I’m about to share something with the world that very few people actually know about me. It’s been mentioned in the past that I’m a tennis player, or at least at one point in my life I was, but yes it’s true. It’s gone so far as to have been a dream of mine as a child to be a professional tennis player. Unfortunately the circumstances surrounding what I wanted to make of myself was unrealistic and unsupported.
Was I a good tennis player, you ask? Absolutely I think I was, and without tooting my own horn, I really think that I established myself as a decent competitive player. I mean I was ranked, I played tournaments, I gave top ranked players huge runs for their money, and lost to players I shouldn’t have: essentially a wishy-washy junior career. There were defining moments of those times, and forgettable ones as well.
What held me back? Well there was a plethora of reasons: financial support, emotional support, training support, moral support, and most importantly training support. When I think about it, I often get really upset as tennis isn’t just a love in my life, it’s a passion that’s just been pushed aside for many years.
When I went away to university, I lost the opportunity to play and train to my fullest. At the same time, I also had a falling out with the club that I was playing at, in my then current home. As I stated, it all boiled down to support (or lack thereof). My coach always held me back and never treated me the same as everyone else in the competitive group. I was of a different cloth, a different style, and thus I figure he never really knew how to coach me, and treat me in a way that was different from my ‘colleagues.’
All of that compounded with the fact that I had to travel to tournaments, the majority of time myself. As a teenager chasing after a dream all of those things playing against you, it’s just time that adds against you and eventually becomes your demise.
All I can say is that I could only carry myself all by myself for so long, and it fizzled of course. The culmination of my junior competitive career occurred at my home club, on centre court against a player that I should have beaten . The years of lack of support and encouragement got to me, and as the match progressed I could feel more and more that it was ending and that it was over. I had aged too much to be eligible for another tournament, and during the last 12 points of the match I was basically in hysterics crying more than I’d ever cried in my entire life.
It was only compounded by the fact that there was approximately 100 people present, none of which acknowledged my existence. I congratulated my vanquisher, and quite honestly I think he was the only person to ever notice my obvious pain, and even comment on how polite and nice I was, for a loser. I left the club in tears, not to touch a tennis racquet for months. It was only a little time after that, that I was able to face my tennis bag again and get onto the court, and it was at that point that the club I was at started making it even more emotionally painful to attend.
That’s only the surface of the whole story, but it pretty much sums it up. So what’s the moral: if you know someone that is pursuing their passion, support them in any way that you can, in whichever fashion, on whatever level, and as soon as humanly possible. You have no idea how many people’s hearts can be broken by inaction.