So, we didn't win the State Championship like I'd told everyone we would (gotta be a believer) but it surely wasn't from a lack of trying. With a very lean team we all stayed positive and ready for the battle. We had some ups and downs playing in the first wave of Georgia's sweltering heat. The temps were upwards of 92 degrees by late morning and at least another 10 degrees hotter on the courts. We hydrated with water and drinks packed with electrolytes. We carb loaded for energy and kept our Frog Togs in ice water, close at hand for the switch overs to try and cool down before the next game.
At the end of the second day of play, our team was sharing 3rd place with a 2-2 record and one more day of play. Statistics showed that in our bracket, our team had the least amount of games and sets lost. Evidence of our hard fought matches that still did not end in our favor. We were playing on heavy legs and broken toe nails. But we were bound to stay resilient no matter the toll it was taking on our bodies and spirits.
We were maxing out. My partner picked up the phone to keep her husband up to date on how the team was doing. She found herself nearly in tears describing the situation and the difficult task we were facing trying to climb up from 3rd place. Her confidence was waining. Plus the new tennis shoes she'd just purchased for the weekend felt too small, her contacts were bothering her and her partner who she'd played with all season through to the City championships was on the sidelines with her right arm in a sling. (Freak accident involving a routine run around the neighborhood with her dog who accidentally tripped her on a downhill leg of their route.) My partner was far outside her comfort zone and by the end of her conversation with her husband, was a weepy-eyed basket case.
"Awe, babe" he said. "This is horrible."
"I know" she said through her sniffles. "It's wearing me out."
"No." he replied. "I mean it's horrible you're feeling this way. It's JUST tennis!"
"Excuse me?" she asked in a haze of confusion.
"It's just freaking tennis!" he explained. "Get over it."
Stunned by his reaction, she reiterated to him the details of the day and the fact that her new shoes hurt her feet.
"Hmmm, what did you say?" he responded. "Sorry, I'm watching the golf tournament and the leader just made a bogey."
"Forget it!" she said exasperated. I'll call you later."
"Ok, but you might want to just call me tomorrow. Remember I'm going out to celebrate your BFF, Tammy's birthday. Just me and the other couples. I know she's disappointed that you can't make it. Have fun!"
It is JUST tennis. I get that. We're not professionals and no one's getting paid. And when you feel you're in the trenches trying to win a tennis tournament, it's not easy to convey your hardships to an outsider and expect to get any sympathy. You're playing a game, after all and games should be fun!
But at that moment, when it’s win or go home, it’s not JUST tennis.
Moral of the story: If you're looking for understanding and someone to acknowledge your sacrifices, discuss the drama with only those dealing with the drama. And since we are a team of ladies, there are plenty, if not all of us, who would gladly dissect the situation, be angry at the heat, and curse the opponents with you. Talking about it with an outsider or anyone else only brings unsolicited, frustrating and irrelevant advice. He'll have difficulty understanding because the experience is not his. But he'll probably rub your sore feet when you get home. We won't do that. Sorry.
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