It’s US Open time. Tennis! And last night on ESPN I watched Venus Williams play Vera Dushevina, remembering the Williams sisters some 10 years ago, and how exciting that was. This match had its tense moments, but it seemed more painful than exciting as Williams struggled with knee pain to drop the first set in a tie-break.
There were some terrific points from both competitors, as Williams eventually took the match in three sets. The knee was obviously a factor; frustration showed on the two-time Open champion’s face. But she also demonstrated what we’ve come to expect from her: determination, pushing through pain, and professionalism.
The match and reminders
For those of us trying to hang on in this recession – digging deep as we look for work and try to keep going – seeing that kind of fight is a reminder of what perseverance is about. Pushing through pain, goal in mind. Unflinching focus.
I would’ve liked my son to see the match, but he’d had a long day in school, a piano lesson, then tennis until dark – with the new girl in his life. By the time he got home, his focus was on food and schoolwork.
Though I’ve never seen any play in person, the US Open is a sentimental touchstone for me. Like many, I watched with enormous relish, as a scrappy, mouthy, 39-year old Jimmy Connors battled his way to the semi-finals in September 1991. It was thrilling.
That was just days before I gave birth to my first son – who was kind enough to hang on through all of Jimmy’s wins, and kick his way into the world on the day that Connors fell to Courier.
The local court
It’s my younger son who’s the tennis player in the family, now. The good tennis player. I haven’t had the opportunity to see him do his thing in more than a year – a matter of schedules and logistics. But a few days ago, I sent him out on a local court with a new friend – of mine. A friend who plays pretty superb tennis, from everything I’d heard. What I heard was accurate.
Watching him on the court with my son was lovely, for more reasons than I could say. I sat in a corner on the hard surface, in a pile of leaves and pine needles, and for that hour, I was completely content.
© D A Wolf