On match day, SUV’s packed with rackets, bags, drinks and fierce competitors buzz with excitement as they head towards the opponents’ tennis courts. Snippets about strategy float through the air as you and your team plan your match in hopes that it goes your way. Ladies team tennis unites women of all ages and backgrounds with one common thread-the love of competitive tennis. Let’s be honest, if it were just for fun there would be no score cards. I have always said that if I have a loss, especially one where I feel like I beat myself, I am able to get over it by the time I get to our lunch location where I can commiserate with my teammates.
The definition of a team when it pertains to sport is a number of persons uniting on one side in a game or competition. In order for a team to be united there must be some sort of interactions aside from the ones on the court. Most women that I know play not only for competitive tennis but to make new friends. They spend time together sharing their on-court experiences and stories. I have developed some lifelong friendships with ladies I met playing tennis when we first came to be a team. As it turns out, we discovered that we had a lot of commonalities such as neighborhoods, kids and other hobbies. The one thing we all did was LUNCH, after our matches and even sometimes after our team clinic. Players who chose not to participate in after match lunch are really missing out on much of the true team spirit. I use to tell my teammates that on the few occasions that I had to miss lunch I would love to be on speaker phone so I could get to hear my teammates give the animated version of their match. After tennis, amidst all the fun and laughter it is hard to imagine why you would want to be anywhere else. Juggling careers, spouses, pets and children, can make it difficult to set aside 4 hours for match day and lunch simply is not an option at times. This can make for a lonely drive home but we do what we can, when we can.
Playing tennis is a tiny part of league experience when you consider the wealth of lifelong tennis friends made along the way. In times of need, you can always rely on your tennis team for love, support and advice. Tennis and lunch both serve very different but important purposes in league tennis. Competing challenges players to work hard both mentally and physically, and dining with the team afterwards provides appreciation for the effort. Many corporations are encouraging their employees to take lunch breaks together and even offer more time as they feel it offers team building. Every team for the most part has a captain, a co-captain and sometimes a treasurer to handle dues. If your team is not part of the lunch group, volunteer to be the event coordinator. If your team is in the habit of heading out right after their match and in some cases not even staying to cheer on their teammates, you may be met with resistance. Keep working on it and remember it only takes two people to make conversation and eventually you will find the rest will follow. Notice when lunch is added to the schedule how much more united your team will become. All of the sudden the team that never spoke about things outside of tennis is sharing stories, offering support, joking with one another and the best part is, lots of laughter and heading home with a big smile. Bon Appḕtit