Welcoming Adversity (Sorry, this has the content) 244

West Coast Grand Prix

When senior tennis players get together to compete there are three things that you can always count on: talking about injuries, complaining about playing conditions and…I can’t remember the third thing. 🙂 Everyone can remember shots from 20 years ago but many are asking “where is my hat?” when it is on their head.

The largest senior tennis event of the year began yesterday. 315 players ages 55-90 showed up at three beautiful clubs in and around Naples.

Many arrived on Saturday to practice and more than a few people were complaining about how windy it was. Others who have been playing indoors this winter were carrying on about the sun. And then there are the problems with the inconsistencies of the clay courts which have dry and wet spots. Sunday there was too much glare. And, of course, the club members who walk behind the courts talking and distracting players.

As for me, I welcome adversity.

Years ago, I arrived at Montecito CC in Santa Barbara to play the National 40s Grass Championships. All the players were held off the courts until 10AM due to the typical dew on the morning grass. I was new on the scene so was not engaged in conversation with others. I overheard experienced players bemoaning how the courts looked slippery, how the location between the mountains and the ocean created a wind tunnel, how the courts were too dried out from the sun and wind, the unevenness of the surface and how the bounces would be terrible. (I mentally suggested that they shouldn’t be playing a grass court event if they wanted good bounces.)

I looked to my left and saw the Santa Ynez Mountains. I looked to my right and saw the beach and the Pacific Ocean. I thought “how blessed am I to be in this spot right now.” Life is good, even with all the bad bounces. I will start this tournament feeling happy to be here while others would spend their matches focused on problems. I’ll take that edge any time.

So when I arrived here to practice on Saturday, my opponents were worried about the wind. I was actually glad. Give me the worst possible conditions on day 1 and let me find the way to adjust and adapt. When the wind dies down, for me, the game will be easier.

On Sunday I played a practice set with a Florida player. He told me how bad the sun is for a lefty at 10:30AM. I would be “blinded” by the light when serving. I asked if he would mind if I played on the side facing the sun for the whole set. When he protested that it wasn’t fair to me, I told him that I love to welcome the adversity. Let me serve into the sun so that I can adjust and adapt as that is what I need to do when playing.

The harder the practice, the greater the adversity, the happier I am.

First match later today. Slight breeze and an afternoon sun. I am good to go

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