I wrote earlier ( https://www.irasabs.com/?p=2240) about how I lack the killer, cuthroat instinct. How it shows on the court. I am definitely competitive and want to win and try what I think is my best. But if I lose, big deal. It’s only a game. And I am constantly saying just that to new doubles partners: “Relax. We’re here to have fun. You never have to apologize for a bad shot and say, I’m sorry.”

Observers of my tennis game have commented on my nonchalance about winning. They say my niceness shows up, that I don’t run desperately for each ball, that my net volleys are firm, but not so forceful as to knock someone unconscious if I hit them in the head. I should be tougher.

All that changed yesterday, December 7th, when I was playing and became pissed. Now I must interject that I have had some personal setbacks, disappointments, anxieties about a relative dying, friends with their own problems. And the doubles game was going slowly. I grew impatient for a speedier match, and all my suppressed negativity broke through. I was outraged, annoyed, ticked off—at the world and the difficulties of living a life. At the raw deals people are stuck with, and their daily burdens. It all busted loose. I may have wanted to scream and shout.

So I took it out on the tennis balls. I served rapidly, faster and harder than ever before. I hit powerfully for me, deep and accurately. The other team was commenting on how impossible returns were. And what was going on stroke after stroke?

I was experiencing new and rare emotions that I couldn’t recognize. I felt enraged and ornery and furious and threatening. God damn evil and dictatorial. Some caused I’m sure because a relative of someone I know had been murdered a few days before. If I’d had a hammer, I might have hit someone in the head. There was a lot of pent up energy.

So I channeled it into my game.

When it was over and a few hours had passed, I thought about who I had become. Read the rest of this entry »

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