Today, pickleball made me cry.
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Growing up my childhood was all about academics and tennis tennis tennis. My dad was a USTA coach and I trained so much I hated it. Sure he taught me beautiful form and technique, but I never learned how to have fun. Even though it’s been years since I’ve stopped competing, I can still hear the yelling anytime I step on a court and my ball hits the net or goes out.
Winning was winning. But losing wasn’t losing. It was failing. Failing my coach, my dad, my team, and myself.
I cold turkey stopped playing tennis after HS because mentally, it gave me too much anxiety. Plus physically, I couldn’t play like I used to anymore. I had badly injured my wrist my sophomore season. My career on the court was over.
But today, many many lifetimes later – something in me asked to try something new.
It asked to try pickleball. Same-ish concept as tennis but smaller racquet, smaller court, and lighter ball.
At first, I was getting so frustrated at my timing bc the ball was bouncing differently and I was literally missing the ball and swinging at air! I kept yelling at myself the same way my coaches used to.
Later that night, Sam asked if I wanted to play a game and my immediate response was “absolutely not because it will ruin our relationship.”
For the next 2 hrs we peeled the onion and man, there is a lot of trauma I need to work thru.
When Sam was asking me to play, he thought it would be a fun game.
But what I HEARD was he wanted to beat me. And if he beat me, it would mean me losing. And me losing, means me failing. And me failing means me being worthless. And worthless was how I felt anytime I lost a game.
Then he said something that brought me to tears. He said “You need to learn how to lose.”
When I heard that, I realized, omg. I had never been told it’s ok to fail. I’ve only ever been coached how to win, never how to lose…without losing my self worth. I started crying.
I’ll always be grateful for my dad and my tennis journey but today I need to begin undoing my past in order to move forward.