I don’t like pie-crust promises, so when I say I’m going to do something, I do my best to stick it.
Which is why I’m playing in a tennis tournament this weekend.
Every year on my birthday, my sister makes me say one thing I’m going to do before my next birthday. It can be something simple (like get a passport) or something more drastic (like cross the Atlantic in a canoe). Last year, for some reason I don’t really know, the words “I’m going to play in a tennis tournament” came out of my mouth. I know how to play tennis, though I’ve never competed outside of some recreational matches with friends and family. (There was also that time when I was in high school and challenged one of my teachers who played in college, and he demolished me, but that’s an entirely different story.)
I’m approaching my deadline, so last week I decided I needed to make my statement a reality, which resulted in me becoming a member of the UTSA and registering for a tournament that starts this Friday. I’m probably going to need to practice before then.
I’m a runner. When I go to races, I know what to expect. I know how to prepare for a race and how to run it once it starts. I don’t ask questions—I just go out there and run. But this whole tennis thing is different. I’ve already called the country club that’s hosting the tournament twice since I signed up, because I have questions—lots of questions. And I still feel like they aren’t all answered. I mean, I don’t even know what the bathroom situation is like at a tennis tournament. I don’t know yet what time my matches are and how many matches there will be or anything like that. All I really know is that I am playing in a tennis tournament this weekend because I said I would almost a year ago.
I wouldn’t necessarily describe the feelings I’m having as nervousness or anxiety—it’s more like an ignorance thing. It might be the equivalent of me attending an Accounting Department meeting at my company. I’m not actually in the department, so I would be a bit lost and feel out of place. I don’t know what my opponents are going to be like this weekend in regard to how competitive they are and how often they play, but I’m pretty sure they probably swing a racquet more regularly than I do. I’m the type of person who plays sporadically (thank you, Clueless, for introducing that word into my life many years ago).
I think this tournament will be good for me, though. I need things to take me out of my comfort zone every once in a while. I’ve taken a few steps in that regard so far this year, but this is another that simply has to be done. It may end really badly, but it may not. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Either way, at least I’ll never look back and regret not attempting something because it was going to be a challenge I wasn’t used to.
Life is full of situations we don’t necessarily know how to handle. There might be confusion. There might be fear. There might be anxiety. There might be excitement. There might be anger. There might be frustration. There might be hope. There might be laughter. There might be heartache. There might be pain. There might be a lot of other emotions racing through us while the world continues to spin madly around us.
And so we face what we need to face, because the world certainly isn’t going to stop or let us skip over the hard parts. We’ve simply got to pick up our racquets and swing.
This tournament might end up being a disaster, and I might fail miserably. That’s OK, though—I’ve failed before (many times) in life, and I guarantee I’ll fail again. But I said I was going to play in a tennis tournament, and now it has to become a reality.
If nothing else, at least this experience will give me some memories and a story to tell my niece when I go hang out with her (she’s barely more than a month old, so she listens really well). I’m a fan of different adventures, and I think this one will be interesting.
After all, I don’t even own a tennis skirt.