Yes, I am competitive and like to win much more than I tolerate losing; but I do hope I can follow my own preachings to friends and not play foolishly enough to get injured.
A good New Hampshire friend of mine is forever charging all around the court trying to get every ball back in play. My advice to him has been, “No point, no game, no match is worth injuring yourself for one to two months – or more. Just look at the ball bouncing a second time and say, ‘Nice shot.’”
One time, he did NOT and chased a drop shot off the court and into the courtside gazebo, injuring his knee … and out for the rest of the summer!
Last week I played a singles match with a friend down from the cold north. The Florida midday temperature was approaching 90, with some humidity. He had been down in the heat, playing every day, and suffering from it.
Even though our styles are just about opposite (he plays serve and volley), we are evenly matched. On this hot Florida day he was up a break and serving at 4-3 in the first set, when it became obvious to me that he had run out of gas and hit the proverbial wall.
I won the next three games, winning 12 out of 14 points; and then ran off three more games in the second set.
All the while, I could see that he was laboring under the grueling sun (I on the other hand, felt pretty good); so I kept on asking if he was OK, wanted to stop, or just hit some ground strokes to fill out the time. Nooooooooooooooo, he wanted to tough it out.
He lost the second set 6-2 and dragged himself off the court to go lay down in his air conditioned condo for the afternoon. Was it worth it? I don’t believe it was. Even tournament matches wouldn’t be worth putting your health at risk.
It reminds me of the story of the old bull and the young bull standing on top of a hill, looking down at a herd of cattle down below.
The young bull says, “What do you say we run down there and ‘service’ a few of those ladies?”
The old bull responds, “What do you say we WALK down there and service them ALL?!”