Friday, July 07, 2006

My Return to Tennis

It's been 7 years, almost to the day, that I last stepped onto a tennis court in a tournament. In fact, it was this very same tournament, when I bowed out to one of the area's best players, James Kent, 6-1, 6-0 in a mostly uncompetitive match.

I had only minor scholarship offers to play tennis collegiately, so when I elected to go to West Virginia University, I hung up the racquets, seemingly for good. I still played on occassion, and still maintained most of the marginal skills I possessed as a high schooler.

Saturday, at 9 a.m., I make my not-so-triumphant return to competitive tennis. To be honest, I'm nervous. I don't know what to expect. I'm about 25 pounds heavier than the last time I roamed the courts. Then, I gladly carried the handle "Wheels," which I was dubbed for my extraordinarly quick feet and ability to get to any ball. Afterall, thats about the only thing that helped me overcome my height.

The wheels feel more square now and the fatigue sets it earlier than it used to, but I tell you, I may want it more than I ever did in high school or in USTA matches. I qualified for two state tournaments, carried a respectable, winning record as the No. 1 seed for two years, and performed well in USTA-sanctioned matches, but I've never won at Public Courts. Not once.

My opponent is Andy Travis, whom I'm hoping is either Randy Travis' alter-ego, a twin, or someone who won't expose the new-and-unimproved antithesis to Wheels. I want to enjoy myself more than anything, but I'd like to play well, too. And of course, winning would be nice. Hopefully, I'll go 3-for-3, and never take a hiatus from tennis again.

Note: If anyone is pathetic enough to wake up on a Saturday morning and want to watch a 200-lb. short guy chase after a ball, let me know. I play at 9 a.m. in Kanawha City.


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