There was a time when high-pressure mixed-doubles matches geeked me out. I used to get on the court in 9.0-level matches knowing I was the worst player on the court AND I LOVED THAT FEELING. I knew I'd get the most shots and I was ready for it. I was like Scrappy Doo. Remember him?
That was me. And most of the time, I did well enough to pull out the win. It was usually quite close, but yeah, we'd win.
Last weekend was a different story. I played my second 8.0 match of the season, and unlike most of the recent lopsided losses I've taken, I actually ended up in a close match. My partner and I jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set, only to have our opponents pull even at 4-4. There was a minor development that happened at 4-1, though. When I say minor, I mean that my son, who had decided to go hit some tennis balls on the wall on a 98-degree afternoon in Florida, developed a case of heat sickness. My husband, who was playing on the other court tended to him, and I checked on him in the bathroom at the first changeover chance I got. He had a serious case of diarrhea, but otherwise was more coherent than he apparently was a few minutes earlier. He told me to come check on him in 5 or 10 minutes. That boy. What a sweetie.
Anyway, if I'm honest, the biggest problem wasn't my son getting sick. I knew he was OK. But remember what I said about knowing I was the worst player on the court and loving that pressure? I literally did not want to hit a ball for fear of messing up. I have never had that feeling while playing tennis. Have you? I doubted every swing of my racquet, and kept hoping for double faults, or for my partner to jump in front of me to hit a ball coming right at me.
We lost, of course. That'll happen when your inconsistent opponent gives you an easy sitter midcourt that the old Naf would have hit right at the net person, but that this Naf returns the favor with a spinny forehand that lands about four feet long.
What's happened to me? Good question. Sure, I haven't been playing much. My work schedule has limited my tennis considerably. And if my husband and kids aren't at the courts, then I don't want to be, either. That's how strapped for time I am these days. So maybe I just need to play more. What I do know is that I've lost all belief in my game. I don't know how to get it back. I guess I'll keep hitting the courts, waiting for my swagger to return.
Any ideas from anybody? I am open to the idea of hypnosis at this point.