Wednesday, September 9, 2009
A somewhat crazy, incredibly manipulative, outright terrifying German supervisor I once had told me two things about myself: I have issues with authority and I am a perfectionist. At the time, I thought she was being ridiculous because, well, she was somewhat crazy, incredibly manipulative, and outright terrifying. But earlier this summer, when I took up tennis immediately after being told by my optometrist that engaging in racket sports could be detrimental to my long term eye health, I began to wonder whether or not her scare tactics about my psychological profile had some merit. Maybe I did have issues with authority. Why else would I, as athletic as I am not, as hot as the weather here is, and as much as I've not recently been interested in any sport other than badminton and croquet, take up tennis in direct and blatant defiance of the orders of my eye-health care practitioner?
Well, if good ol' A.Z. had me on one count, she wouldn't get me on the other. Because tennis has opened up a whole new world for me and my allegedly-perfectionist-self in that it has allowed me to hone a completely new and important life skill: sucking at something publically.
Now, I don't think I'm some sort of image-conscious maniac, but I do have the tendency to want to appear as though I have a basic grasp of things. But the normal survival mechanisms for looking good don't work here. There is no pretending-to-kick-as-on-all-fronts allowed out on the tennis court. If you're terrible, everyone is going to know it...mostly because you are hitting balls into their court and disrupting their game. And I am terrible. My most favorite move of late is to lob the ball about 100 feet in the air, instead of barely over the net like the pros, and making my partner wait for it to return from space before returning it. A close second favorite is to send the ball completely out of the court, and then anxiously waiting to see if it ends up on the other side of the fence or in the garbage can.
Luckily, the court we've been playing at is home to a broad range of skill levels. Also luckily, I've found out something strange: it's actually really fun. And I actually don't care that much how terrible I am. I'm just glad to be out there.
So take that Germany!
p.s. My optometrist also told me not to take up boxing.....hmm........