Karl placed 2nd in Class C tennis doubles at sectionals. SECOND!
A great finish for my soccer-playing boy and his soccer-playing partner.
Last week, we had spent a sunshiny day on a Pennsylvania mountain for round one of sectionals. That was the day both Karl and I forgot sunscreen, but I had the luxury of sitting in the shade while he and his partner bobbed and weaved on a full sun court, easily winning all three matches. He was sun-burned, but moving on.
Sectional finals took place on indoor courts. He and Michael won their first match there less easily. Their opponents played in cargo shorts and won the first game. You can’t judge a tennis player by their shorts.
Karl and Michael won the match, though, and advanced to the championship.
Wow, I thought. Could he and Michael possibly be sectional champions?
The first serve by the kid in the backwards hat put a crack in that dream. Whoosh! I barely saw the ball.
Karl started laughing.
The server switched sides. Karl stepped forward, while Michael moved into position to receive the next serve. The dance of doubles tennis.
Whoosh! Michael just shook his head.
Karl was better prepared for the next serve. He changed where he stood and crouched in readiness.
Whoosh! The first serve hit the net. The second serve lobbed over for an easy return. After a few back-and-forths, the server got his racket on the ball and smashed it into a far corner.
Michael was ready for his next serve. When it came directly at him, he put up his racket defensively. The ball bounced back to the opponents’ side and they had a short volley which ended in a point for Karl and Michael.
One more serve at Karl. Once again he was crouched and ready. Once more the gold sphere flew.
I watched Karl as they changed sides of the net. He was smiling and laughing. Part of him was enjoying this crazy game of tennis where he ultimately lost the match 6-1, 6-1.
As I told my father about it the next day, he said, “It’s a good thing he can laugh about it.”
Yes, it was. I had watched other players angrily whack their rackets into the padded walls in frustration. I watched them scowl and get angry. I wondered if any of them knew who John McEnroe was — masterful at tennis, but also masterful at the tennis tantrum.
Last night Karl said, “Somebody at school asked me why we lost so badly. I told him that he hadn’t seen that kid’s serve. No matter where I stood, he got it past me.”
And Karl was still laughing about it.
Laughter is sometimes the closest thing we have to grace.
Thankful for my son.