I have tennis on the brain this week. My two boys, Gearbox (11) and Pickles (8), have suddenly discovered a passion for tennis. I signed them up for a week of lessons because the weather promised rain and the lessons could be moved indoors to fill their afternoons. They fell in love.
They are the only boys in each group who have never played tennis before but they have not let that discourage them. Nor have they let their energy flag despite 90+ degree heat. Pickles has been asking me to play tennis at 6:30 am before his swim team practice. Gearbox comes home from 2.5 hours of gymnastics and wants to go play.
It turns out that a several famous poets are fans of tennis, including Poet Laureate Philip Levine and Robert Pinsky. In the “Winning” section of his Tennis poem, Pinsky writes:
[…] By understanding
Your body, you will conquer your fatigue.
By understanding your desire to win
And all your other desires, you will conquer
Discouragement. And you will conquer distraction
By understanding the world, and all its parts.
More of Pinsky’s poem can be found on the PBS Jim Lehrer Archives.
My boys’ two favorite players are Rafael Nadal and Rodger Federer. When they picked out rackets, they wanted the Rodger and Rafa rackets. So, as an added bonus, here are Rodger and Rafa reading Kipling’s “If”.
Yay for your post today, Katya! My son has played tennis most of his life, even through a back injury. He’ll be a senior in high school this year and it’s been a great experience. Best wishes to your boys.
I’ve had Wimbledon on all day… thanks for the poem and the link to the Roger/Rafa video – I hadn’t seen it before and I LOVE it – forwarded to my son. Thanks.
I love your story, Katya. How great is that that your boys have discovered tennis. I played all through high school, got up early to play with an uncle & loved it! Thank you for sharing about their new passion. They must love that video! I did!