Monday, July 2, 2012

On staying calm (mixed doubles)

On Friday afternoon, Jim sent me a jubilant email — albeit in a tiny font — that he had practiced his serve the night before and no pressure, but we needed to win the first set.


I'll admit, I was not in a huge we're-the-number-one-court mood that night. Probably because my back had been hurting since my singles match the week before. Ice, stretching, and Advil hadn't helped.

But I felt better when we warmed up. Calm.

Once we started playing, we found that our opponents had some enviable strengths: Scott moved well and had unbelievable angle shots, and Julie was tall, powerful, and difficult to lob over.

We took the first set 6-4. Early in the second set, we labored over one game — multiple deuce points — but lost.

I tried to stay calm.

"Poise," I said to Jim.

As in, let's keep it together and not beat ourselves up over lost points or lost games.

This is much easier said than done. But I try to follow the proverb: Never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon.

We hung in there.

We were up 5-3; they were serving. Match point. I turned to look at Jim.

"Don't look at me like that!"

Like what?! I turned away.

We lost the point.

But we won the next one. Match point again. I had a feeling we were going to win — right then.

And we did! Or rather, Jim did. He returned the ball, they hit it back to him, he hit it again, and they made an unforced error. A great point for me to witness.

Feeling really proud of our effort, I got a little choked up. But I snapped out of it when he said, "Now can we high five?"

Yes, Jim. High five. You played great!

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