A few of you have asked whether I did in the end challenge my two teenage sons to a tennis match before I started chemo. That was after I’d written a post (Tennis I) way back in the summer saying they hadn’t yet beaten me. Should I leave well alone or risk defeat, I wondered.
Well I had a knock-about with the older lad before that first chemo session back on 19 August. We played and chatted for around half an hour then he suggested we play a “friendly tie break”. He won 7-5. Now does that count as beating me in an official sense? I’ll leave it to you to decide.
I genuinely thought I’d be hanging up my tennis racket as soon as I started chemo. I really can’t put into words how delighted – not to mention astonished – I am to have been able to keep playing throughout. I pulled out of the ladies doubles team I was in and out of the club leagues, but I have played a fair amount.
Every time I got out there on the court was a bonus. I surprised myself when I won – although that hasn’t happened for a good while now – but in all honesty I was happy just to be playing. I no longer run for balls that a few months ago I’d have got to no problem and my lovely doubles partner has had to get used to losing not just some but all of the time. I still love it though.
And what a massive treat to get a session through our tennis club at one of the indoor practice courts at Wimbledon one evening last week! My older son (yes, he’s the one in the photo), my doubles partner and another friend from the ladies team I was in and I turned up a little early… to find Davis Cup TV commentators Andrew Castle and Jamie Baker playing on the court we would play on ten minutes later! And yes, we were told to wear “whites”.
So a million thanks to the lovely young man my son is turning out to be and to the fabulous women who’ve made time to play over the past four months. I’ve got two matches planned for this coming week, the final one for Friday, the day before my operation. You’ve got to really, haven’t you, especially when you have no idea when you might play again.