We joined a tennis club. I can barely stand on two feet these days–I literally fell off my shoes after my concert last Tuesday. So I can hardly walk like a proper grown-up, let alone play tennis, yet tonight I found myself at New Member night at “our” club. My life is just chock full o’ twists like that. I reeked of imposter as my big kid and I entered for the first time as members. Really? I’m the kind of person who would be lurking out back by the dumpsters, attempting to catch even the most distant glimpse of how the other side lives. I’m not on the other side.
My friend Jane is super smart and kind. She has perhaps an even more wry/dry/sly sense of humor than I do, and outside of my inner circle of fans of my band, she is one of few who understand the celebrity boyfriend phenomenon. That alone is reason to want to hang out with her all the time, but really that’s just icing on the cake. And you know I DO love my frosting. Anyway, Jane. She DOES play tennis, and so do her husband and her two sons. At the club. Last summer she invited the boys and me to an afternoon swim, and began her pitch for us to join the club too.
For all the right wrong reasons, I wanted in. OK, really the reasons are two: 1) Jane. Hanging out with her and her family more often, and 2) The Big Reason. My big kid could swim all summer long without having to take a swim test, which he would never pass. Our community system of public pools requires that each kid each day pass a swim test, granting them access to the deep end. My kid can’t swim like they require him to (MD, ya know), so any trip to the pool ended in frustration (his) and tears (mine). No kid who stands 6′ tall wants to dally in the shallows when all the cool kids are in the deep end.
My husband–the one who actually plays tennis–rebuffed my efforts to prod him (us) into joining. It’s expensive. We’re broke. True and true. My husband–the one who has never paid a bill in the course of our marriage–was worried about the cost. Legit, but I was all like, “Now you’re paying attention?” When I calculated the approximate cost of a single baseball bat we purchase for the small one, a season of family fun allowing the big one a chance to find a happy place paled. It felt like a sound investment to me, but Tom still wasn’t on board. Jane and her husband have mad persuasion skills, and somehow convinced my hubby to join. I wasn’t there, but skills, y’all. Next thing I know, I’m completing application packets, writing big checks, and boom! I’m told my husband is signing me up for social tennis (??). I was led to believe it was mostly about day drinking, so I was all “IN!” And soon I’ll be playing social tennis. Which apparently is a thing.
So the six-footer and I go to the new member night tonight. We received our membership cards, and were met near the entrance for a tour. We had a very nice chat with one of the board members and his wife. We explained that half our family was at a baseball game, so couldn’t make the opening reception. They asked my big kid if he was into baseball or tennis (a perfectly logical question, no?). He replied that, no, he wasn’t, that he was really there for the swimming. They continued to talk with him, talking up tennis lessons, and maybe he could take lessons there? Again, he denied athletic inclination, saying, “I’m really not a sports guy.”
He’s looking over at the pool, and asks, “Do you need to take a swim test every day here?” I’m sure to them it seemed an odd inquiry, but I knew precisely where he was going with it. “Because I have MD, that’s muscular dystrophy, and it’s hard for me to pass a swim test.”
You could have knocked me over with the straw that broke the camel’s back. Wait, what? It was the first I’d ever heard him introduce and talk about it in the real world.
They told my kid that at one time, kids had to swim a length of the pool in order to gain access to the diving well, but they weren’t sure that rule was still in place. The relief on his face was enormous. After but a few minutes of acquaintance, this woman said to him, and really to me, something like, “I’m sure your mom will be here to make sure you’re never in a place she feels you’d be unsafe. My son’s a lifeguard here, and all the lifeguards here are great and will keep an eye on you too.”
Hugging a total stranger felt inappropriate, so instead I thanked her, and thanked my lucky stars it was sunny. Ray-Bans to the rescue, because there’s no crying in tennis. You know what? Yeah, there is.
The pool opens tomorrow, and a certain thirteen-year-old wants to swim. According to my WTF app (What The Forecast), it’s looking like mid-50s/low 60s weather for opening day. And did you catch the Pig Latin?? This is my kind of smarty-pants app! Swimming tomorrow feels like a no, kid, but I’ll get you there. Soon and often. That’s a promise.