Becoming a Singles Player

I am Moses and the tennis court is my promise land. The sky was clear. I marched toward the bright green courts with two rackets strapped to my back. I was a proud solider heading into battle with my quiver of precious arrows. Tennis was my game and I rarely lost. Little did I know that I'd face an actual battle that day -- and not one that involved tennis. The practice began like any other. First serving followed by groundstroke drills and volley practice. I have always loved the sound of my tennis strings hitting the ball time and time again. I equate it to Niccolo Paganini playing three strings at once on the violin. Different strings, same concept. What a beautiful melody. Halfway through my practice, I heard another faint noise in the distance. It was the sound of a cellphone interrupting the drill. I usually silence my phone before practice but for some reason, I did not that day. I rushed over to my backpack and managed to answer immediately before the sound stopped. It was my mom who never calls me during practice. She knows better. As soon as I picked up, I knew I shouldn't have. She sounded as if she was at her break point. In tennis, a breakpoint is a good thing. On that day, it was a horrible thing. “It's not my fault your dad is leaving us,” she explained. “He cheated and is in love with a younger woman. I'm so sorry but I felt like you have the right to know.” Her voice faded. In those moments, I couldn't wrap my head around the thought of my dad leaving. He was my doubles partner; not just in tennis but in life. My dad was there when I held my first racket. He cheered me on during all my matches, fixed my broken strings, and reminded me of how talented I was. Suddenly, the battleground started sharking. I realized I was losing. How could another woman have an advantage over me? *** That phone call changed everything. I decided to hang up my rackets. My coaches called, but I just wanted to hear your voice. I wanted to tell you that it was you and my mom against each other, but I was the one who lost. You crossed the line. I feel cheated by you, my favorite teammate. *** Several weeks after that phone call, I was navigating through the television channels, depressed and alone. I landed on the sports network and it just so happened that the U.S. Open was on. I had completely forgotten. Suddenly, it hit me, and I started weeping. Why would I give up my passion and the only thing that reminded me of the old you? The better you. The you that was there when I held my first racket. The you that cheered me on during all my matches, fixed my broken strings and reminded me of how talented I was. At that moment, I became a singles player. I hope you will one day rejoin the sidelines. I am Moses and the tennis court is my promise land.

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