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Tennis Anyone
September 2007 Article

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Baby Steps

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John Mills, USPTA

Recently, a friend and I attended a 100 mile bike ride in Wichita Falls, TX. While there, I was talking to a man who said, "I can't believe that I am doing this!" It turns out that he weighed over 400 lbs. two years ago. He was divorced, living alone and very depressed. His weight gain was continuous. He could barely go out to the street to get his mail without losing his breath. He knew it was only a matter of time before his health failed.

One morning a small neighbor child asked him to take him for a walk. He checked with the child's parents and got permission. They walked to the end of his street, about one block. It seemed like it took forever. When he got home, he felt physically terrible, but felt good about walking with the child. They continued walking for the next 3 months and he started feeling mentally and physically better and began losing some weight.

A friend of his, who was a biker, asked him to go riding. Of course he could not even think about that yet. So, he purchased a cruising bike designed for larger people to get started. His first ride was less than a mile. It was difficult, he fell off several times, but he persevered. He even bought a bike for the neighbor child and they began riding daily.

By the time I heard his story, he had gone from over 400 lbs. to 185 lbs. No wonder he said, "I can't believe I am doing this!" When I finished the ride I waited around to see if he had finished. Just as I had expected, he did finish.

How does this apply to your tennis and your life? Take baby steps first before you run. Always believe that you can accomplish your goal. Sometimes a small gesture can turn someone around and support can inspire and motivate them to continue. There is nothing more important than your health and mental well being. Set your goals and start working on them.

Good luck on the courts!

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


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