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Mixed Doubles

mixed dubs

 

My son’s first experience playing competitive tennis was as part of a neighborhood boys ALTA (Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association) team when he was 7 or 8 years old (sorry, he’s my 3rd child and I just don’t remember those kind of details!). He was the youngest on the team and had a blast playing with the Big Boys. I think he played 3 or 4 seasons with them before the team disbanded and he moved on to USTA tournament competition, but it was a great introduction to the world of match play and doing your best to win for your team.

Flash forward a decade or so. Now my son is 18 and can compete in adult ALTA leagues. His first foray is our neighborhood mixed doubles team as my partner. This past weekend, we played our first two matches. We won them both.

My son surpassed me, tennis-skills-wise, a long time ago. When he was little, we used to go out and hit and play sets. I was his tournament warm-up buddy and could rally with him sufficiently . . . until he hit age 13 or 14. Then, I was replaced by his coaches or his tennis friends because I could no longer keep up. His topspin and power were more than I could handle. I was okay with that because it meant that his game was developing. We all want our kids to be better than ourselves at whatever they undertake, right? While I missed those early morning hits with him before a tournament match, there was something satisfying in seeing him move into that next phase.

Getting to play with him again, now, as his partner, is more than just satisfying. It is joyful. I love standing at the net as he serves a bomb to the other team and seeing their expression of awe at his power and his form. I love that moment between points as he pumps me up to receive serve. I love the time on the changeovers as he tells me, “We’ve got this, Mom. Let’s go!” I love being able to yell, “Yours!” during a point and knowing 100% that he will run down whatever ball is hit past me and send it back with interest. I love when he compliments me on a ball well-hit. I love that he understands not to peg the net person or win easy points by serving his biggest serve to the woman. I love seeing his pride in his future college as he wears his Broncos gear to each match then talks to our opponents about what lies ahead. I love seeing our teammates watch him play and the text messages I get afterward. I love that he’s willing to spend his Sunday afternoons playing tennis with his mom.

I don’t know how many matches we will get to play together, so I’m savoring each one. I may not be my son’s ideal doubles partner, but he certainly is mine.

 

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