It was pretty much a guarantee that tennis was going to be part of my life, whether I liked it or not. My parents, and many of their friends, are tennis players. My baby announcement had a drawing of baby Kelly, crawling with a tennis racket in my hand (pictured at left).
I have played tennis on and off since I was around five years old. It has been both a major and a minor part of my life, depending on what particular chapter we are talking about. Today, I’m here to tell you why tennis is one of my main sources of happiness. And more important, why it can be one of yours, too! Even if you’ve never picked up a racket.
1. Exercise. This first one is a no brainer. Tennis is a great way to burn fat and calories. It’s a great overall body workout because it involves running, swinging, reaching, lunging, and pivoting. It improves muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. Playing singles can burn between 400-600 calories an hour. Note: To my tennis friends, I’m not sure our cocktail infused, costume wearing doubles matches actually qualify as “exercise,” but I digress . . . .
2. Competition. I’m a competitive person by nature. You know, like one those people who thinks everything in life is a competition. If you happen to share this same character trait, tennis is a great outlet for your competitiveness. There are adult leagues and tournaments year round. It’s much better (and oftentimes easier!) to win at tennis than to win an argument with your child or husband.
3. Cute outfits. Oh, the outfits! I could go on and on about this one. Tennis fashion has come a long way in the last 15 or so years, thanks to the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, and several others. No matter your budget or style, there are so many cute outfits out there and so many places to find them. The beauty of the “athleisure” trend these days is that most tennis outfits can go from court to errands or lunch with just the change of shoes and the addition of a jacket or pullover. Brilliant!
4. You get to hit something REALLY REALLY hard. When you’ve had a bad day or are going through a tough time, it just feels SO good to hit the “you know what” out of that yellow fuzzy ball. It’s such a great outlet for taking out your anger or frustration on something and no one gets hurt. A win/win!
5. You can play year round. So many sports are seasonal due to weather. Not tennis. Luckily, we have a lot of facilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex with indoor courts. Rain, shine, 100-or-20-degree weather, you can almost always find a tennis court.
6. It’s a lifelong sport. There are not many sports where you can start playing at age four and play well until your 80s. With tennis, you can. And whether you play growing up, and then stop and start again, like I did, or decide to pick up a racket for the first time later in life, there is never a wrong time to start playing tennis. My parents, my husband, and myself all have friends that we’ve played tennis with for 30+ years. We also know people who didn’t pick up a racket until their 30s or 40s.
7. Friendship (and love). I saved the best for last . . . I have met some of my absolute best friends (and my husband) through tennis. Whether they play tennis themselves, have dated or married tennis players, or just enjoy watching tennis, pretty much everyone in my life can be linked back to tennis somehow. We have our own little tennis tribe, and I absolutely love it. It’s definitely NOT the only thing we all talk about when we’re together, but at our very core, it’s one thing that bonds us all together.
So, are you ready to pick up a racket? While I can’t promise you that tennis will bring you true love and marriage like it has me, I think the above reasons are pretty compelling.
Interested but don’t know where to start? Luckily, there are many public facilities around the area, including Bayard Friedman Tennis Center at TCU, McLeland Tennis Center, Richland Tennis Center, Arlington Tennis Center, and Southlake Tennis Center.
If you are a member of a country club, I recommend checking out its programs.
Hope to see you on the courts soon!