“You’re late, Jess, you’re late!”
This is one of the six sentences that my tennis instructor yells at me over and over again. He’s not talking about what time I show up for my lesson. He’s talking about my not taking my racquet back early enough. Which apparently I never do, time and time again.
Here’s another sentence:
“C’mon, get there, Get There, GET THERE!”
I never seem to be in the right place at the right time. I like to think this is only true for tennis, but I’m not so sure.
My tennis instructor thinks I’m lazy. I know this to be true because here’s another sentence: “Stop being lazy, Jess! Get to the ball!”
I have tried so mightily to explain to him that what I actually have is a perception problem. I would happily be where I’m supposed to be if I had any clear idea of where exactly that was. I argue this point with him vehemently. “I’m not lazy! I just can’t judge where the ball is going to be.”
I hate when people think I’m lazy. Probably because I really kinda am.
Sometimes I feel like I’m mentally defective. He feeds me a ball, calls out that it’s short, tells me to come to it and still I’m standing at the baseline not moving, or not moving fast enough, because, hello, that’s quite a lot of information for me to process all at once.
Once in a while he’ll feed me a shot that’s really hard to get. And I’ll get it! At those times I like to mention to him that I just hit a good shot. That’s when I get this sentence:
“You were lucky, Jess. I don’t want you to be lucky. I want you to be consistent.”
Lucky isn’t ok? I love being lucky.
Other times I’ll hit a ball that makes us both cringe. “That worked. But it was ugly.”
More often than not, there will be a moment during my lesson where I’ll think, “Why am I doing this? Why am I trying to learn a game that I cannot possibly think fast enough to play? And why am I paying someone to talk to me this way?”
It’s like therapy. Humbling, relentless, arduous work with a few peak moments thrown in for good measure. Like therapy, I can’t stop.