I am a passionate, 3.0 level tennis player. I came to the game as an adult about five years ago. I signed up for a beginner group class and began to learn. I had tennis camp as an 8 year old for a couple of weeks. I have never been a morning person, even as a young kid. For tennis camp, though? I sprung out of bed, excited to attend. Even now, if I have a match in the morning, I’m up and ready to go. I love this sport.
It seemed that many others from my group class found people to play with outside of class, but I didn’t seem to gel with anyone. At least I knew that as long as I signed up for class and was there each week, I was playing some. It was better than nothing.
In November 2014, the foundation of my life began cracked. After being married for just shy of 14 years, my marriage ended. In January 2015, I moved out of my house into a condo in a neighborhood I’ve always loved. By June 2015, I was officially divorced. That summer, tennis went by the wayside. Luckily that fall, I re-engaged in attending classes. And in early 2016, I connected a small group of women and started to play outside of class. Quite an international crew we were. A native Italian, a native German, a Russian and a Latina. We played doubles and had a blast. Little by little, our group grew and grew. We kept attending classes and kept meeting more and more people. (As of this writing, we are a network of 37 players.)
The Universe knew what it was doing. As 2016 progressed, more things in my life began to fall apart. I suffered two more significant heartbreaks, one from man I loved and the other, betrayal from a group of “friends.” I was no doubt still healing from my divorce, but the storm just seemed to be getting worse. Opportunities to play tennis were there and I kept showing up. For quite a while, I showed up to play in a complete fog, my heart sad and heavy.
Last year, I decided to throw a party for my 42nd birthday. Along with a couple of family members and perhaps 4 friends, the rest of my condo was populated with a huge throng of new tennis friends. I was moved that so many of them came. They thought they were there to just celebrate my birthday. For me, it was evidence that I had picked up the pieces and created a whole new life.
Just when things were falling apart, tennis was there. For me, yet another example of how my needs are always met. Our needs are always met. I didn’t know I needed this sport for reasons other than exercise. I didn’t know that I would need a whole new throng of friends. And yet, here they are.
Even on my worst days of playing, of which yesterday was one, I am eternally grateful.