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2011 Bucket List - #17 Play Tennis

#17 - Play Tennis
During my senior year of High School, yours truly made a controversial decision that was met with curiosity, disbelief, and well, some confusion. Upon the upstart of Canarsie High School's Men's Tennis program, yours truly not only decided to try out, but successfully made the team. Yes, the 6'5'' rail thin senior that quit baseball two years earlier to pursuit the greatest life experience in local missionary/peer counseling in Brooklyn, returned to play tennis. Not quite the expectation that most within my high school predicted or expected. You're playing what!?

Fortunately, despite not always having the greatest self-confidence, the good Lord has always given me a certain fortitude to never really quite care what others say or think about me. It is a weird blend of self-assurance, I know. 

The constant questions of why I didn't return to play baseball, the various sneers and comments others had, and of course the many, many individuals that scoffed at my choice never wavered or caused doubt in my decision - ever.
But like I said, I never cared what others thought, and was planning on spending my spring semester, my final semester in High School, playing tennis.

Hey, we all know High School is a brutal atmosphere if you aren't making the right choices.

I decided to play tennis because, well, it was fun, new, and something that was interesting. Not because it was cool, popular, or what I "should" do.

And after all, what better way to gain the experience than on a team that isn't expected to accomplish anything?

Well after a year of improvement, one in which I actually became the team's number one (even though I won one measly match in league play), my tennis experience came to an abrupt end. Gone was the improvement and the early morning pickup games with the wealthy fathers with tennis permits at Marine Park. 

So after a brief flirt, myself and tennis was over, and never again.

Because of this, yours truly added the following to the 2011 Bucket List: #17 Play Tennis

Just once. All I wanted, was to step back onto a tennis court and recapture that one year fling with the sport. 

So while enjoying the beautiful resort of Sandals La Toc in St. Lucia, my tag team partner (whose father was a very good tennis player in his hey day) and I took advantage of the well groomed courts there. Despite playing in 90 degree-plus weather, and basically soaking through our shirts, we volleyed for and hour. Make no mistake, the hour was far from Sampras/Agassi or Nadal/Federed. Very far. Yet, it was a thril for the both of us. My one year of experience on one side, and my tag team partner's genetic pool at work.

Through it all, I managed to work out the kinks in a very rusty stroke and a still-terrible backhand, all while getting adjusted to a new body type. 

I'm still 6'5", but playing at 235 instead of the 175lbs I was in High School, is much different. And yes, if I wasn't already slow then, I'm much slower now. 

But all in all, it was brief encounter that was enjoyable. Also one that reminded me  of a quality life principal, that it is better to follow your heart than to simply do what you others believe is "normal".

Tennis, yeah, who knew?

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