Lawn Tennis. The turf of the greats like Rafael, Roger & Novak and of course Nduka Odizor of yesteryears. I love this game but unfortunately it hasn’t been one that I have excelled in. I have been getting on the Tennis Court since 2007 with mixed results. From VGC Club House, Ikoyi Club and a couple of Club courts here, I was hopeful, and rightly so, that I would become a force to reckon with in the game. It hasn’t been so.
Here, I have been a regular with the sport for upwards of two years. The irony had been that the more I played, the worse I became. Doubts, about my abilities started setting in. The body didn't make it easier as well. Plantar fascia, tennis elbow and cramps all wear the body down. I know I am not getting younger but seeing a 78 year old hitting the ball on the court, I became certain that my body is just being rebellious.
My racquet was a suspect but I quickly dismissed the idea. Isn’t it said that a bad workman quarrels with his tools? I could have jilted that antiquity that saw me through the hard courts of Ikoyi Club but took to work on my skills. My serving became worse, almost of no threat to even a beginner in the game. My returns did not fare better. Then fate seemed to get tired of laughing at me, it became bored with my performance and by happenstance allowed the grip on my racket to get damaged.
Instead of throwing this piece of shame away, I embraced it and was seeking out someone who could help with fixing a new grip. The cost? 30 quid! That marked the turning point as I reasoned that I could get a better deal. With a new racquet selling for a 100, it’s ludicrous to spend 30 just to get a new grip fixed. In my search for a replacement, I was able to get a Federer branded Wilson Racquet. It looked good and I stepped on the Tennis Court with a renewed vigour. It was mid-week and I was unbelievable on the courts. Everyone was amazed, dumbfounded at the sudden and steep transformation. I had gotten my mojo back.
As I left the courts that week, I drove back home with much joy. I gave some thought to what happened and was so angry with myself that I allowed a deplorable situation to continue for that long. I concluded that the saying that a bad workman quarrels with his tools maybe true but doesn’t imply that everyone that quarrels with his tools is a bad workman. It also dawned on me that no matter how skilled you are, if you are working with antiquated tools, you really can’t be productive. Consider someone, in this computer age, still insistent on typing letters using a manual typewriter, what an headache that’s got to be?
Lesson learnt, we need to constantly sharpen our tools. The shining tools of today become dull with use and passage of time.