a gathering place for the words, images and momentos of the world of adventures i've adventured, the stories i've wandered through. curriculum bella vita...a resume, of sorts, of the good life.

Friday, June 4, 2010

game set match

One year ago, I learned how to play tennis. In some ways, it's just another sport, but I've take to the game. Maybe not as a way of life, perhaps, but certainly something more interesting than just a passing hobby.

Mallory taught the game to me from scratch last summer at the ripe ole age of 28, approximately 27 years after a Madden would learn the sport. She beat me repeatedly, as you'd expect a former high school number one single to do. But every once in a while I took pride in taking her to Deuce or even stealing a game. I got so good at losing with grace that my first victory -- Mallory and I wore her parents out -- came as a surprise.

This year, Hyderabadi Andrew is my most frequent cross-court opponent. He claims some genetic proclivity to tennis, so he regularly beats me, too, but i'm getting way more competitive. Seems like half our games go to Deuce, sometimes repeatedly.

In commemoration of a year of tennis, here's a statistical analysis of my performance:

2009 (approximately 4 months of game play)

11 "matches"
19 sets (2 wins, 17 loses)
46-107 game score

2010 (approximately 2 months of game play so far, 5 months remaining)

9 "matches"
19 sets (2 wins, 17 loses)
47-107 game score

So I know what you're saying. "Jeremy," as you roll your eyes,"that's not very impressive improvement. You've improved your game win percentage from 30.07% to 30.52% over the course of a year. That's not even half-a-percentage better. Did you, in fact, get an better?"

Three impressive statistics, though, lay buried in the numbers, as I suppose all good statistics do:

A. Stamina. I play more sets per match this go-round. Last year's "matches" averaged 1.73 sets. This year, I average 2.11 sets before going home. That's a 22% increase in the length of play once I step on a court.

B. Gettin'-on-the-Board. In 2009, I was shut-out 4 times. That's right, Mallory held me without a game in 4 of our sets. This year, though? Andrew's managed the feat only once.

C. Frequency. Last year, I played tennis approximately 2.75 times per month. This year, though, I'm averaging 4.5 - almost double the old rate of play!

But the tennis lessons aren't limited to on-the-court. Some nuggets of tennis wisdom are applicable in the world at large. Among them, a tennis adage I learned playing a random Spanish-only speaking gentleman (probably Nadal's cousin) in Fond du Lac last fall: Broke at love...a bad way to go in tennis and life.

1 comment:

Mallory said...

I love this! And that I got credit for teaching you the game. Looking back on it, I'm not sure that I was the best teacher, but it looks like you are managing just fine.