Publisher's Desk: Longing for the Tennis Court

When I feel impatient, I tend to picture squeegees in my head. 
Tennis coach Pattielu Clark reminded me of this last week before the District tennis tournament as she told me rain was forecast for Friday’s finals. 
I remember several tennis tournaments in high school opening with the expectation of play followed by countless squeegees soaking up water on the courts — for hours. 
What a disappointment. 
This impatience was always followed with the chance to play, which is all we really wanted. 
I looked forward to tennis tournaments all year in high school. 
I remember the moment I realized how much I loved tennis. 
I started playing tennis my junior year. At the end of the season, we were on the bus pulling out of the parking lot of the District tournament. We had lost terribly. 
And despite the fact that we had played tennis all day and had been around tennis all day, all I wanted to do was go back to our home court and keep practicing. 
So my tennis partner and I started back to practice the next week. 
Despite busy schedules and involvement in other sports, we played as many times a week as we could for the next year. A few others started joining us. 
Soon there were four or five of us practicing consistently. We were having fun, but we were also getting better, teaching each other techniques and strategies. 
It wasn’t a coach but a good friend that taught me how to hit a backhand.
When my partner couldn’t hit with me, I’d go out with 100 balls and practice serving. 
I did research online to find out how to serve and watched professional tennis players do it over and over.
Eventually, my dreams were of tennis and my racket arm would involuntarily move as if hitting a ball whenever I was thinking hard about something. 
Sometimes that still happens, actually. 
I wouldn’t say tennis was my life by any means — like many high school students, we had a lot of activities going on — but I sure enjoyed the hard work and the time spent with friends.
Finally, we got to go to tournaments. Being a small school, several of our tournaments were in the same town, and my coach insisted we ate at Golden Chick every time. It became kind of a thing. 
And one day that season, after Golden Chick and a lot of tennis, my partner and I won District.  
The weather has been clear recently (no need for squeegees!) so Sarah and I have dusted off our rackets a couple of times. 
Dublin’s little tennis courts could use some work, but they’re good for just hitting around and having fun. 
We’re not trying to be competitive or improve, really, just take a break and move around. 
We lather Darci up in sunscreen and she chases balls and plays with rocks while we hit back and forth. 
Sometimes she even holds up a racket for a moment, like she’s going to take a swing at a ball (or us). 
Then we all take a goldfish snack break. 
These days the competition isn’t so important. Instead, I’m picturing squeegees as I sit in my office, imagining the three of us are on the tennis court right now. 

 Dykowski is the publisher of the Dublin Citizen and can be reached at 445-2515 and publisher@dublincitizen.com.
 

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