up and everyone doing forehands then running to the back of the line in order to repeat. I realize now that everyone will be able to see that I have no real idea how to even hold this racket in my hand. I just go last and try to mimic what I see others doing. Y’all I had no idea what I was doing. Where does my dominant hand go? Top? Bottom? Do you use one hand? Two hands? WTF is going on here?

This all leads to us doing volleys, lobs, backhands, and really who knows what else because I don’t actually know how to do any of these strokes. Like not at all. The pro is like- ‘Oh, do you use both hands?’ No, more like I am left handed and am just hoping some other people are left handed and I can try to do what they are doing.

Do you think I was a total natural? Nope. All these fabulous tennis people are watching me run up to the net and swing and miss over and over and over again. I even manage to get hit in the face, chest, and arm a few times. The pro decided to do some pairing up of the group. He puts me alone. I am last. Everyone goes up and does all these cool strokes with ease and together. I go up and get smashed in the chest alone with everyone else watching. I think the aerobic part of this is just playing tennis. Just running back and forth across the court.

The last part of the session involved standing at the back line and doing 10 perfect strokes. Hahaha. I see the pro tell the best of these players that they have to repeat a stroke. It happens to each person. Now it is my turn. I am wondering just how long I will have to try, how many attempts until he says fine we will just quit? I think I had hit maybe 5 balls in 50 minutes. Obviously, I am very talented. Luckily, or embarrassingly, he has me come up to the half court line, and guides me by saying—Swing!! It doesn’t take as long as I feared, and the regulars are cheering me on. When I finally get to 10 they all clap and tell me I did a great job. I must say that I was relieved by their kindness vs my fear they would be quite snobby and rude about it.

However, I will say I hope my husband appreciates that I was so game in this situation. I hate making an ass of myself in the sports arena. This is probably why I never made it very far in any sport. I am not super graceful. I am the girl that spills ketchup all over her white shirt walking back to the table. This was love. This was a total giving up of any pride and strictly doing it for another. Love isn’t always grand huge magical gestures. Sometimes it is playing tennis in front of experienced players when you don’t even know what to do when the instructor says we are going to do volleys. It is also admitting that yeah, maybe you did have fun even though you’re clueless the whole time.IMG_0853

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