Procrastination is one of the better talents I posses, along with being able to pull out wedgies without anyone noticing and cooking up the meanest peanut butter and jelly sandwich this side of the Mississippi. It’s easy to find excuses to not do something you’re supposed to do. Like right now, right this very second on this rainy Sunday night, I have two papers due by noon tomorrow. I had planned on doing them earlier in the week, but one thing led to another and here we are.
Today after practice, (when I was going to do my homework) my wonderful teammate Mike Davis asked for volunteers to go to Champaign’s finest tennis center to help him out with some sort of group project he was doing for class. As I shyly hid behind two other players and avoided direct eye contact in hopes of not having to go, I overheard that I had no choice in the matter as I was already volunteered for and would be going rather I liked it or not. (The woes of being a freshman, and oh yea thanks Mike)
Tennis sort of runs in the Griffey family, but when I say sort of I don’t mean regular tennis. Griffey’s are bred to play one game, and that is table tennis. No, not ping-pong, table tennis. When compared to hoops, basketball is just a hobby; table tennis is my real sport. Okay, time for a recapitulation. (Did you know recap is abbreviated for recapitulation? Why we don’t use the real word is beyond me because that word is awesome) Back to the recap, yes, I just stated that basketball is just a hobby and table tennis is a real sport and yes table tennis is a SPORT, it’s in the Olympics, and yes I will call you out if you call it ping-pong rather table tennis. Digest that for a second, let it soak in….okay now continue reading.
Despite being infuriated with rage about going to this thing, I kept my composure and showed up with a playful attitude and a smile on my face, after all, tennis could provide me with a great chance to work on my English accent and grunting skills. (As well as my serve and feeble attempt at a backhand) After practice, I went home and decided I was going to make the most out of this experience to help the kids we were supposed to be teaching or if not to have fun. And that’s just what I did.
In Mike’s words, I was under the impression I would be playing some tennis with little kids and their parents, making sort of a “public appearance” at their camp, if you will. When I stepped onto the court, I had no idea that the girl’s tennis team was part of this camp as well, but I didn’t think it’d be a big deal as they were just girls and I could probably hold my own against them. Boy was I wrong.
Knowing now that I could not compete with these collegiate athletes in their designated sport, even if they were female, I moved on to watching and really picked up on some things during this time.
I now understand why a lot of people make fun of this sport. It’s really not that hard to. I also now know that grunting is not an essential skill in the game of tennis. This disappointed me a little bit because my philosophy is if it’s good enough for the professionals, then it’s good enough for me but this was not the mindset that these tennis phenoms had. I also found out it is important to have the proper outfit when playing tennis. I felt left out when I realized if I wanted to be good I’d need long, curly hair to go along with my headband, a pair of dingy under armor knee pads, and shorts at least 3 sizes too small. I guess the grunting will be an added bonus, maybe something that separate’s me from the pack if I ever decided to pursue a career in tennis.
As I watched the rest of the time, I looked for other ways to be productive and help my teammate out in any way I could. What happened next changed the game of tennis for me forever. You know those ball-picker-upper things in tennis where if you lift the object in question up, and press down on a tennis ball on the ground, it pushes itself though and into the bucket? Yea, that’s the coolest invention EVER. Tennis is now a legit sport to because of this object and I wish I would have found out about that sooner because now I would never think about making fun of those ball boys/girls (I’m not sexist) that run across the court and gather the balls. If they get to use that machine then it’s totally worth running across the court all day.
The rest of the day involved a lot of using that machine, me chatting up the future Andy Roddick, (seriously, this kid was that good) and me giving nicknames to all the kids. This just to shows that you can learn something new every single day. Try to make the best out of situations and have fun in life.