Cycling out; tennis in
I was chatting with my dentist a few weeks ago, and she commented that my new found love of tennis would surely mean my cycling “career” was coming to an end. I scoffed. I mean, I had spent nearly 4 solid years climbing up the cycling ladder, and surely I wasn’t about to throw it all away in the span of a few weeks.
She was right; I was wrong. With my usual laser focus, I’m never the type to graze from a variety of platters. No, I’m the kind that zeros in on one entree and then eats until I burst.
And that’s the way it’s been with tennis. Oh, I’ve always loved racquet sports. In fact, I started playing racquetball back in the days when you hit with sawed-off tennis racquets. What I didn’t anticipate was that tennis was equal parts fun and challenge. (Endurance cycling could never be described as “fun.”) Frankly, I missed the ball/racquet side of sport.
Of course, I can’t endure being “reasonably good” at something. No, I have to be the best, or at least AIM to be the best. That’s with a little perspective, of course: I just want to be the best 55 year old.
Can I get there? Some readers of this blog have argued that tennis is a tough sport to conquer. No question there. And I’ve noticed that in tennis, club pros can compete in all tournaments. So, you’re taking on some guy who’s played for 40 years and teaches tennis 8 hours a day! And some of these guys even played on the tour. No slouches there.
So, what have I found so far? One, there’s no one in my age group who’s in better shape than I’m in. My gosh, I scouted (yes, scouted, and who does that??), the USTA Mid-Atlantic hard court championships, and noted the vast majority of guys aren’t exactly Michael Chang. In fact, about half had nice little beer bellys!
Two, even the best guys aren’t all that consistent. Any long rally and they eventually make some kind of unforced error. (I’m guessing due to fatigue).
Now, that’s not to say I’d step on the court and immediately win. No, more likely I’d lose 6-0,6-0. Truthfully, I have plenty to work on.
Still, the basics are there, and it’s a new hill to climb. I’ll check back in after my first tournament.