Yesterday we played “Dink”, one of Laura’s many Fun Tennis Drills with Stupid Names. The point of Dink is to practice hitting the ball softly, but at such an angle that your opponents will not be able to get to it. Unless they’re under 30. Or Olympic sprinters. Or both. You’re basically just “dinking” it over the net. It’s a quiet shot; a soft-touch. When any of us actually dink in a game, we call it The Mature Shot.
My love for The Mature Shot is both counterintuitive and uncharacteristic. I revel in writing about Penis Cookies. How mature is that?
Once you master these gentle shots, you can win a lot of points with them. But they’re hard to execute, because, as far as I can tell, most of us are on the court for one reason only, and that is to hit that tennis ball as hard as humanly possible.
It takes an inordinate amount of restraint to dink. The ball is coming at you over the net and you are right there, ready for it, anticipating it’s arrival, and then somehow something wise and grownup kicks in. Although you crave it with every cell of your being, you choose not to smash the ball back where it came from. You choose not to say to this ball: Take that, you eye-rolling teenager. Take that, you willful toddler. Take that, you husband who will never load the dishwasher properly. Take that, you parent who is old and needy and can’t figure out where you put your bank statements. You are choosing not to say: Take that, you stupid ex-President who took a perfectly good country and systematically ruined it for all 306 million of us. Take that, you Ponzi schemers and fallen role models and greedy bank-running bastards. Take that, you childhood leukemia, you Stage IV cancers, you car accidents and plane crashes and epidemics and natural disasters. Take that you pessimists and naysayers and general inconsiderates -- every last one of you that is ready to quash the enthusiasm or spirit of your brothers or sisters.
You are not whacking that ball hard and fast and mightily and shouting: Take that you prolapsed bladder, you depleting estrogen levels, you AARP mailings. Take that, you short term memory that is deteriorating too fast, or maybe not fast enough.
Instead you are simply and quietly saying, “Dink. I win that point.”
When you watch someone dink, it’s like you want to just stop and bow to her. Not because of the skill or talent it takes to pull off a shot like that. But because you know what she’s had to let go.