Anyone for Tennis?

19 Jul

A few weeks ago, I started taking tennis lessons. For those who know me, you’ll understand that this is a bit like Mike Tyson announcing that he’s learning how to play the piccolo. PE was the one subject at school that I hated. Each week I’d pray that all of the teachers had got locked inside their office, that my kit had been stolen, or best of all, that I’d break my leg – resulting in weeks or even months of no PE!

But, here I was on the way to my first lesson, in my shorts that said Reebok, and my top which said FILA. I felt a little bit like I was going to a fancy dress party. (“Oh, you’ve come as a person that plays sport! How comical!”) I feared that my tennis teacher would take one look at my “costume” and realise that I was an imposter.

But he didn’t. He took me seriously. He asked me if I was hoping to get to a competitive level. I looked at him like he was loopy. He just looked back, waiting for my answer.

During my first lesson I apologised every time I missed the ball (often) or held my racquet the wrong way (constantly). I waited for him to wince, or hold his head in his hands, or look up to the sky and ask why God had punished him with such an inept student. But he didn’t do any of these things. He was patient, and kind, and encouraging, and funny. He acted as if there was some hope that, maybe one day in the future, I might be good enough to actually play!

Now I miss the ball slightly less and only hold my racquet the wrong way half of the time. My classes take place by the ocean, on courts bathed in sunshine, surrounded by palm trees. If I’d ever contemplated learning at home, (and, yes, pigs would have needed to have mutated into the flying kind first) I probably would have learned on a court in an echoey sports hall, surrounded by sickly-coloured walls and smells of feet. I don’t think I would have lasted long.

So why, after years of praying for broken limbs, am I now paying for PE? Because, as an expat, there’s no point trying to keep up the same social habits you had at home. Why come to a different country if you want everything to be the same? Here the lifestyle is outdoors, active, and sporty. You can either join in or miss out. So I’m pulling on my trainers and stepping out into the sunlight!

I’m taking classes at Elbow Beach. For more information and rates, please see:


3 Responses to “Anyone for Tennis?”

  1. danielwouldDaniel Would 19 July, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Speaking as someone who also hated PE, one of the best things I remember as a child was being diagnosed with Osgood-Schaltter disease. This was basically a blanket pass to miss PE for a few years and spend it in the computer room.
    And yet somehow now I am an adult that pays (quite a lot) for the use of a gym. Though I confess that tennis by the sea in Bermuda is somewhat more appealing than cross-trainer in a gym in Wimbledon.

    So when do you beat Rich at Tennis?

    • suscatty 19 July, 2011 at 11:08 am #

      Hi Dan

      Your blanket pass sounds handy but painful, but then I did spend most of the time wishing I had a broken leg which isn’t exactly pleasant! Sadly I think my chances of beating Rich at tennis are slim to none, but I suppose stranger things have happened (like me picking up a tennis racquet in the first place!). Hope all is well in Wimbledon 🙂


  1. Anyone for Tennis? « Dog or Affair | The Tennis News - 19 July, 2011

    […] the article here: Anyone for Tennis? « Dog or Affair   July 19th, 2011 Uncategorized Tags: few-weeks, learning-how, piccolo, […]

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