Article #27 Family #5
MY TENNIS “FAMILY”
We have been developing the idea of family being more than genetics and blood lines. Over the years of Elaine and I serving as soul guides we have solidly embraced a broadening of the traditional thinking on family. This article is written as another personal practical and emotional example of family. We are writing this in early July. The television screens in the venue broadcast the international major tennis tournament, Wimbledon from England. We were in Boise Idaho representing Colorado in a tennis tournament to determine if our team would qualify for the national United States Tennis Association, USTA championships for amateurs.
Back in January a small group met at a tennis facility to form a team to enter in the local USTA tennis leagues. This small group is part of a larger, over 100 members group of tennis players. The leaders of our little team used an unusual set of criteria to choose players for their team. Rather than recruiting the “best”, most talented players, of which there are a large number, they selected twelve people who are the “nicest” to be around who can also swing a racket. I was honored to be selected for this team. I play tennis regularly as a part of my fitness routine. It is purely recreational. I did not know most of the other players on our team back in January. This USTA early season is the 18+ which means anyone 18 years or older can participate. It turns out everyone in this “nice” group is middle age. Some of us are way north of middle age. Virtually every other team fielded players almost half our age. We swept through the regular season undefeated. It was a hoot! Stepping on the courts against much younger players and then beating the pants off of them was incredibly gratifying. We went to the state tournament as the number one seed and ended up winning 11 of 12 matches to qualify to represent all of Colorado at the tournament held in Boise. We booked flights, stayed in the local hotels, carpooled, ate together, and just hung out while swinging tennis rackets. Just plain fun!
This small group of twelve tennis players feel like family to me. The handshakes in January became high fives in March progressing to full on hugs at the state tournament. These people who were certainly nice to begin with became something more for me. We experienced the thrill of victory week after week but there was something deeper going on. We meshed together building relationships going far beyond just tennis. It was heartfelt to celebrate with my teammates as we played together. These days I embrace family wherever I experience it. I find it helps me combat the trends within our society and our culture. I have come to care for and about these people.
The registration for the next round of USTA tennis leagues to be played in the summer and fall occurred. The team looked at one another with a wink and a thumbs up stating let’s stay together. Our team is now eighteen deep using the same “nice” criteria. I believe that nice is attracted to nice. Tennis is about fitness and fun and, to use a spiritual term, fellowship. Our tennis family is growing both in number and in depth. It feels like family to me and I love it. And I have come to love being with them, mixing life and tennis. They are a gift pure and simple.
Now look into your life, into your Soul Roadmap. Do you see “family” like this? Can you see yourself as a connected member of a larger you in family? Our encouragement is to imagine it, pray for it, see it form as an opportunity, and then move toward what surfaces……whether it be tennis or crafting or a racing car club. The idea and necessity of “family” is increasing by the day. As our culture becomes more and more isolated we become more and more distressed and perhaps even diseased. The antidote to our current culture drift might very well become family more broadly defined than genetics and blood lines.