Ad Hoc Tennis With Kids

Sitting at the computer this Saturday night thinking….it’s way too nice out tonight not to get outside.  Reached for my tennis bag and headed over to the community courts.  Figured if there’s nobody there, I’ll just hit against the board.  Nobody there and the board was gone.  Had a silent chuckle.  It does indeed need replacing due to chips, cracks and holes.  My balls were forever veering off due from such.  Watched a group kick a soccer ball around and then looked back at the court and there were three kids sitting on one of the tennis nets.  Oops….they were gonna catch it.  Headed over and talked to them about how tennis players like to keep the net at the same height and hence nobody sits on it.  They asked what I’m doing here anyway.  I mentioned that I thought I might catch a game but nope.  They asked if I had another racquet and if they could play.  Hard to say no under the circumstances and yes my spare was in the kit.

It started out as three enthusiastic boys.  We set up mini tennis boundaries (the services boxes) for some back and forth.  There was some chat about whose turn it would be next.  Then “Slam” came along who set up the rules.  I thought how ironic of a boy’s name on this evening in the context of the most celebrated of tennis competitions.  There was going to be five misses each before they handed off to the next in line.  Skateboarders appeared and organized mayhem ensued.  The three boarders all of whom knew clearly that skate boarding is disallowed on the court but they cooperatively heeded my request to skate the perimeter.  Slam showed great promise while making his shots.  Then came along five more cousins including I’d say a three year old little boy and a six year old girl.  Of course all kids were tracking the balls and this girl intuitively knew exactly how to one bounce a ball back to me with the straight arm in the air just like at Wimbledon.  If she only knew she needs no ball girl lessons.

With dimming light I huddled up the clan and exclaimed they all have great potential to learn tennis skills and suggested that they inquire with their parents for racquets.  Upon packing my bag, a skateboarder gave me one last reason to smile when he whizzed by and said thanks for not yelling at us.

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