When I was a kid, I took tennis lessons. I was living in France at the time, and I basically had a tennis court right outside my backyard.
I loved tennis, and I got pretty good at it. I played pretty regularly for a good 5 years. One year I went to summer camp in Texas and chose tennis as my major elective. We spent nearly every day in the Texas summer heat playing tennis for hours. It was awesome.
Then I moved back to the States, and I just stopped playing.
Part of it was that I was in my rebellious teenager phase, and I was much more interested in doing very unhealthy things to my lungs and liver. Also, I began to develop a very "anti-sports intellectual geek" persona, the vestiges of which I still carry with me.
So I stopped playing. I didn't join the tennis team at my high school. The $200 racket I had been given for my Bar Mitzvah sat in my bedroom closet.
For fifteen years.
Then, about three weeks ago, my partner decided he wanted to learn how to play tennis. I went over to my parents' house and found my old racket. It still had a label listing our old address in France, from when I had taken it to summer camp. After buying my partner a racket & ball set, we went to a local court to see what might happen.
I'll tell you something. Picking up that racket again made me remember why I loved tennis in the first place. I started looking for practice walls around town, and eventually I wanted to play against other people. I attended an "open drill" at a local park and found that while I was rusty, my old skills were coming back slowly but surely. The energy of those drills, the fast pace, the fun of it all was absolutely intoxicating.
Yesterday, I signed up for tennis lessons. Man, I'll tell you something. Tennis is one of the most intense ways to exercise. You're constantly running, stopping, swinging, backtracking, pivoting, and you're always tense, always ready to spring forward and hit the ball. And when you hit a ball just right, so that your opponent has absolutely no chance of hitting it, the feeling is amazing.
Now that I'm back to playing tennis regularly, I'm really pissed at myself for dropping it for fifteen years. I'm not as nimble on my feet as I used to be, and I'm also horribly out of shape. My joints hurt, my muscles ache, and overall I'm clearly not a kid anymore. But I know for a fact that playing tennis regularly will not only help me lose weight, it'll make me feel better in general. And, who knows? I might just end up on the tournament circuit once I get to Portland!
Stay tuned, sports fans.