I had a great day yesterday. One of my middle school coteachers, Mr. Hwang, invited me to play tennis with a group of teachers. They play for two hours every Wednesday. I took some advice from orientation (say “yes” to everything) and agreed to join.
I was worried at first because a few of the teachers told me that they think I look like a great tennis player. This was a bit confusing because my wide hips and heavy build don’t exactly scream “tennis pro.” I spent Monday and Tuesday trying to convince them that I am not a good tennis player. The last thing I needed was to shatter their expectations by being rusty.
After school, Mr. Hwang and I went to the courts to meet up with the group. I was delighted to learn that there are tennis courts near my apartment. I have no idea how to go about reserving them, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. We joined ten other teachers on three brown-clay courts. I loved the surface because it was a bit finer than the green clay on which I am accustomed to playing.
I spent a long time warming up, making sure I wouldn’t accidentally hit any grand-slams while playing doubles. Once I felt like my forehand was under control, we started a game. Everyone, including me, was surprised by my serve. I opened my first serving game with back-to-back aces.
My serves were less than consistent after the first two points, but it didn’t matter, because they had all decided that I was a solid player. It’s true that first impressions are very important in Korea. Nobody seemed to notice that I hit half of my forehands long and double-faulted like it was my job for the rest of the game.
Another interesting thing that I noticed while we played tennis was that the men followed the rules carefully, even though it was a pick-up game among friends. The server bows to the receiving side at the beginning of every game. I got in trouble a few times for keeping more than two balls on my person at a time (two in my pocket at one in my hand). I also broke the rules by failing to announce the score after every point. Even after the first point, when it was Love-15, they wanted to hear me yell it.
The best part about playing tennis was that I got some great sleep after. It almost makes my new blister worthwhile.
Until next time.