2. Practice takes a lot of balls yet the only one that matters is the one in play. One bounce or none at all. Return the ball over the net as hard or softwith the only hope that it will not come back. Or if it does, it is out of bounds. First you gain points then games then sets then match…. perhaps life.
3. Tournaments with rules are presided over by zebrasposturing like emperors in high chairs. Their calls will be unmoved by tantrums and foulmouths but would listen to lowly linemen who keep watch. They do not determine the winners. Players win or lose beyond the zebra’s influence. They dispense free will and free strokes. Players take advantage hoping that the call they will get is favorable or at the very least, fair.
4. Three balls are used during the match. Why three? Always the magic number. The Blessed Trinity. Man’s fate-birth, life and death. Man’s dominion-land, sea and air. Those three balls get changed sometime during the match to insure players get the best of fresh balls. At what stage of life do we change balls? Can we change at all? Change is always a matter of will, not destiny.
5. We play with racquets with strings attached. Reputation and family are on display with big logos for everybody to see. Play poorly and the racquet’s value declines in the eyes of spectators and foes. Realization does not come kind in judging the racquet, regardless of denials and disclaimers. The would-be player then look for reputation rather than seeking from within, a match that is lost before it even begun.
6. Rallying is more enjoyable than a match. No rules to go by, no parameters to stay within. One sweats more and gets the heart pumping a little bit harder. One hits the ball with no worries. One experiments with different strokes and discovers his limitless potentials. On the other side though, rallying will only accomplish its aim with the eye on parameters and rules. Always the balance. Learn in youth what an adult can never do. Only to a certain age is a child not responsible for his actions. At the dawn of reason, everybody answers to the zebra’s call.
7. Love means nothing. It is the absence of points, the beginning of a promise with the slate oh so clean. What does it mean though when one loses, love-6? Yes, to have played the game and lost, as Shakespearewould immortalize, is better than not to have played at all.. Must one win in love? Does it matter to be a victor when surrender is the only point? Love match. Everyone dreams of perfection on earth disregarding the obvious shortcomings and selfishness. It is a folly bound to crash. Yet one aspires and strives for such is the closest to divinity one can achieve.Love means everything.
8. One teaches the boy to play the game until he surpasses one’s ability on the court. Then one learns from the boy even though the sinews refuse to abide the brain’s commands. Still one enjoys the endless pursuit of the ball, the sound of a good hit, the beauty of fuzz as it sails over the net, the impossible return of what is almost dead and the finite time and camaraderie tennis provides. As the sun sets in the evening of summer, memories are left like sweat stains while making bonding permanent between father and son. Day’s done and the match is over. Tomorrow is another play.