The Strings that Bind us Together

Twenty one years ago, I was a single woman working on my master’s degree and trying to fit some fun exercise into my free time. I had always loved tennis- having taken lessons and played with friends or family throughout my childhood. When I learned that there was an adult tennis league I decided to join. While most matches were accessible via public transportation, there were a few that required a car. When the team captain asked if anyone could assist me, one member happily volunteered.

He picked me up in his red sedan and we drove off to our match. At that point I hardly knew anything about him; but as the summer progressed and he offered to take me to every match, we became very familiar with each other’s interests and aspirations. He was a much stronger tennis player than I was so we were never partners. He would usually play singles while I played doubles or mixed doubles. Nevertheless, we enjoyed each other’s company on the rides and would often go out for a bite to eat afterwards.

Inevitably our friendship evolved into dating. Sometimes our dates consisted of playing tennis and then going to dinner; but we quickly discovered that we had other common interests. Our favorite activites included hiking, boating and, eventually, cross-country skiing. We spent evenings at concerts or plays and introduced each other to new experiences. I’m sure you can see where this story is going… we got married less than a year later.

As our lives became more involved raising our family, we had less time to play tennis together; but we did spend some time teaching the game to our children. As they got older , they became interested in other sports – gymnastics, baseball and soccer took precedence over tennis. Soon we only had time to play tennis on our vacations. We would always throw our rackets in the car or suitcase and try to squeeze a few games in while we were away from our busy routines.

Then, last year, our son became seriously interested in playing tennis as a sport. He dropped all his other games and focused on improving his racket skills. This year he has risen to the number one spot on the Junior Varsity team. My husband and I spend a minimum of two afternoons a week watching him play. The other day, as we were driving to a match, I started to laugh. I felt like I was experiencing a deja vu. Here we were,  driving in our white family SUV, heading to a tennis match just like we used to. Only this time we were going as spectators instead of players.

We are both so happy that our son has found a love for the same sport that brought us together and started our family. Regardless of how far he takes his game, tennis will be a social activity he can enjoy throughout his life. Who knows, maybe someday he will have his own story to tell about how it changed his life. It certainly changed mine. This winter we will celebrate our 20th anniversary- one that might never have come to be if I hadn’t needed a ride to a tennis match.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. suzicate
    May 08, 2012 @ 12:47:35

    Great story! I have friends who have always been into tennis and have passed it onto all three of their children. In fact, all three gave up other activities to focus on it, and they even took a family tennis vacation!

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    • themiddlegeneration
      May 08, 2012 @ 13:56:42

      That sounds fun. This summer I think we will have our own version of a family tennis vacation. My sisters and their families will be coming to town for a big reunion. Since we all grew up taking lessons together and our children can now play, we will be organizing some round robin tournaments in a friendly family competition.

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  2. Simon
    May 08, 2012 @ 13:19:17

    I loved reading this. Congrats to your son and to you for 20 years!

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  3. themiddlegeneration
    May 08, 2012 @ 13:59:59

    Thanks. It’s funny how things sometimes come full circle.

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  4. Sandra
    May 08, 2012 @ 15:24:20

    What a great story. My husband and I didn’t play tennis but our oldest son fell in love with the sport in sixth grade. Seven years later he still plays and we can’t imagine our life without tennis. The car rides to the tournaments are the best. You get time to catch up on what is going on in their life etc. The ride home on the other hand can be rather quiet and sometimes stressful if the results weren’t what he had expected. He is heading off to college in the fall and plans on continuing hie tennis, the time flies. Enjoy it, and congratulations on the number one position.

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    • themiddlegeneration
      May 08, 2012 @ 16:03:41

      It sounds like your son has put alot of time and effort into his game, as have you and your husband. Even though you don’t play it seems like it has created a strong bond between you. I’ll definitely be checking out your blog for some advice on handling the pressure of all the upcoming matches. Thanks!

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  5. stmarco
    May 08, 2012 @ 21:59:49

    Wonderful story and example of how life comes full circle. 20 years this year?

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  6. Carol
    May 09, 2012 @ 10:25:46

    Isn’t it interesting how one little decision can affect your whole life? Can become your life? Good choice you made!

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  7. Trackback: Life through Rose-colored Glasses « themiddlegeneration

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