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My Rookie Tennis Year

May 28, 2010

I wrote this article last year for the local South Barrington Life magazine for which I’m a contributer.  Enjoy and Have a Smashing Weekend!

My Rookie Tennis Year

The South Barrington Club has some wonderful tennis programs and my sons have been taking lessons there since we moved to South Barrington 2 1/2 years ago.  I’ve always enjoyed hitting a few balls around for fun, but honestly didn’t know much about playing the game.  Previous forays into playing with tennis capable friends always left me humiliated; fortunately it was usually followed by a nice lunch and/or happy hour afterwards. 

But when it looked like my boys were enjoying the game and going to keep playing the sport, I thought it was time for me to have a few lessons.  With a few friends, who did have more tennis skills than I, we started taking lessons with two of the tennis pros at the club, Mark Benjamin and Will Karydakis – who seem to me to be the ying and yang of tennis coaches.  I must say that Mark is very patient and understanding, especially after almost a year of lessons and I’m making some of the same mistakes.  I won’t even mention the fact that he seems to be a magnet for our balls.   

Will has such a positive attitude and will convince you that you’re ready to take anyone on, and it was with this misplaced confidence that I agreed to join the Wednesday In-house (2.5-3.0) league last Fall.  Although I discovered early on that I had a lot to learn, the ladies in the group were fabulously fun and while competitive, not seriously so.  

I must say it was a shock to discover that the rankings were to be emailed every month – I didn’t know they were keeping track!  All I can say is that I was thrilled not to be in last place, but it was a close call!   In fact, every month while many were battling for the top spots, I was battling to stay out of the basement.    For example, I would excitedly report to my family and friends that I had moved up to third place one month, but needed to explain my own ranking system and that it was actually third from the bottom!  

With each week of lessons and matches, I found that I was making progress, but I was also disappointed to learn that my teammates would also improve faster than I.   The last game day was held the first week of May and there were 3 ladies tied for second place.  While they were battling to decide the winner of the second place trophy, I was playing for the decider of last place.  At the end of the day, tennis coordinator Melissa Dawson from the SBC announced that Susan Butera was the winner of the first place trophy and that Jennifer Schuller was the winner of the second place trophy.  Thankfully, she did not announce the last place winner – because after my play that morning, I think I was in real contention!

Now that the season is over, what am I going to do?  Unbelievably, I’ve signed up for the Fox Valley Ladies travel league – I must be a glutton for punishment.  But at the same time, I’m looking forward to a fun summer learning more about the game and hoping for a better finish than the indoor season.  I apologize in advance to my good-natured doubles partner Kelly Daughtery if there is no trophy for our mantle after the summer, but I’m looking forward to a lot of laughs and learning this summer and I’ll spring for those consolation cocktails.  I’m sure we’ll have plenty of stories to share.


We did end up having an amazing summer season and our team won first place in our division and Ace & Spinner both won silver cheese platters for their number of aces served on the final day.  My goal for this summer – win a platter for my cheese! 

Smashing© and©, 2010

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