Tuesday, May 24, 2011


About a month ago, I got roped into taking tennis lessons.  A combination of things acted as the catalyst for this ridiculous state of affairs.  One, Peter takes tennis.  He's very enthusiastic about it.  Two, the May recruitment campaign included 8 free gifts including a racket, shoes, socks, grip tape, free initiation fee, 2 free lessons, etc.  And three, I thought I could go shopping for cute skirts.  Now, I never would've engaged in an activity that I have little to no interest in had I needed to front the start up money for these items, but I can use the exercise and nothing was required of me except that I show up, so now you can find me attempting to learn how to play tennis on a hill in Japan every Saturday morning at 9am.

At first, I was power slammin' every ball and I thought that maybe I had some aptitude for the sport.  I mean, I'm very coordinated and athletic, as I have danced most of my life, I just have never played a sport per se.  By lesson number five, my motivation had already dwindled down to guilt, as I have accepted all of these free gifts and now I must reciprocate in the way of showing up for class and paying my monthly fees.

I am to tennis as William Hung is to American Idol.  One morning I hit the same white van - outside of the tall green mesh protection -  three times in a row, encouraging the driver, who was sitting in the car, to leave the parking lot. 

I had to change my class this week because of an event last Saturday, so I was at class last night.  There was a guy in my class whose achievements in tennis absurdity outstripped even mine, as he regularly got balls to fly straight up in the air so that we had to dodge them as they came down.   I can't aim, but at least my balls get distance.  I thought that I could be the president of our remedial club, if we had one. 

Tennis has its benefits.  It is a little bit of exercise, I get to laugh at people's "tennis noises" which sound like they should be emanating from the privacy of one's room, and the camaraderie is fun; we high five a lot, especially if I happen to do something well, since I suck so bad.  And sometimes I get to see a show, like last night when this guy thought he was a Roger Federer / interpretive dancer crossover.  He wasn't a bad tennis player, but his dance could use some refinement. 

I'm going to stick with it for a while and see how it goes.  I think it's a good skill to have to make new friends.  It's something to do together.  And, I like to follow the advice of Baz Luhrmann as he tells it in the remix of Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) on the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack:  "Enjoy your body.  Use it every way you can.  Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it.  It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own." 

Get your mind out of the gutter, I'm just playing tennis.

From Japan,

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