After 50 days of tergiversating, I hit a ball against a wall today, as I have done from time immemorial, whether on Claremont Avenue, in the Basque country, or in the good old U.S. of A. The wall beat me. But it was close.
For someone in his eighth decade, it’s not good to be inactive for too long. You get on the treadmill and you stay on it until, as is the way of the world, you’re thrown off. My neighbor, who has very nice strokes, told me that I should give it a try. But would I be cited, I wondered. Golfers can golf, and have been able to for most of the past two agonizing months, but tennis players, unless they have private courts, have been waiting around wondering if they’ll ever be able to play again.
I went to the high school’s courts. Chained, as I had thought. I should have brought a 5-iron and hit away on the fields, but I’m not a golfer. What is it that’s so dangerous about tennis? Play with gloves, if you think it’s warranted, play with masks. Don’t get in each other’s faces, as we sometimes used to do in heated doubles matches. Play singles then.
Anyway, it was nice to be able to be out in the fresh air hitting something. A young guy — I thought I knew him — came by after I’d been there a while. I motioned him over. I’d been there, I told him, for a half-hour, and was about to keel over. He was welcome. He said to go ahead, that he’d absent himself for a while. I hit a bit longer and then Mary came, and none too soon. I was sweating for the first time in two months. In parting, I asked rhetorically why golfers were being permitted to swing away while tennis players were not. From his nod I took it that he agreed.
Surely, this lightly hit area — lightly hit thus far vis-a-vis the rest of Suffolk, can stand to open up a bit more. People need to get back to work in some fashion and need to resume to some extent life as they knew it, and, if they are tennis players, need to be able to hit a ball, rather than their head, against a wall.