Thursday, March 6, 2008
What began as a simple suggestion of mine ("Hey, maybe we could play tennis sometime? There's a court at the apartment complex after all...") turned into a monumental struggle.
First, we had to get rackets and balls... which was harder than it sounds. We went to Play It Again Sports, but they only had Very Expensive Rackets. (Sorry, I'm not playing pre-beginners tennis with a $75 racket, no.) We discussed going to Dick's Sporting Goods a few times, but never quite got around to it. Tuesday, we finally went to Target and bought el-cheapo rackets (since I needed to get a yoga mat anyway...)
We also got a sack of tennis balls (I argued for the bright pink breast cancer awareness balls, but Thomas said he was not NOT NOT looking like a complete ass on the court with bright pink balls. Yes, you can take that any way you like. You know I did.) and Darcy decided she had to have a racket, too, so she's got a spongebob racket.
Ok, we have rackets. We have balls. We... need to find out what the rules are for the apartment complex's court.
I called them today. The girl at the office (it's a new girl again, I swear the turnover rate in that office is HUGE. I have rarely seen the same person for more than 6 months and we've been here for four years now.) said she'd have to make some calls, that she didn't know anything about it... (they never do. know anything, that is.) I called back in an hour or so.
"Well, ma'am... we've had some vandalism problems with the court, and apparently someone set the net on fire a few months ago, and we don't have a new net yet, but there's supposed to be one in around mid-April, and there's a contractor who's going to be fixing the rest of the damage, and then maybe we'll be releasing keys to the residents if anyone wants them..."
"But, you might try the park..." she added, helpfully. "My dad and I play there all the time."
So, I called Parks and Services and found out where the tennis courts were (they're less than a mile away, and maybe when the days are a bit longer, we'll walk to the court, play, and come back... if the apartment complex doesn't fix our court - which I highly suspect they won't. Because you know, they just sort of suck that way.)
We drove out and then we had to wait for a while, because all the courts were in use - guess this is more popular than I might have thought. We watched a tennis lesson - twin girls probably a year or two older than Darcy were stretching when we first got there, and then their instructor was gently lobbing balls to them. They looked like they were having fun, so we may consider that for Darcy later, if she's interested. Finally one of the courts cleared (we talked to the couple as they were gathering up their balls, they do it for the exercise, too, and they were very friendly...) and we started to play.
I use the word play very very dubiously.
Neither of us has held a tennis racket since we were in our teens, and that was painfully obvious. Most of the time, we couldn't hit the ball more than twice over the net. Darcy thought this was enormously amusing, and loved running after the stray balls. Despite having her own racket, she wouldn't even try to hit the ball...
Towards the end, we were starting to get a little better, hitting the ball back and forth three, four... sometimes even five times.
And I discovered something.
I can run.
Not fast. Not gracefully. But it was, nonetheless, running.
Several years ago, I was in a bad car accident. If I hadn't been wearing a seatbelt, I would have been killed. As it was, I spent three months on the sofa in a cast on both arm and leg, and then the next six months learning how to walk again. I have enough titanium in my ankle to set off metal detectors. I carry a card in my wallet for going through airline security. (I haven't been on a plane since before this happened, and I've been told that airline security does not care about my little doctor's card, but I haven't had the opportunity to try it out.)
I used to think it was a miracle that I could walk, and that I'd just have to live with the fact that I was in regular pain. Not constant, but regular. Exertion, weather, cold, all made my ankle ache. I've been on Vicodaine for years. I was careful not to take them unless I needed it, but I'd probably take at least three or four in a month's time. More if I was doing much, or the weather was particularly stormy. I couldn't walk down stairs like a normal person. I had to go one step at a time, and hold on to the railing. Running was out of the question. Jumping was Right Out.
But... maybe... just maybe... I haven't been testing myself. I accepted my limitations and they became mine.
I ran, tonight. Not far. Not fast. Not gracefully.
But it was running.
And that is a miracle.