The post I dreaded the most or Do I have to give up tennis?

2 Jan

I need to change my about page . And this is killing me.

I learned to embrace change as a positive thing some time ago. It usually means development, evolution. But today, I am uncertain if this change I need to make can in anyway be for the better. And the dramatic part is that I cannot avoid it.

In short, I am no longer a tennis player on the international junior tour. My last year as a junior has officially ended on the 31st December 2012. And today, in relation to this game I do not know how I stand and what I am.

Questions regarding my future in this sport arose again. Questions I have tried to deffer for as long as possible. That means for the last 10 years, as I have been under constant pressure from my friends, parents and teachers to give it up in order to focus on school.

I know I have always know I would not become pro. I am aware I am not that good and even if I was the career is too uncertain. Even if you have tremendous success you need to retire at 30 and rethink and restart your life over. Of course I dreamed of such a life and quietly hoped I was going to be good enough for it to become my obvious choice.  But despite my hard work and wishes it did not happen that way.

At that point where it became obvious for everyone, including me, that I did not have a future on the pro tour, I came up with the middle way between that life and quitting. I could not even start thinking of giving up, it was that painful. Playing college tennis seemed the answer. I would continue my sports career for at least four more years, have a way to fund my studying and overall be happy.

But what happened was as follows. I was good enough for several Division 1 universities to offer me full scholarships, but at the same time, I had grades good enough for everybody to tell me I could get in, solely based on my academics, in far better schools. So despite basically accomplishing my objective: to play at the high level required by such colleges, I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction and uncertainty.

At the beginning of this year after killing myself on the inside for weeks I finally realised I could not continue with my usual training schedule, due to do many private lessons and preparations for the leaving examination. I decided I did not have a purpose in tennis anymore and that I could not learn how to play simply for pleasure, as I though I would always be frustrated with the inevitably increasingly  poor quality of my game. So for a little more than three weeks I did not touch my racquet. needless to say I was devastated. Physically I had to much energy, could not concentrate or sleep. I also was afraid of gaining weight being without my training so I started eating less and less. I lost 9 kilos in that time. Mentally, I was in a very bad place. Despite having a little free time, I could not focus on my lessons but i also did not feel like hanging out with my friends.

Everything was bad. And a month in that state was enough for me. I still did not know what I would still do in tennis, but together with my coach and his partners developed a training plan so I could still play four times a week. I squeezed those practices at 7 am in the morning when school starts later and at 6, 7, 8 or 9 in the evening. Needless to say, my schedule became grueling. It is still less than what I used to, and I did not return to physical training but I thought it acceptable for a while.

But now, with my junior career officially ended and with no prospect of playing college tennis, I find myself in that horrible position again. Do I still have a place in tennis. I know for certain tennis has a place in my life and in my heart and will always have. I saw what happened when I tried giving it up. But what do I do? How do I manage?

It’s killing me, especially since I do not foresee my future in this respect; I, who have always had my future mapped out. I thought of playing some 10.000 $ tournaments next summer. Those are the smallest and weakest tournaments on the pro tour. But will I still have what it takes until then. Can I manage this schedule and is it enough? Is me trying wroth it? I lead my life after the principle of not giving up, but is there no limit? When do I know if enough is enough and I have nothing else to try? Will I always regret this decision? Will I always ask myself “what if?”

i do not wish to have regrets but I honestly do not feel this is one of those simple cases of a difficult situation but through which one can push himself. I will not give up does not seem the best answer here. But which is? And can I go back to being in that state I was in those three weeks? Can I even afford that now in my senior year which so much academic pressure?

I do not know and it is simply killing me. Who am I now and what will I do?


2 Responses to “The post I dreaded the most or Do I have to give up tennis?”

  1. waynemali 03/01/2013 at 12:14 am #

    I know this must be the toughest decision you may ever make, my international karate career came in my 30s (although amateur) but I wish I had had the chance when I was younger and fitter, not in the twilight. I guess I’m saying you can always return to school but not to professional tennis, it’s a big decision to make, I wish you the best whatever you decide, good luck.

    • DontYouKnowMe 03/01/2013 at 12:19 am #

      Thank you Wayne, I really appreciate it. And I know you are right about school being there for me, but it is difficult to go in the other direction everybody is pointing at.

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