Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mediocrity not for me

As I currently sit in my comfy chair, I am sore head to toe. I played tennis for two hours and forty-five minutes last night in 47 degrees weather. This was only one match. I repeat the same extreme exercise at least four times a week. Such a regimen has built me the best body I have ever had. Mock my choice to build my life around tennis, but it has given me a "porn star" body. But it hasn't always been this way.

Last March, I almost gave it all up. I got knocked out of the Austin tennis tournament 6-4, 6-4 by the #2 seed. I put everything I had into that game, but I still came up short. I remember wanting to quit tennis all together. If I couldn't ever be good at it, I didn't want to play anymore. I was at a crossroads during that fateful day.

Fortunately, I don't easily give up. I needed a better me. So, I joined an adult men's league last Fall where every one of those players play better than anyone I face in a GLTA tournament. I even upgraded my singles competition to include two individuals that regularly hit 12-25 aces a match. Yes, my overall record against these individuals is below .500, but the gap in our skills is quickly closing. I even expanded the sheer number of individuals I can play on a weekly basis to five to give me the maximum variety of play.

When I played in Houston last November, I was applauded by many others for improving my game. Some said my ground strokes were awesome. Others said I had the ability to chase down EVERY ball no matter where I was on the court. One person who watched me beat his friend exclaimed that I had improved five times since the last time he saw me.

That was my goal all along. I had to increase my tennis skills to give me a fighting chance to win a tournament. In 2008, I will ambitiously play in five tennis tournaments: Austin, Orlando, New Orleans, Dallas and Houston.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post. There are some grumblings out there that "it is all about me" in bullying others to play tennis every week. It is true that I am persistently trying to schedule tennis matches each and every week. The competitor in me is driven to succeed. My goal is to win tournaments in early 2008, and then move up to a higher division near the end of the year.

For all of you who complain, you should appreciate that I am also helping to build YOU into a better tennis player as well. All of you are now capable of HAULING ASS when you couldn't a year ago. Everyone I regularly play has improved as a result of my focus to improve my tennis skills. So, instead of bitching at the whip I have been slinging... be happy with the overhaul results.


Anonymous Brian D said...

Hey, boo! Glad you didn't give up. I look forward to playing AND winning over you again in the near future. (evil grin)

Brian D.

December 18, 2007  
Blogger mikeinbama said...

I try to play tennis 3 times a week. Our winter USTA league starts in early January. I think tennis is a wonderful game and you can alway get better if you play better people who have a higher rating.

December 18, 2007  
Anonymous Kevin M said...

Maybe they're bitching because they're not as obsessive-compulsive as you are about beating people, and your constant harranguing them to play (competitively) is turning what was an enjoyable pasttime for them into an unpleasant experience.

Some people participate in an activity strictly because they enjoy it. They're not there to see if they can beat as many people as possible, they're not there to get themselves into peak condition, they're there to do something they like. Even those who do like to compete, sometimes, may also like to just play for fun.

Turning every game and match into either "haha, I beat you" or "damn damn damn I can't believe I lost" event is a surefire way to turn those people off.

December 18, 2007  
Blogger BRETTCAJUN said...

I have built a better Whipping Boy through competitive reinforcement! He used to not be able to get any ball that wasn't within five feet of him. Now, he has the speed to cover the court well and the ability to haul ass at a moment's notice. Does he appreciate all my effort? Probably not. He spends too much time eating toaster streudals and "having a life". Fine. Don't come crying to me if you get waxed in the next tennis tournament. I tried. Hmpfh!

December 18, 2007  
Blogger Lewis said...

"Sore head to toe".....
You want me to kiss your boo boo all better??????

December 18, 2007  
Anonymous Kevin M said...

I think, Brett, you're missing my point.

Some people just don't *care* whether they win or lose in their next tournament. They play because they enjoy playing. They're not driven like you by the fear of having "Loser" branded on their foreheads.

You say you built a better Whipping Boy. By whose standards-yours or his? Maybe he's more like the opponent that you want, but is that what HE wants? What makes you qualified to judge that this is "better"?

When I rodeoed, I had no illusions about winning in steer wrestling. There were lots of people who were far more experienced at it, and who had more skill. I knew going in that I was unlikely to even get points, much less take home a ribbon or (God forbid) a buckle.

But every rodeo, I signed up for chute dogging because I enjoyed it. I could have limited myself to events where I usually take home a ribbon or buckle, like goat dressing & steer deco, but I enjoyed what I did.

If someone had constantly nagged me to hit every arena, compete weekly in dogging steers, I'd have probably gotten sick of it in short order, and I probably would have quit.

Your goals are not everyone else's goals, and just because yours are right for you does not make them right for everyone else. Nor does it make them better than anyone else's goals. That's why people keep saying it's always all about you - you either lack the ability sometimes to see that other people don't share your viewpoint, or you lack the understanding that your viewpoint isn't necessarily superior to theirs.

I'm not saying you shouldn't compete as hard as you want. Work your little ass off, if that is what pleases you. Find people who share your passion, and engage them. But stop bitching because not everyone wants to kill themselves trying to live up to your standards of what "enough" is.

December 19, 2007  
Blogger BRETTCAJUN said...


When I suggested to Whipping Boy that I may very well count our "scrimmage game" afterall because I had won so convincingly when I was still sick, he came unglued. His reaction was immediate and very disapproving. He takes these games a little more serious than he may lead you to believe. I guarantee the first time he beats me again (1 in 30 chance), he'll be all over this blog mouthing off about it. THAT is the mark of someone who does care a little more than what he let's on. His sparse accomplishments against me is the ONLY thing keeping him muzzled right now. TRUST ME.

December 20, 2007  
Anonymous Kevin M said...

It's possible that he likes the competition and still feels that you take it too far. I don't know that to be the case, but I do know you.

My point is... if the message you're getting is that you're bullying him (or others) into playing more often, and more competitively, than he wants, HEAR him, instead of deciding that "you should appreciate that I am also helping to build YOU into a better tennis player as well." It's not up to you for him to decide what he should, or shouldn't, appreciate.

But enough said on that. I've beat my head against that brick wall for 14 years now.

December 20, 2007  

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