Let me begin by saying this blog contains many points of failure in the parental department. I really wish I could just video my youngest telling this story because I will not be able to do it justice. When she tells it I fall somewhere between laughing and crying on the floor and feeling absolutely humiliated that I am actually the parent.
So, my sweet girl decided that she was going to go out on a limb and try out for tennis. Now, when I say she was taking a chance I really mean it. She knows NOTHING about tennis and neither do we. However, the school and coaches had informed us that the athletes did not need to know anything to play tennis. They said there would be a spot for everyone regardless of their skills or lack there of.
Reese decided that while she was feeling brave she would feel much better if she knew someone who was willing to do it with her. She convinced a friend to try out as well. This girl’s mother was ecstatic and called the local club to see if they could have a private lesson prior to tryouts. The club informed her that they were having a beginners “camp” on Sunday for 3 hours and that the girls could attend. It sounded perfect.
On Sunday, the girls showed up with checks in hand. The instructor happily took their money without a word and they went to the courts. Once there they ran into some of their friends who questioned why they were there. They explained they were there to do a beginner’s camp. Then the first bombshell came. This was the 8th and final session of the pre-season prep camp.
Hmmm. Right here you may be asking why the coach never mentioned that little bit of news on the phone or upon payment. I have a list of possibilities, but I will keep those to myself.
Reese was ready to leave at this point because she realized this was not going to be the “beginner’s” camp they had been promised. Not so fast, sweet thing, there was more humiliation to come thanks to your parents.
The coach began by discussing the itinerary for the day and then walked over to Reese and said, “I will spare you some embarrassment. This is a child’s racket. Here is an adult racket.” Yep, we had sent her with a junior racket and didn’t even realize it and I still feel terrible. However, in his “saving her the embarrassment, he wasn’t very polite.”
How my girl did not run to the bathroom and call me to come get her at this point is beyond me. I would have faked food poisoning by now, but she continued to persevere.
Next, the coach asked them all to serve. Reese had never been taught to serve (hence the reason she is at a beginner’s camp) and as he stood by watching, not coaching, he told Reese when he sees someone who is unable to serve correctly he refuses to even coach them and walked away.
Can you say speechless? Let’s just say he has secured a very comfortable spot on MY LIST.
Reese continued to serve the ball and as she laughed telling us how truly awful she was she said, “at one point I didn’t even know where the ball had gone. I mean I felt my racket hit it, but I didn’t know where the ball was?” It was literally stuck in her racket. This was the really the point where I started laughing/crying because I felt so bad for her, but at the same time I was so proud of her for enduring this complete jerk as well as finding humor in her situation.
Not surprisingly, when Reese arrived home she cried and said it was the most humiliating experience of her life, but she was still going to try out because she had already roped her friend into it and she refused to let her down. Proud moment, but I still wasn’t sure if she would follow through.
On Monday, Reese walked onto the tennis courts at school not knowing what was in store for her. I didn’t care if she quit after that or not. I was just so impressed that she was willing to stick her neck out again after what had just transpired the day before. When I picked her up she jumped in the car and said, “that was so much fun! The coach seems great. I am probably one of the worst players on the team, but I don’t care. I am going to learn how to play tennis and meet some new people. I don’t even care if I ever play a match.”
That night before bed she looked at me and said, “I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself right now.”
Now, I am not very familiar with this part of Reese’s personality, but I am so happy it decided to show up this week. I could not be more proud of my girl and who she is becoming.
I would also like to give a HUGE shout out to the girls’ tennis coach at our school for being a stand up guy and just a decent human being. Thank you for encouraging all of these girls and whether you know it or not you gave my girl the courage to not just get back up, but to do so with confidence and a smile on her face.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G