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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

Crack, Step, Pause - A Metaphor for Life

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Crack, step, step, crack, pause, crack step, crack - crap, missed that one. Oh joy - oh lovely life, I had forgotten the absolute pleasure of hitting a tennis ball. Crack, pause, crack forehand, backhand let's go for cross court, yes!, toes, toes, alley shot - IN! I just love the drills!

My son Ben

Today was the day I began playing tennis again. It has been years since I have played with any determination. Illness, fatigue - all interfered with my desire and ability to engage back in the sport. So, after six months working on endurance with Alex at the gym, I feel ready for a half hour lesson. Baby steps....

For me, there is something soulful about hitting a tennis ball, I know it must sound crazy, but it is actually meditative. The rhythm of hitting, repositioning, hitting, planning, follow-through is a a model that I have followed at work and with people in general. And for most, the game - winning, is the reward. But for me, the substance of getting there, having control and executing well is all I really need to be happy.

It’s three minutes past the hour and I’m sweating like crazy and thinking I will never make it. I tell my tennis coach that I’m not sure about this endeavor - that I may not yet be ready, and he gave me a signal to use when I need to rest. He also suggested that I start breathing - aha, I was holding my breath! Yup, breathing helps! Here we go, I am finding my groove again!

Tennis was the perfect sport for me. Not only has it been a great way for me to stay physically fit, and meet new friends during my single years, but as a tall woman, when in decent shape, I could cover the court pretty well and so I became decent at the sport. I taught my son to play and he went on to become quite accomplished. For several years, we were on the court several times a week just hitting balls. Before too long, I could not keep up with him. Now, it is my turn to work on my tennis again.

I never really enjoyed the competitive side of tennis. Always somewhat worn out by the competition in the workplace, winning games on a tennis court didn’t motivate me the way it does so many others. And I had to work to hard psychologically to stay focused on game strategy and sometimes did not want to. I preferred the meditation of bounce, crack, bounce, crack and trying to hit perfect shots down the alley, across court, and down the center at will. That control was always so enjoyable to me. Metronome-like, meditative, mindless, hardwired movement was the reward.

Finding partners who aren’t bent on playing games has always been difficult; so I played too - and at my best years, hung in with the group. But, now coming back into the sport, I am just happy to regain that physical control again.

Hey out there, anyone want to hit balls?!

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