Sunday, 15 April 2012


Despite what it seems like from my previous posts I also take part in hobbies that require some physical fitness.  For the past few years, I have been an avid tennis player.  This is no mean feat as I live in a country which experiences some low temperatures, and unlike this past winter, has a decent amount of snowfall.

Like most sports, and unlike most of my other hobbies, it requires scheduling.  People are busy, courts are full, and sometimes it's raining.    Of course sometimes your tennis clothes are unwashed, your tennis shoes are chew toys for the family dog and that brand new can of tennis balls won't be found until you purchase another one.

I read a book by Haruki Murakami on jogging.  He made the point that jogging was one physical activity you didn't need a partner for.  He makes a good point.  I have tried tennis alone, me against the school wall.  Sadly, I haven't found a high enough wall, so this man versus wall confrontation only serves to lose those newly found tennis balls.

Perhaps the biggest appeal of tennis is that it so clearly illustrates that technique and finesse can overcome raw power and fitness (meaning an older, heavier guy with some skills can beat a young, fit guy who doesn't seem to get tired, and can still rush the net after several hours in the hot sun)  As I get older, I take great solace in such a thing.

In terms of money, because everything looks good until you consider how much it's going to cost you, tennis doesn't have to be expensive.  A pair of shoes lasts a long time.  A racquet needn't cost that much.  I bought mine at the end of the season--actually I played for about two more months, but some of those nights were rather cold--for 50% off.  Tennis balls are cheap, and who cares what you're wearing--though ladies, the tennis dress does look fabulous on you.

Weather is a factor, but there are ways to overcome that too. For one glorious winter I belonged to a tennis club.  I played two or three times a week and never once worried about the snow.  Sadly, that is no longer economically possible.  Things have changed, and prices have gone up.  However, it was wonderful.  There were water coolers for every court, the nets were regulation, and there were some talented tennis dress clad women on adjacent courts.

Spring has come early, and the tennis nets are up.  I have been out twice this year and enjoyed it both times.  I can't say as I am in prime shape yet, but I feel good about the effort.

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