[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

For the love of learning a new sport

If I could, I would have picked up Squash. Emerging from what many would call mid-life crisis – a phase of life when you know you got to be doing something else, but know nothing more about what that else is – I recently picked up a less intense, but equally addictive sport, Tennis.

Who doesn't get inspired by that?

I don’t recall ever seeing a Tennis court growing up in India. Yet, I religiously read The Hindu’s SportStar magazine and go for war with my brother to own the center page blow up of Boris Becker. Over the years, I generally watched all the grand-slam finals – just for the love of Tennis and the kick of its corner to corner, head-turning rallies. Not to mention the compelling changes in the way the game is played these days – thanks to Federer, Nadal and now, Djoikovich.

Last fall, the dormant Becker in me finally decided to show up. At 36, I committed to learning yet another sport. This idea was certainly not new to me. I taught myself to roller-blade when I was 24 and to snowboard when I was 26! But I haven’t played an active, outdoor, athletic sport since high-school where I made a vain attempt to earn a spot in the district field hockey team. So this time I was absolutely ecstatic signing up for beginner lessons at the Warren Racquet Club – I now have one more way to get my receding HDL cholesterol back up! Besides, one of my best friends who has been playing for a few years now kept reminding me that once you start playing Tennis, you won’t give it up for life. I knew exactly what that means now that I meet tennis partners who must be in their 70s and even 80s. Let’s not go into the details of how many of these older buddies kick me around the court.

Over the last few months, this new commitment has taught me the big difference between knowing and doing. I knew the rules of the game, have seen the best shots in slow motion, have mercilessly critiqued the world’s best players for playing up to their potential, have read best of the articles on tennis for over a decade. But…that’s a big fat BUT, I could not hit the ball into the court for many many days.

With help from the left-over athlete in me spurred by a relentless desire to improve, I have upped the game to the point where I not only get the balls into the court, I even pull a few winners occasionally. I have also taken bold step to sign up for the USTA 3.0 Adults League – I am in Business!

I read somewhere that Life is simply a combination of keys and locks. All one must try is to match the right key with the right lock, then, satisfaction and happiness prevails.

You might wonder why I started off with Squash then? I don’t exactly know. Perhaps, it will remain the greatest sport I never played but read everything about since I am just about halfway done with reading how Trinity College’s squash team continues to remain at the top of the college squash circuit [Run to the Roar: Coaching to Overcome Fear].

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