No, this is not a restaurant review or a rant about the delivery of broadband to the remoter parts of Britain. It’s about tennis, and about my diminishing ability to play the game. Twenty years since I last weilded a racket in anger, I was lured into having a game by the mention of it by a colleague. I eagerly joined a group of retirees about the same age as myself (a couple a lot older), keen to be skipping around the local court and whipping the ball back and forth. Time, however, is a cruel beast and, along with loss of memory in old age, there is also a marked loss of agility.
I think I’ve kept myself fairly fit over the years and, although I gave up going to the gym last year, for a while I engaged in the new over-50s game of ‘walking football’. Really good. But following my move to the other side of the country I have been unable to find similar around here. Hence my desire to take up the opportunity of playing tennis. I must say that I was not doing too bad in getting the ball back over the net and actually winning a few points. The downside was when it came to my turn to serve. I remember being told many years ago by someone far more adept at the game than me that a key part of the skill was in the serve. It does not need to be particularly powerful, but accuracy is essential. Getting it over the net and/or into the opposite court would be a good start for me. I lost count of the number of double faults I committed (‘committed’ is the correct word, because my game was criminal). Notwithstanding this, my friends have continued to invite me back for further participation, with the advice that I should get myself a new racket. The one I have is not exactly a museum piece but it is 20+ years old, so perhaps they are right. I also think my game might improve if for once the wind does not play on the days we get together for a game. But that’s just an excuse.
I had a feeling when I received the balls
For me to serve, there would be many calls
Of ‘Out’.’ Just get it in’, was the advice
As to how I should improve my service
Game. But again and again, just the same.
‘Get a new racket’ they said. The fools.
A bad workman always blames his tools.
Not the tools in my case. The fact is
I just have to practice and practice.