There are those few times, when one knows he/she is making progress in a pursuit. I had that last night at tennis, while subbing in a higher quality game than usual. Last summer in this group, my team (partner chosen randomly) often lost. But the guys do know that in spite of my weak strokes and modest serve, I have those ping-pong reflexes at the net. “Good hands” is a comment I hear often after my unexpected volleys and net points.

Last night we lost the first match 1-6. After a partner change, my new team won the second match 6-1. Going to the winner court, I was actually desired, rather than avoided, by two of the guys—the third couldn’t bid for me, because he and I had teamed up before. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED. Down 2-4, we came back to win 7-5 with the guys from the other court watching. Twice the other team thought they had put away the point, but I somehow, miraculously, unbelievably retrieved their “winner” with a startling volley and put it where they couldn’t return it or did so softly, allowing my team to put it away. They had actually turned away from the point and were walking back to the baseline, so sure they were that the point was over.

After the victory, I was told how I was “on fire” and that “other guys would have headed for the hills, but you stood there facing the net and returned the ball with an unexpected volley.” All quite thrilling. It hasn’t happened before with this group. Very satisfying. Even my serve had improved over the last year, so that the receiver’s return often went into the net.

I love this game…especially when I keep improving.

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