I was never really a tennis player, but I do watch major tennis events on TV. Though I have always appreciated the athleticism and finesse of world-class players, this year I came away with pickleball inspiration.
Some months back our dear friend Dianne Reynolds was kind enough to share her thoughts on Pickleball: A Magic Bullet.
We got a lot of very positive feedback from Dianne’s post…clearly, her words struck a chord with many of our readers:
No matter how steep and greased each person finds the inevitability of the Slippery Slope, the sport of pickleball has become the Magic Bullet for countless legions of senior players who “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas) It gives people a reason to rehab, recover, and hit those courts one more time.
Yet, as I sat watching after two years of five knee surgeries, three stem cell procedures and months of physical therapy…I needed some pickleball inspiration. I fully realize that my “failed” knee replacements are not as serious a health condition as others have had to endure. There is certainly nothing life threatening … and in fact, if I don’t play pickleball the discomfort is manageable without narcotics. Yet, I will admit, I still get down from time to time.
Then I watched Venus Williams. A woman who at 37, was beaten in the final by a player that was 3 weeks old when Venus turned pro. A woman who suffers from a crazy auto-immune disease, Sjogren’s syndrome that causes joint pain and fatigue…which is often misdiagnosed and for which there are few effective treatments and no cure.
Yet, after not reaching the quarter-final in a grand slam event in 2012-2014, she reached the finals in Australian and England this year. And as she graciously received the runner-up tray, she spoke about looking forward to next year. Her father’s maxim, “The ball is never out” clearly means more to her than run down every shot. It has nurtured the intangibles that enabled her to continue to search for ways to treat her illness as well as use her mind and drive to play at the highest level.
“She is a professional in every aspect; the way she prepares, the way she trains, who she trains with, the way she studies her opponent, the way she strategies; simply put, she’s a professional.” — Stroia
Then there is my mom’s favorite, and perhaps the best man ever to play the game of tennis…Roger Federer. With more than 1,000 wins and 19 Grand Slam titles, he is in a class by himself. Since returning from injuries in 2016, he has won his fifth Australian and eighth Wimbledon final. Now I am certainly not an expert on professional tennis but there are three things I have observed this year:
- He seems leaner and even fitter, despite the fact that he is nearly 36 years old;
- He keeps learning…having developed a samurai-like attack, short hop serve return; and
- He continues to love the sport.
“I was more just so happy that I was able to win Wimbledon again because it’s been a long road, it’s been an exciting road. It’s been tough at times, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. So to be Wimbledon champion for an entire year now is something I can’t wait to savour and just enjoy…What keeps me going? I don’t know, I love to play.”–Federer
I admit there have been times when I looked back and wondered what happened to that pickleball player from a few years ago. There are times when I’m so frustrated and wonder if I will play pickleball again. Then I look at Williams and Federer, or the local player with Parkinson’s that still comes out to play and I am inspired.