Although I only have two scheduled tennis games a week, I just subbed in three others…so I played five times in five days (twice in one of those days). A total of 13 1/2 hours including serve practice. I was so tired that I slept 10 hours one night. Exhausting. Worse than that, my team generally lost. So I still need lots of work.

To help out, five different players volunteered on their own to tell me the “right” way to hit a serve. I was amazed by a video I was sent that showed the way professionals serve, and this one broke it down, so that for the first time I understood what I am supposed to do. Or at least what a professional is supposed to do. One coach told me to ignore it all. Another coach told me there is no such thing as muscle memory. Someone said hit harder. Someone else said just place it accurately. Rotate this way…no that way. Stand like this…no do it like that.

Pretty confusing…I decided that all the suggestions sounded good, took pieces that I liked from each person’s advice , and will practice some mongrel approach to see what happens. Oddly enough, my serve was going pretty well before the video arrived by email. I am just trying to improve it.

Of course I think life has the same challenges. People live it different ways, with different abilities, and most will not hesitate to tell you what should work for you. Everyone is after the same goals: enough money, good health, satisfying relationships, career success, fun, various degrees of excitement and adventure, and maybe a tiny bit of wisdom that makes it easy to deal with daily problems. It’s taken me decades to reach some of these goals and objectives. Yet it is often a struggle to handle the latest issues…like the abdominal pain that concerned me a week ago…which may just be a strained muscle and not a deadly disease.

At least I am still in the tennis game, striving to be one of those guys in his 80’s who plays a few times a week. And good enough now to keep on being invited back to fill in with players who are better than I am. Lucky me.