All good things must eventually come to an end and after nearly five years, and thousands of words, I am writing what will be my final Circle Game column for the Tennisserver.
In the fabulous book "TENNIS and the meaning of life," George Vecsey wrote: "tennis is the perfect sporting metaphor for life. Wherever the game is played--at Wimbeldon, in the playground, on a private court--it matches the complexities of life in the boardroom or the bedroom or around the kitchen table."
Well said George! Tennis truly is a microcosm of life and has certainly been so in mine. Since my parents gave me the gift of tennis at the age of 10, the sport has played an extremely important part in my life. I've been fortunate enough to pursue my passion, earn a good living and even meet my wife, through my time in the game.
I sit at my computer composing this final column as one who has been playing, teaching, and writing about tennis for the past 32 years. Along the way, I've learned not only how to play the sport at a relatively high level but, much more important, I've learned a great many lessons about the game of life.
My goal with this column was to provide you with insights into both. I tried to provide you with instruction that was both useful and realistic. You found none of the "Play like the Pros" instruction that we are repeatedly bombarded with because I feel that, in most cases, this approach causes more harm than benefit.
I tried to offer you strokes and strategies that, while they may not get you to center court at Wimbeldon, will certainly help you rise to the top of your weekly league or maybe, just maybe, enable you to beat your spouse.
I also tried to discuss issues surrounding the game which are much more important than strokes or results. Physical fitness, psychological well-being and, of course, the dreaded "tennis parent."
What I'd like to do before I say goodbye, or close the "Circle" so to speak, is to sum up my message with a few final bullets.
Try to always remember.....
Our tennis games, like our lives, are never-ending works in progress. Both are, in fact, a journey and I enjoyed walking down the path with you.
- The three greatest tips of all time, at any level are: watch the ball, get your racket back and move your feet.
- That 85 % of all points are decided by errors-------DON'T MISS.
- That cross-court on your ground-strokes and down the line on your approach shots are the best percentage plays in singles.
- That down the middle, at the feet or over the head are where you'll win most of your points in doubles.
- To introduce your children to tennis, encourage but DO NOT force them to play.
- To jump rope.
- To read anything and everything by Vic Braden.
- That when you are in trouble--LOB.
- To ALWAYS, ALWAYS get a second opinion when a doctor recommends surgery.
- To find something you love to do and pursue it with passion. That's the secret to success.
- To always keep playing, and searching for, those memorable tennis moments.
- To develop patience with your tennis, yourself and others.
- That tennis is something that you do, not who you are.
- That competition may not be all that it is cracked up to be, so learn to enjoy the process, not the outcome.
- Always remember that, unless you receive a paycheck when you walk off the court, you're playing the game for fun. Keep it in perspective!
See you along the way.
Head Professional, Four Seasons Racquet Club, Wilton, Connecticut.