Saturday, April 15, 2006


I can't remember a time when I didn't play tennis. I taught myself very young. I've always been a tomboy and when my brothers wouldn't let me play baseball with them when I was young, I got a tennis racket and would hit tennis balls endlessly against a wall, near the baseball field so I could be close to my brothers and all the action that was going on. My mom used to tell the story that my brothers wouldn't let me play baseball with them because I would turn cartwheels in the outfield.

So I played a lot of tennis. Sports for girls in high school were virtually non-existent at that time so I never really played on a "team" until my adult life.

This all brings me to my tennis match today. My husband signed us up to play in this mixed doubles league. I have made it my practice to not play mixed doubles with my husband because it never seems to work out. I play to win -- he plays for fun. However, I said yes, and we started our league play today.

The first set was fine -- we lost 7-5 but it was very competitive. Then I lost it. My concentration was shot, I put my earplugs in to help block out some of the noise. I couldn't remember the score, I couldn't remember who was serving and I couldn't remember the last point. I started having panic attacks and couldn't breathe. I was so confused and so upset I started crying on the court before we started the second set. Our opponents didn't see this (I don't think) but suffice it to say we never won another game. I disappointed myself, but also my husband -- although he hasn't said that -- I just feel that.

I think I have now become a person who "doesn't play tennis" but rather a person that can go out and "hit the ball" for an hour or so and let it go at that.

So many other things that I have lost the ability to do, do not bother me as much as this. Tennis has been a part of my life for over 40 years. I've always been that self proclaimed "tennis snob" but I guess I won't be any longer. I'm sure my tennis playing friends reading this will be rejoicing at that fact.

We still have five matches to go in our league and I'm not sure how I'm going to get through them or if I will be able to do it at all.

My husband has commented from time to time that I was always defined by what I did -- mainly by the jobs I have had over the years. He worried that when I retired I would have a hard time, because I wouldn't be known for something. I've always had relatively high profile jobs and he really felt that is what defined me. It probably did sometimes. But, I have always defined myself in many ways and one thing I was always proud to say was that "I was a tennis player".

I guess I no longer am. And that makes me very sad.


Dick Lundgren said...

I am a caregiver for my wife. She is 60 and was diagnosed 5 years ago. Her symptoms started when she was 49. If your husband is like me, and I'm sure he is, he is proud of the fact that you are still trying to do things like playing tennis. It doesn't matter how well you do it compared to before just keep doing it. You are the best that you can be today.

Anonymous said...


You and Ralph can continue to play tennis, regardless of if you play in leagues. Tennis is something that you enjoy and Ralph will understand if you are having an off day. Speaking of what defines a person, I define you as a brave, courageous woman who is a tremendous friend I can always count on to be there for me. I do not define you by how you play tennis or even your job. I define you by your inner beauty and strength. Keep going, girlfriend! Love and hugs, Carol

Carol said...


I hope you and Ralph continue to play tennis together because you enjoy and love it so. It's funny how we choose to define ourselves. I too define myself through the job mostly. However, I do not define my dear friends in the same way. I define you as a friend whose love and friendship I treasure and as a strong, courageous woman making the best of a bad situation. You are remarkable in every way and I love you for you -- not for how you play tennis or what job you hold or may have held in the past. You are so much more than any of that! I love you, girlfriend.