Sports Parenting

The New Kid

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It’s been a very long time since I’ve been the New Kid on a tennis team.

For those of you who don’t live in the Atlanta area, you may not be familiar with ALTA, the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, the largest tennis league in the country.  For those of you who do live here (or have lived here in recent years), you understand the importance of ALTA and how your team may or may not define you as a player (yes, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but . . .).

Anyway, this season, I have decided to try my hand on a new team.  For the past several years, I’ve played on the ladies A team in my neighborhood.  We have a great group of players, and it’s really the one social thing I do with my neighbors.  I’ve made several close friends as a result – the team is competitive but not overly so, so the matches are fun and the atmosphere is light.  All very good things.

A few seasons ago, though, I was asked to join a different team, one that plays out of the club where my son trains.  I politely declined, wanting, instead, to stick with my neighbors.  Each season, I would get asked again, and, each time, I declined.  This season, I decided to give it a try.

Today is my first match with my new team.  I’ve only attended one group lesson with them, so I’m not really familiar with their styles of play nor they with mine.  Today I’m playing with a partner I haven’t met yet (ALTA is all doubles at the adult level).  To add to my stress, I just had my racquet restrung yesterday with a new type of string, and I haven’t had a chance to hit with it yet.  Okay, so it could get a bit rough out there this morning . . .

I’m trying to stay focused on the positive, just like David Benzel talked about on my radio show this week.  I’m telling myself that it’s good for me to step outside my comfort zone.  I’m telling myself that it’s good for me to get to know some of the other women where my son trains.  I’m telling myself that it’s good for me to be a little nervous, that it will keep me on my toes.  I’m telling myself that it’s good for me to experience a little of what my son experienced when he moved to the club a year and a half ago.  I’m telling myself that, every now and then, it’s good to be the New Kid.

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