My Mum is a 62 year old woman who plays tennis once a week.
She used to jog but she’s had issues with her legs and with her ankles so she packed that in a while ago so that she could save her self for tennis.
She loves playing tennis. She plays doubles with her friend Jenny and they have been doing really well over the past few years, working their way up through the leagues that run at the local club. After playing each week she, her doubles partner and the other ladies who play around the same time, meet in the small club house and have a cup of tea and chat and laugh and generally have a good time.
My parents moved around a fair bit in their earlier life and moved to where they are now, where this Tennis Club is, about 16 years ago knowing no one in the city. My Dad has never been very social and didn’t really seem to mind, but my Mum likes having friends and likes being part of a community. It is through Tennis that she found those friends and found that community, her games are one of her favourite bits of the week. It is also something she enjoys as an individual, away from the family and husband who make up so much of her life (I think happily it must be said!).
In her tennis world she is defined only by her personality and her play and I think she loves that, it is an expression of independence that a person needs. Before Christmas, her leg was getting worse and she was struggling a little. We went for a walk on boxing day and her ankle hurt so much that we had to cut it short. She’s now had to stop playing tennis for, hopefully, just a couple of weeks. But we shall see.
Tennis is a hobby for my Mum, but it is also clearly more than that and her inability to play has really affected her life.
She is sad about it, she misses her friends, she misses the feeling she got from playing, she misses a lot of things. She’s also getting a little angry. She’s angry that she can’t play and she’s angry at her body for being the reason for that. She’s angry at that damn leg. She’s now got to embark on a course of physiotherapy which will be difficult and not a little gruelling. She’s started doing stretches every day and paying very close attention to her body.
But, the problem is that she hasn’t always paid such close attention to her body.