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The Beginning of the End

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July 1st marked the first day of my son’s last year in junior tennis. That day came and went with some very mixed emotions on my part (though I’m guessing my son was oblivious to its implications beyond which of his friends he was going to hang out with on the beach for the day). On the one hand, I’ve been rather frustrated with the entire junior tennis process – the confusion, the changing rules, the inconsistencies tournament to tournament. On the other hand, this has been an amazing journey, an amazing opportunity to spend countless one-on-one hours with my son, an amazing way for him to mature and develop as an athlete and as a human being, and I’ll be sad when it ends. I can’t tell you how many incredible people we’ve both met along the way and how many doors have opened to us both because my son chose tennis almost a decade ago.

And, while I know the journey isn’t really ending but rather veering in a new direction as he prepares to enter the world of college tennis, I will miss the hours in the car with him and the nights in the hotel reflecting on the day and, yes, even the monotonous dining options inherent in each tournament town’s Panera and Carrabas.

Those of you who are already on the other side of junior tennis have shared with me over and over again how much you treasured those years with your child(ren) despite the craziness and expense and disruption to “normal” family life. I know I’ll feel the same way in hindsight. For now, though, I will take things one day at a time – the 364 I now have left – and try to focus on the good stuff, not sweat the small stuff, and enjoy creating a few more memories before this all comes to an end.


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