Friday, August 12, 2005

Never too Late to Learn Something New

Now that summer is drawing to a close, my tennis partners and I are getting back to a regular routine – ‘the Dean’ on Tuesday mornings and Senior Pete on Friday mornings at 6 AM. Senior Pete and I play indoors at the Arlington Y Tennis Club, and the Dean and I mostly play out doors.

We are reluctant to have rain interrupt our play and so we have developed a new game for rainy days. One is permitted to let the ball bounce twice. Since we are both steady players, rallies can be quite long as we scurry and splash about the court, taking full advantage of the two bounce rule. Spectators would what in earth is going on, but there are rarely any spectators. Cold does not keep us off the court either, we have played in 20 degree mornings or colder, but when it snows, we have to stop. We haven’t figured out a snow game, as yet.

Senior Pete, like me, studied mathematics and is of theoretical bent, so our games are punctuated with theorizing and analysis, drawing on such esoteric topics as recursive function theory. He also invents complex games that we analyze and periodically adjust the rules to make them more equal or achieve some goal. Again, material from mathematics and theoretical physics may enter our deliberations. We have been doing the same at net drill game, with periodic modifications, for several years.

This morning, Senior Pete recounted a post Wimbledon interview with Venus Williams who won the championship after being down match point in the finals. “What were you thinking about,” the interviewer asked as you faced that match point.

“Keeping my head down” Venus replied.

In many years of tennis I had never received that pointer. I tried it and it worked. I was up on Senior Pete when we had to leave for work - which rarely happens.

It is never too late to learn something new.

4 Comments:

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