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It's a Good Thing We're No Good at Tennis


(It's more fun that way.)

A tennis player hitting a ball on a clay court.

Recently, my husband and I took up tennis. Some of you have been playing some sort of sport or exercising with your significant other for a long time. Maybe it’s even what brought you together: some sick, twisted love for physical activity. Not us.


Historically, I have eschewed all forms of exercise. I’m a reader. I’m a writer. I like sitting at a desk and daydreaming. All day. That would be my ideal job.


A few of years ago, I took up running, but I only run in the summer, and the most I have ever run is 3 miles. Yet I was so pleased with myself for managing that three miles. Really. People around me are running half marathons, or marathons, or Iron Women, and I’m like, wow, I totally killed that 5k. So that’s kind of important background information for where I’m about to go next.


Also, for many years, we owned only one tennis racket. It was a Christmas gift to my husband, and over the years, it had primarily been used as a weapon against wood-boring bees. It had seen very little action on the court, but was well-acquainted with a bee’s butt.


But in 2017 we moved to a new town and just down the street—within walking distance if we didn’t mind risking our lives walking on the un-sidewalked street—was a park, and in the park, were four tennis courts. So my husband bought me a cheap racket and a canister of balls, and we gave tennis a whirl.


Maybe you already knew this, but I just discovered that tennis is a hilarious sport. My husband and I are so bad that it’s sidesplitting. It would actually be a shame if we ever improved, because then we’d get serious and do things like keep score and not count balls that were hit out of bounds and not allow backwards hits over the shoulder. Which would totally kill the fun.


We are essentially the Harlem Globetrotters of tennis: we manipulate and mistreat the ball in the most unconventional ways. We are kind of like them, except that we can’t actually complete a volley or whatever it’s called when the ball goes back and forth and back and forth and back and forth multiple times.


Now, most tennis games take place in a single court, but when we play, we really like to make use of the whole dang place—possibly all four courts. So if there’s anyone else playing, it really stinks for them. We try to get as far away as possible from other players, but even still, sometimes that ball just has a mind of its own, and we have to do a lot of apologizing.


We absolutely try our very best, and our very best is to whiff past a perfectly good ball, or to line-drive it right into the net, or to whack it to that far left corner again and again and again (“Darn it! I’m not over there!” my husband finally yelled at me after I’d sent him sprinting to that same corner for an out-of-bounds ball about 50 times.).


Which is why we spend most of the time just laughing. Forget about cardio. Our tennis is an excellent core workout.


Since we don’t keep score, how do we know when our game is over? Well, while it's traditional to play to 15, we play until all of our balls have exited the court via the chainlink fence. Which means we get to cool down by taking a nature walk into the woods to retrieve our errant balls.


So, yeah, it would kind of be a shame if we ever actually got skills.


Photo by hansmarkutt on Pixabay.


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