When I was going through a divorce about 20 years ago, I picked up a tennis racquet to give me something to do. I saw that it was as much a social sport as it was competitive. I wanted to meet new friends more than I wanted to play tennis.
It was quite evident early on that I wasn't natural at it (ha!). But, I joined a coached team & was on my way to learning the sport.
Tennis quickly became a huge part of my life & how I spent my free time. I hit. I grew. I learned.
When the cancer diagnosis was given, I was probably at the highest level I'd been playing. My partner and I had just won an Ultimate Tennis (league) championship.
I recall a specific discussion I had with my plastic surgeon after my cancer diagnosis but before my surgery. I listened as he outlined the pros and cons of various reconstruction options. [For those who don't know my story, I had a double mastectomy with breast reconstruction.] Dr. O explained that my first and at the time preferred option (using lat muscles from my back to 'build' breasts) would impact my tennis game. As he explained these details, I cried. I remember it vividly as the most vulnerable I'd felt in front of any of my doctors. Can you believe it? Of all the times to cry -- I cry because of what this would mean for my tennis game.
This was an indication that tennis was certainly not only important TO me but an important part OF ME.
I felt the support from my tennis family from DAY1. God knew way back then when I picked up a racket that this community and sisterhood of women would be much greater to me than I'd ever imagined.
When I finished chemo, I hit the ground running in all directions -- triathlons, multi-sport adventures, 30 mile walks, hiking, camping, mountain biking -- the list goes on. Tennis, my first, took a back seat. Then, the pandemic happened and everything stopped.
As one of the few things I could still do - tennis began to move back into the top spot.
Here we are today.
Me writing this blog about why I started this sport and why I love it still.
More importantly, I am reminded what a blessing it is to swing a racket, meet new people, and play a game I love.
I'm grateful. I believe anyone I meet is because God planned it that way.
From playoffs to state tourneys, I stand with winners. I am a winner.
I am turning 50 this year. It's been the spark I needed to reignite a passion and fuel bigger goals!
As my friend Brenda says, "Let's Do This!" .