Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The History of Tennis`

The title should be amplified to include --for our family:

In the summer of 1970 Paul, our oldest went to N.O. and fished for speckled trout (and then became a great fisherman himself). During the summer I started teaching Paul's younger brother, Mark the great game, which I once knew but had long neglected. Mark was a fast learner.

In Sept. Paul came home-- and chose to play also (it took him two years to catch up with his little brother.

One day the three of us found another adult to join us in a game of doubles. The man was impressed with these two kids' skill level: "which one of the two is the best?" Before I could reply, Paul burst out, "He is, the little bastard." I should have chastised him for that, but at 12 he had joined adolescene and left my supervision; Mark was still a child.

Eventually they made a pretty good team in the perennial kids' tournaments (Winston-Salem was a tennis center in those days).

Anyway after a couple of years Ellie saw she was becoming a "tennis widow", so she got a racket and came down to Hanes Park where we played. We became a tennis family.

There were many happy days on the tennis court in the following years. Paul put away his racket when he saw that friends seemed to be surpassing him (there were plenty of other things to do!). Mark went on to make All-Regional in college, but he laid down his racket because it was interfering with the "main chance", to become a world class architect and college administrator.

As we Ellie and me: yep, we still play-- 37 years after she started. You won't believe this but our game is still improving: more strenuous, more rewarding, more everything.
A higher skill level than ever before. Sure we're a bit slower, but the shots are there as never before.

Do you want to lived past 82? Play tennis every day, and follow the management skill you'll find in Paul's blog (not my son!).


Paul said...

Larry, I'm impressed and challenged. I admired my father greatly but he died in 1985 before I had the chance to ask a multitude of questions and learn more from his experiences. Now, I watch older people -- not old people but people older than myself who enjoy life -- to learn how to age gracefully and enjoy the years ahead. You're an inspiration!

Larry said...

Happy Old Man

Blogger Larry said...

Paul, the inspiration you speak of is certainly mutual. I would like to add one vignette; this came from an anonymous source some years ago: get all the exercise you can. It makes you euphoric; you sleep better than you would otherwise.

Love of tennis has sort of caused Ellie and me to drift into that behaviour pattern. Years ago we entertained a Harvard PhD (he now teaches at Princeton). We wound up on the tennis court, and he was amazed: "well you too are just jocks"; he knew of course we were also something else. Glory be!