I am a huge fan of professional tennis. I also have been playing tennis weekly with a friend for the last eleven or twelve years which has been pretty consistent recently. After we play the kids hit for a while too, and I have noticed they are getting better! And for the record for my first date with Max he asked me to play doubles; so tennis is a big part of my life.
About a month and a half ago I started playing a bit more, adding playing an additional day during my lunch break. It has been a great experience. There are 3 of us that meet and play usually. My partners both played club tennis for a number of years and are great players. I myself took lessons for a few months with a wooden racket back when I was 13 years old (I am what you call a hacker). The fact that they are around 20 years older than myself does not play a factor.
So this past Tuesday I went to meet my friends during my lunch break. We started with our 2 on 1 formation. I was playing solo and they ran me around the court like crazy from the other side of the net.
I was about to switch sides and have a partner when an older African American gentleman approached our court. I heard him speaking to me, but couldn’t quite make out what he was saying. I was soaking him up with my eyes though….he had on three quarter length pants, a baseball cap backwards, and seriously looked dressed a bit like a homeless person. I asked him to repeat what he said and then understood he was asking if he could hit with my partners and I.
Not to be one to judge I posed the question to my girlfriends. The next thing you know Howard was on the court with us, on my team. Appearances mean absolutely nothing. This older gentleman could play, and he played good. Slicing here, drop shotting there. And when someone else would make a good shot he would say something out loud like “great shot”, “way to go”, “mmm..mmm”. It was a little funny to hear him say in a sing-song fashion, but this dude was just appreciating playing with some skilled players. And for the record my team schooled the other one, for once.
As I walked back to work with Marcella I asked her if they had ever played pick-up tennis before over the last 20 years. She said not all, but she had seen this gentleman walking in the area before. I am glad that he joined us and I must say the moral to this story is don’t judge a book by its cover.