Sunday, June 3, 2012

On my nerves (mixed doubles)

After an 0-2 start to the state league season, I was nervous about my mixed doubles match. Jim's "We need to win this week" email was a nice change from his previous "I'm doing this for fun" approach — but I wondered whether I could keep up with his winning attitude. After playing sluggishly at our last practice, I knew I needed to bring my A-game effort, if not my A-game.

Arriving with plenty of time to warm up, I did not feel panicked. Le Club has a ping pong table, so I relaxed and got my hand-eye coordination going. On the warmup court, I noticed that one of my racquets played better than the other. Good to know.

Then it was time to take the court for our match. Off we went to Court 7, where Team Noonimoto lost a tough match on Tuesday.

I opened my tennis bag and immediately forgot which racquet I preferred in the warmup. I'm going to need to work on this, because I have two of the same racquet but bought them four years apart. The old one played better for a while but after getting it restrung for Nationals I'm not sure anymore.

You can see how this could make a person crazy, the forgetting something so basic.

When I told Jim I was feeling nervous, he said, "You won't remember this tomorrow." The prospect of a blackout was reassuring. (Though, when I later asked what he meant, he couldn't explain: "I was nervous too.")

Our opponents were my dentist, who is also a marathon runner, and his partner, an aggressive volleyer. Jim and I disagreed on which of them was playing better. Not the best start.

I double-faulted a couple of times and had to resort to dinking my serve in. Jim played great despite his own nerves. I tried to high-five him once but he blocked me with his racquet: "We don't do that." (I am not a high-fiving, fist-pumping kind of player but I'm working on it. Once or twice per match, okay?)

Somehow we took the first set.

I was still nervous.

More cryptic advice: "It's working." This reminded me of combo playoffs in February, when Kristen said I couldn't be that nervous if I was able to hold serve. Sidebar: It would make sense that I'd be nervous in a playoff match, right? But why in mixed doubles, especially when I managed my nerves in the first match? So many questions.

The good news: Team Fontimoto got our first win (6-2, 6-1) despite my intense anxiety and not-so-intense play. Onward.


Jenny said...

Ha Ha! Great story - so glad you pulled through and won! Nerves can be such a detriment unless you know how to work with them...I'm still working on that myself :)

Naomi said...

Hopefully I'll be less mental as the season goes on. I hope you're off to a good start (with no nerves)!