Monday, October 24, 2011

Swept Away

If it's one thing I know, it's that I am happiest when I'm playing tennis. Despite an often frustrated exterior after missing shots or having flaws in my game, it is my form of mediation, my sanctuary to leave the outside world behind and focus on the now. It is this feeling of selfless absorption -- learned that in Philosophy and Art, bitches -- that I've actually been looking for a lot lately. Earlier in the year I actually tried "sitting" to meditate, and believe it or not I think it was my lack of hip mobility that deterred any further pursuit. Indian-style (sorry, Karth, Native-American style) simply doesn't work for me.

I thought about all this today when I was playing tennis early this morning with a 67 year-old Japanese man named Yoshi. At that age, you'd think he'd be an easy match for a strapping 23 year-old who played college tennis, but I swear this guy must be eating his miso or some shit, because he has maintained the grace and agility that competitive tennis demands. We met at his friends house, an elderly woman named Girdie, who ironically was a patient of mine at Peak Performance PT. She has a remarkable yard, with neatly arranged stepping stones, and quaint tables and chairs set up on a patio that has likely not changed a bit in twenty years. Rustic, elegant, and unique, this place exudes calm. A bit further, and draped with trees, is a green clay tennis court. There is no USTA Slam played on green clay, and yet it is a wonderful surface and often seen at clubs around the Northeast. Easier to maintain than red clay, it's a more coarse, almost gravel-like composition that still allows the player to slide into shots and use a wicked slice to his or her advantage. The lines, made of a slick white plastic, are really what makes playing on clay unique, however. Nailed in at the beginning of the season, the lines accelerate the ball upon contact, repeatedly throwing off any rhythm that may have been established. It's exciting, frustrating, and fun.

Once the seal of the ball can was broken, I instinctively inhaled the fumes that I've come to love and crave after any type of tennis hiatus. We played a gentlemanly match full of slices, drop-shots (Yoshi's specialty), and unexpected line-clips and shook hands knowing that it was exactly how both of us had wanted to start our day. We grabbed the giant brooms and line dusters necessary for proper grooming, and began the sweep. It was while dragged the broom back and forth across the court that I was thinking about the blog and how a menial, meaningless activity like sweeping can represent so much to me; ending something I love to do with the preparation and anticipation for the next round. What could be better than that?

1 comment:

  1. Hah, awesome post man, sounds like a great hit. I have not swung a tennis racket in almost a year and a half now and it's killing me. Such a great sport.