This is a qualifying year for the National Senior Games (Olympics), which will be held in Cleveland next July. So, having missed the NH state tryouts earlier this summer, a friend suggested that we go to Portland, Maine to qualify in the 70s doubles (by actually playing in the 65s, because I won’t turn 70 till next year).
My partner withdrew, so I just played singles. As I was warned by others, the participation at the state level in tennis is very minimal … And there was just me and a local player, Paul Hawkes in the 65s.
He is a nice 4.0 player, who I should have beaten 2 and 1. And here are all my “excuses” why I didn’t …
• After playing all year on Hartru and outdoors, this was hard court and indoors,
• The indoor lighting was very difficult for me to see … The lights were bright and the ball would get lost in them,
• He was tall and a lefty, and put good spin on the ball,
• And most importantly, I had not played a singles tournament since last February … And it showed!
For all those reasons, it was a close match at 3-3 in the first set … And I finally got my feet under me and played a little better (not much!) and won 8 of the next 9 games for a 6-3, 6-2 “Gold Medal” victory.
The lesson? Playing and being “tournament tough” is not just words, it is real. Practice is great. Playing friendly matches is good. But playing tournaments really gets the adrenalin and nerves going. There is nothing like it!
If you are unfamiliar with the Senior Games, click HERE. Check your state to see if they have already held theirs (in many different events). I believe Florida holds theirs in December; but it appears you would have had to come through a local event first.