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Wed, Nov. 20

Column: Here's your Bucket List before playing your 'last match'

Life is short and no one knows when your special day is going to take place. If you're reading this column, you're probably a tennis player to some degree or other and may or may not have experienced almost everything that tennis has to offer. The following list of items are tennis related; things that you want to check off your list before you go to the big court in the sky.

• Find and express yourself to a tennis player you've always admired - it'll make their day.

• Throw your own tennis party and tournament. Invite seven other players, hold a round robin event, and then surprise them at the awards banquet with trophies that all say "1st Place - Champion," no matter how well they did.

• Buy yourself the racquet you've always wanted but never did. Hang all your old weapons on what you'll call the "feel good" wall to view in your home each day as a reminder of great times had.

• On a rainy day, write down all the wonderful tennis memories you can recall since you began the game.

• Quit complaining about how you'd like to see things done with tennis in your community and get on a committee. Or, better yet, form one of your own.

• Take a lesson on the part of your game that stinks. It's time to take more control of your time on the court in a manner that will make you better and happier.

• Adopt or mentor a new tennis player or friend and help bring them along to learn and enjoy the game of a lifetime.

• Forget percentage tennis on occasion and go for an ace on a second serve, or blast a crazy shot for a potential winner. Laugh and enjoy the moment, good or most likely not so good.

• Plan a trip to one of the Slam events, Indian Wells, or a fun tennis retreat away from home.

• Help repair, clean up, or donate money to bring a tennis court back to life in your community.

• Get rid of all the ugly and outdated tennis clothes you own and probably still wear.

• Try to meet a touring professional you've always looked up to through Facebook, email, letter, phone call, etc. Tell them why you like them and see if you can get a response.

• The next time you get upset during a match, instead of keeping your thoughts to yourself, scream, shout, cuss a little, break a racquet, or hit a ball as far as you can launch it. Then laugh and see if you then feel better. (Don't get too used to doing this and only around friends.)

• Change your tennis personality. From passive to aggressive. Quiet to loud. Pouty to happy. Just different from whatever is normal.

• Take a day off work to go play tennis, work on your game, or just hang at home and watch the Tennis Channel.

• Call an in-shot out, or an out-shot in, just to get a reaction. Stand by your call knowing your were wrong and see how it goes with your opponents.

• Try to hit a ball back over the net from between your legs when you get the opportunity.

• Wear an outfit you'd normally never be caught in and act like you really like it. See what your friends have to say and make notes.

• Play in a tennis league or tournament that's out of your comfort zone.

• See if you can get in the best tennis shape of your life, physically, mentally and game-wise.

• Talk to a stranger like you used to be on the tour and see how far you can take it. Walk away and don't tell them none of it was true.

Tennis can really be a lot of fun, so make the most of it before your time is up.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or

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