Although most of these questions have been asked in one form/thread or another, I’ll take a stab at putting them all together.
My tennis journey is long, longer than probably most of you have been around. You see, I’m a 43-year old mother of two little girls (2 yr and 5 weeks...yep, you read that right...weeks).
I started playing tennis in high school over 25 years ago. It started in a regular ole sophomore PE class and when our school was forming its first team, the newly hired coach asked the gym teachers who’d shown any aptitude for it...my name came up. That summer, before my junior year, I was finally old enough to get a job (at the local JCPenney's,
) but when the offer to play competitively rolled around, my parents (bless their collective hearts) convinced me to give it a try...and offered to keep gas in my car. I made the team...and picked up a hobby that, I hope, will last a lifetime.
We had a terrific coach my junior year (she was the local country club pro that our school board had specifically hired to teach at our minority majority high school) and I learned a lot from her although our team lost every match we played. Sadly, they didn’t keep her on for my senior year and we just had one of the gym teachers. The team still lost every match but I, personally, had a winning season. So, this skinny, 100-lb kid...lettered in a varsity sport.
I contemplated trying to walk on (at NC State) but took one look at their practice/match schedule and my Civil Engineering curriculum and knew it would never work. I began playing racquetball instead and dropped tennis completely for many years.
After graduating and moving back to my hometown, I still played racquetball and picked up some pretty serious volleyball. But eventually, most of my teammates grew families and had to drop out. I was pinning for some competitive, athletic activity and ran across a small county sponsored tennis league. I fell back in love with the game...and have been playing it ever since.
I got hooked up with a USTA team and have even joined a racket club. Have taken quite a few “doubles” clinics over the past few years but I’m mostly a self-taught, scrubby player. Physically, I attribute my (relatively) easy pregnancies/deliveries to staying fit through tennis and as I mentioned earlier, hope to continue to play for the rest of my life (I know, and have played with, several folks in their 70s!).
I am currently a 3.5 rated player...with no real hopes (or aspirations) of becoming a 4.0. I enjoy playing opponents of all levels, though, regardless of the score.
I’m a fan of Wilson rackets but will play with anything...on any surface. We’re fortunate enough to actually have public clay courts (and our club will be installing some in 2010!) But I like hard court too. Have never played on grass, red clay or carpet. I’m currently using the nCode n5 98 and have two of them. I consider it a luxury (financially) to own more than one.
My tennis heros are the old guys...Borg and McEnroe...for two entirely different reasons: one for his calm, collected play...and the other for his fiery attitude and doubles genius. I am fortunate enough to have seen them play (“live” but on TV, of course) many, many times.
Tennis has given me many things over the years...best of all a set of friends, companions and competitors...and I’ll count myself lucky if my children find it interesting enough to want to play it with me in the future (although I’ll not push them, knowingly, in that direction).