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Tennis Blog: The Perfect Shot

April 28, 2015 02:30 PM

The Perfect Shot
By Alpena Joe

It was deep into the ninth game of the set and I was tired of losing.  My mantra for the match was- “second place is just the first looser”.   The guy across the net was despairingly accurate with his cross court forehand.   His backhand was weaker, but it was still something to brag about.  As the set progressed, I searched for a weakness, and decided if he had one, it was beyond me.  Where’s the justice?  Being left-handed, I specialize in the “lefty spin”, which I was hitting with abandon at the moment.  My game is always a heartbeat away from morphing into junk tennis.  Whatever it takes, you know?  

I slammed a cross court shot, deep to his backhand, with obvious top spin.  Somewhere the Tennis Angels wept at the beauty of that shot.  Yikes.  He returned my shot, short, to the duce side.  I bolted to the ball, obviously caught off guard deep in the orange zone.  I was inches away, when I suddenly realized something was dreadfully wrong.  What is this?  “Righty spin”?  Is that possible?   I replanted my right foot further down the side of the court, struggled to regain my balance, and swung my backhand with authority.  I felt the mantle of greatness.  My shot was a light year beyond awesome.  I looked around for the CNN cameras, confident my mug would be on Headline News by ll:00 pm.  As I walked back to the base line to serve, I felt more than a twinge in my right knee.

Seven weeks later, after knee surgery, I found myself in the men’s dressing room putting on my warrior’s garments (read that T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes).  I was meditating on the meaning of life- when was my racquet last restrung?   Tennis brings out the intellectual side of my personality.  I walked onto Court #5 for an hour of hitting with one of my buddies.   Would my forehand be there?  How was the “lefty spin”?   Was the backhand still in my arsenal?  The ball came over the net and I stepped into it, leaned forward and swing low to high.  My shot was perfect; deep to his backhand, with lots of lefty topspin.  Hum, there is life after surgery.  The Tennis Gods smiled, knowing that I had returned to Mecca.