Saturday, July 7, 2012

Game, Set, Match

When I was growing up, we had one of the best youth group leaders of all time. Summer months with Alice were filled with bike hikes, camp-outs, swimming, and tennis.  Alice could really play, and thanks to her, I learned to play, too, which turned out to be a very good thing because my husband Steve comes from a tennis-playing family.  Steve's dad was an avid tennis player.  They had a tennis court in their backyard, and all the Wendell boys were on the high school tennis team (which their dad helped start).  I visited their house once during Wimbledon, and they actually had Breakfast at Wimbledon--bacon, eggs, melon, strawberries--the whole deal!  When we were first married, Steve and I played tennis together, but it ended up being kind of frustrating--I wasn't much competition for him, and no matter how well I played, he could always turn his game up another notch.  When we moved to New Hampshire, we met another young married couple who quickly became good friends and tennis opponents.  Playing doubles with Steve instead of singles against him was much better!  Then we had kids, and we didn't play much tennis for a long time except when Steve's family got together.  Our kids grew up riding scooters, shooting baskets, and playing tennis on Grandpa and Grandma's tennis court.  The boys took tennis lessons a couple of summers, and  Steve and I occasionally played doubles with the boys, while Em (the youngest) agreed to be the ball girl on her scooter.  Then the family home was sold, and the kids were busy with high school sports and activities, and it was several years before we all started playing together again.  Now we mix and match teams depending on who is home.  The team Steve is on usually wins, but the kids have gotten better and better, so the games are usually pretty competitive.  Although we play hard, it's not really about winning and losing for Steve and me--it's about spending with our kids and making memories.  The inside jokes and famous shots (both good and bad) have become part of our family story, and I feel sure that game Steve's dad handed down to his kids and grandkids will be passed along to another generation of Wendells.  In tennis a score of zero is called "love," and I've always wondered why.  Well, this week, in honor of Wimbledon and this blog entry, I looked it up.  There are several explanations, but the one I like best says it comes from a 17th century expression meaning "playing for love." Yep, that sounds about right.

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