Serving up some Humility

One of my biggest regrets of childhood is that I never latched onto a sport. I came from an arts and music kind of family, so exercise and sports were not something that we pursued. One of my aunts once joked that our family’s idea of Outward Bound was going to a spa. That should draw a complete picture for you. Well, the arts and music portion of my life worked out well, in fact, and art has given me many wonderful opportunities along the way…schooling, career and the quirky ability to turn anything in our house into a creative “project” with the snap of a finger, much to my husband’s chagrin.

But, I’m noticing a trend within myself…the exercise and sports is starting to outweigh the arts and music. Nice change, I have to say. I’ve officially become a new kind of Black Sheep in the family with that move. I’ve been doing yoga (on and off….although very “on” this year. Finally some consistancy.) for about 15 years, I don’t feel like my lungs are going to jump out of my chest when I run anymore (like I did in high school. How sad is that?), I have done a few 5ks (but didn’t like it. Hey, I tried.), I powerwalk consistently about 20-25 miles a week,  and lately, I have started something new…tennis.  Yes, an honest-to-God sport. A SPORT. This is right up there with locusts and frogs falling from the sky in my family. Monumental. And I’m not just hacking around on a court myself. Someone is actually teaching me. Wait…I think I just heard all my ancestors just roll over in their graves and give a collective *gasp*.

Have you tried to learn a sport as an adult? It’s a whole new game and it’s a humbling one.  I have always like tennis…watching it, ogling the Federers and the Bjorn Borgs (that just dated me),  but it wasn’t until my oldest daughter started taking lessons that I really took notice of it. Then, the coach started to get to know us and I eventually expressed an interest in learning, if for no other reason than that I could play with my daughter…and now…I’m on the court. Had another lesson just yesterday. We concentrated on the overhead slams and the almighty serve. It’s amazing…when you are adult watching a child take a lesson in something…you watch and watch and can mentally break it down and you think “Why aren’t you getting this? C’mon, you can do this.”. Well, until you put that sneaker on your foot, hold your words. Yesterday, Me. Attempting to serve. “C’mon, April! You were doing the slams! The serve is just like it but you are self-feeding the ball! C’mon!”. Those words from my coach.  Yes, my adult brain is breaking it down, understanding it…but making my body actually do it? Little trickier. I know I’ll eventually get it because: 1. I’m more athletic now than I’ve ever been in my entire life and 2: I’m interested to learn and 3. I’m not a dope. I can do this. I tell you, though, so much of being an adult is feeling like you’ve got it pretty well figured out. Certainly not everything, but how many times have you looked back on your high school or college years and virtually exploded into laughter thinking that what you did back then should have either left you dead or totally screwed up your life somehow. Ah, hindsight is 20-20. They aren’t kidding about that one. But, as an adult, hopefully you have a little more foresight, a little less impulsivity and if nothing else, a little more insurance. And you have some answers in your back pocket to whip out when needed. BUT…to learn something new. To go back to the starting line. It’s truly a great experience, especially when I am now deferring to my 11 year old, who has been playing for about 3 years. She’s got the upper hand on me this time around, which is good for her ego and good for mine. It’s giving her a boost and keeping me in check and we are both having a grand time with this. Oh, but ha-ha…then I can go and keep her in check by threatening to embarrass her when I’m on the court. Score! The circle of life. Or parenting. Wink, wink.

I realize now, for certain, that at any age it’s good to become a student again and just surrender yourself to beginnings. Those beginnings create sparks and sparks create fuel. That fuel will keep you running, or overhead slamming, for a very long time and keep things anything but mundane. Love!

(Tomorrow: a divine cupcake recipe for your weekend…yummmm)

8 thoughts on “Serving up some Humility

  1. ten years ago I took up kickboxing. Thought it would be hard, but it turned out that I was really good at it. AND I was in the best shape of my life. I’ve had to give it up (and therefore, gave up that great shape I was in-ugh) I’ve been thinking of trying Zumba… but I’ve never been a dancer, and it looks like I might hurt myself (or someone else standing too close!)… but you just never know!

  2. Love, love, LOVE this post! I’ve followed a similar path – wished I’d done sports in school, got exercise religion post-40, and finally learned how to ski (was spoiled by Park City and Vail in one winter, but I’ve got the bug). My most favorite reason I moved back to RI is getting to play tennis with my 75-year-old dad. I typically win a few games off of him, but I’m yet to take a set. (I both do and don’t look forward to the day . . .). Thanks for sharing your story April!

  3. learn something as an adult a humbling experience? You bet! you should see me at Aikido practice. Somedays simple things like left foot vs. right foot forward are confusing. Talk about being out of my comfort zone… I’m amazed that my 6 year old gets the techniques! But, to put things in perspective, some of the other students at Aikido are into their 60s and going though the same learning process, some days are more difficult than others but overall everyone is having a great time learning something new. So I agree with you, it’s never to late to try learning something new, the humbling experience is just part of it just enjoy the ride and the new experience!

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