A few years ago I bought myself a pink tennis racket at Target.
It said Wimbledon on the side so I thought it had to be good. On the other side it said “Sharapova.” Now I don’t know a lot about professional tennis players, but I think I’ve heard her name before. So the racket, I assumed, was probably really good. You know, because it had a professional endorsement and all.
Then this past summer Bill gave me a cute pink tennis outfit for my birthday. I was finally ready to begin lessons. Because I was going to look cute on the courts.
For years I had seen all the “tennis moms” walk into our elementary school. Totally cute outfits. Even the not so cute outfits still looked way more comfortable than the jeans I was wearing.
The way I figured it, even if I didn’t love tennis I could keep the outfits. You know,wear them around to “fit in” with the tennis crowd and all.
And I loved that an outfit and a visor was all you needed. No jewelery, make up totally optional, comfortable shoes. It all sounded good to me.
So I showed up last fall for my first lesson with my instructor. I had taken a semester of tennis in college so I thought I might be a little ahead of the beginners, but let me assure you I was NOT.
And in my very beginner class, I liked my outfit the best. Because it was pink. And with my matching racket, well, I thought I was the bomb.
I was even getting compliments on my cute racket.
That is … until the instructor laughed at it.
She (seriously) asked if it was a kids racket. When I told her “no” she asked to see it and reported that the strings were not “real” strings. I’m not sure how “real” strings are defined, but I didn’t care…the racket matched my outfit and so it had to work.
My instructor went to her car and, for the last 8 months, I’ve been using her spare. I show up every week with the cute pink one and every week she hands me a “better” one. “Better” also means more expensive which is why I haven’t gotten one yet. That and I’m not sure if the “better” ones come in pink.
She gives me a white one - so it doesn’t clash - but it’s definitely not as fun to carry. Doesn’t look as cute either, in my opinion.
But I have to admit…I can hit a lot harder and better with her racket. So one of these days I’m planning on getting what she calls an “adult” racket. Like maybe for my 42nd birthday.
But from week one, my “coach” has been talking about muscle memory. She says that we have to keep doing things over and over and eventually our muscles will know exactly what to do. Exactly where to go to hit the ball, follow through, etc. In fact, “muscle memory” is one of her favorite expressions.
I don’t think my muscles have memorized anything yet though.
I am having a good time. White “adult” racket and all. And I purposely wear my tennis outfit the entire day…you know, just because I like it so much.
But here’s the thing….muscle memory is not just for my tennis muscles. And this is why I know this to be true. Because Friday morning….while I was lacing my “white with pink trim” tennis shoes, I had the opportunity to practice muscle memory in a different area of my life.
This time by not freaking when a detail I thought was in place fell through. But instead, I got a phone call and freaked. I found out something was different than I thought it was going to be, different than I wanted to be….and I freaked.
EVEN THOUGH I could have tried any number of other responses first. Like for starters, praying about it. I also could also have assumed the attitude of …“whatever will be will be” or “no worries, be happy.”
But instead, I freaked. Got mad. Thought it was going to ruin an upcoming event. Basically things just weren’t working out like I had planned or how I thought they would. And I didn’t like it.
And then you know what happened?
It worked out. Worked out just fine. Bill made a few phone calls and got it all straightened out.
But not before I freaked.
And I feel badly about that because I wish I had better muscle memory.
I wish that I hadn’t freaked.
I wish I had just waited to see how the whole thing worked out. And I wish that my memory would have been clearer and reminded me that often things work out just fine.
And if they don’t, well, it’s not the end of the world.
So all that to say….I need to work on muscle memory both on and off the court.
And I’ll probably be wearing pink when I’m doing it.