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Sun, Dec. 08

Column: Staying busy with a passion for life
'My Point'

Everyone is so different, yet so alike in what they do in a day-month or years’ time. For some, almost every minute is full of things to do — rest is a thing that will happen when father time says, “goodbye.” Others take a bit more of each day to smell the roses, don’t pack so much in and have a knack for knowing how to relax.

If for some reason you’ve been given some sort of disability you have to find some way around it or come to terms that your body has given limitations to what you can or cannot do — probably much against your normal wishes, an unexpected or abnormal reality you’re born with or somehow acquired.

One way or another it’s your life and within reason you get to choose how you spend it around family, work, school, fun and spiritual obligations.

If you happen to live to the ripe old age of 83 you get 30,295 days to enjoy yourself. If you’ve surpassed that milestone, guess you’re kind of lucky and on borrowed time - make the most of it.

Better add in the fact that about 1/3 of each day is sleeping, but let’s not even go into all the ancillary things that will take up other portions of our life we can’t avoid.

What would make you want to spend a part of your free time playing the game of tennis?

Maybe your parents played — a favorite aunt or uncle, you lived near a tennis facility, you drove by courts and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves; you were introduced to it in school, or a boy or girlfriend asked you out to give it a try. It didn’t cost much, only took an hour or so to play, and you didn’t need more than one other person to agree to give it a shot.

The objective wasn’t too difficult — get the ball over the net and stay within the lines. One bounce. Three fairly basic strokes.

You were challenged, you laughed, concentrated, ran-skipped, zigzagged; hit it easy, medium and occasionally hard — tried to stay consistent (most of the time), placed it different locations when you could and did your best to make fair calls.

Players might include your parents, grand-parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, people you just met, strangers, even people from different countries that didn’t speak your language — the commonality was the game.

It was competitive, social, not killer athletic (but could be) — definitely skillful. You could play singles, doubles or mixed doubles. It was a cheap date, a great short workout. You could size someone up with how they reacted under pressure, how they treated their partners, made line-calls and acted at the outcome of each match.

On change-overs, before and after matches you got to know your opponent, now friend (hopefully) a little better each time you played and your tennis family slowly but surely became an over-flow of people of different races, financial/work backgrounds, ages and sexes.

The challenge of the game and the people playing it could enjoy staying at a simple level or push their talents to the limits.

You see on television the top players in the world, what it took them to get to that level, how they train — compete and interact. It’s a taxing game mentally and physically at the lower levels and at the top. The history is rich, so many outlets to enjoy, all around the world.

What was just a fun simple game is now your passion — and it becomes part of your 30,000 days or so to enjoy as a pastime for a decent chunk of your life maybe....and a pretty decent choice.

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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