Guest post by the Daddy!
After working in the garage for the better part of the afternoon on Saturday, I decided it was time to do something fun with the kids. But what? I glanced over at the box of tennis racquets and balls that the US Tennis Association’s (USTA) Jr. Tennis program had generously sent us and thought to myself, “Why not? It’s something that even the little ones can enjoy.” I figured that since tennis courts are always enclosed, it’d be relatively easy to keep track of the little monkeys.
So I pulled the racquets out of the box and handed one to each of the jumping children screaming for a colorful new toy. After Ethan packed some snacks, all six kids and I jumped into the Yukon and we headed to Lincoln High School’s tennis courts.
As it turns out, I was right about that the little ones would have fun, but didn’t anticipate how much fun baby Noah would have. The little tyrant had a blast throwing the tennis balls at his siblings and running onto other players’ courts. Separately, I had to send Julia, Ethan and Zach to retrieve him on several occasions.
Consequently, I don’t recommend taking real young little ones to play tennis, but the older ones starting at age three really seem to enjoy the sport. It gives them a chance at accomplishment.
To be sure, there were some frustrating moments, but when Josh connected with the ball and sent it over the net, the smile on his face and the boost to his confidence were unmistakable and priceless. The same is true of Julia – she picked it up pretty quickly, and learned that you don’t fight over a loose ball or else you might get tripped and end up with a bruised eye.
When it comes to the twins, let’s just say I won’t be surprised to see them in the winner’s circle someday at Roland Garros. Sure, Ethan kept blasting it over my head, but he was having fun and eventually he did get it down and in play. He, Zach and I had a few good rallies before the sun set and we had to pack it up.
Turns out we all learned something that we could take home with us:
Julia learned that if you find a tennis ball, you can keep it. Ethan learned that hitting the ball over the fence gets tiring because you have to go get it, and dad won’t let you climb the giant green wall. Zach learned that serving backhand isn’t too effective. Josh learned that hitting the ball over the net brings real satisfaction. Ben learned that if you stand super close to the net, it’s easier to hit it over. And Noah found out that Nerf tennis balls are pretty tasty.
As for me, I learned that it’s not how you’re playing, but the fact that you’re spending time with your children.
Not too bad for only 90 minutes.
By the way, tonight the USTA is holding their first ever national day of youth registration for Jr. Team Tennis and other local tennis activities. If you’re in Sacramento, it’s in Citrus Heights at the Sunrise Recreation Park. But if not, there are nearly 650 other signup events happening around the country. You can check them out here.
Guest post by the Daddy!