I usually go to Sarasota’s Payne Park Tennis Center and use the tennis wall for practice.
As I approached the nice gentleman who works there, a doubles group was looking for a fill in.They asked them if he knew anyone that wanted to play. He volunteered me and explained to them that I was a beginner. The other three players invited me to play. I was excited over the opportunity of playing with them.
Have you heard of Mary Joe Fernandez? Someone asked. The farthest thing from my mind was that she was a well known tennis player born in the Dominican Republic, and a sports commentator, as I was told. She was also named as one of the US Captains covering the Tennis matches in the London 2012 Olympics, per Joanne C. Gerstner, writer, contributor for ESPN.
At the tender age of 14, she became the youngest player to win a main draw match at the U.S. Open when she defeated Sara Gomer in the first round.She was a rising star in the world of competitive tennis, finishing second in the Australian Open in singles and doubles. She went to win her second Grand Slam doubles title in 1996 at the French Open, partnering with Lindsay Davenport. They also won the WTA Tour Championships doubles title later that year.
Impressively so, without the competitors knowing,she had something that was literally taking her breath away while playing in the courts. Evidently, in view of this challenge, she had to work harder than most when it came to catching her breath. After continued respiratory problems, her parents took her to a specialty clinic where she was officially diagnosed with Asthma. Her diagnosis did not stop her from playing,with top ranked players. This was evidenced by her winning a gold and bronze medal during the peak of her career.
I have seen up close and personal what Asthma can do to someone. It is life threatening, You don’t know if the very breath you are taking while having an asthma attack is your last one. Seeing someone you know and love go through this is devastating. I lived it through it, I know.
Aside from being named a US Captain in the 2012 Olympics, and a Sports Commentator, she is also a spokes person for “Everyone Breathe”. Its website offers great help for parents and others alike to learn how to take precautionary measures in order to help their children manage this condition. Borrowing from her time to do this shows that this woman is truly gracious.
I can certainly stand to learn from her a lot more than just Tennis. After we finished the game, I left and forgot my purse at the court I was playing in. When I realized this, I interrupted a game by running through an open court, Instead of going around the court, as the same player that told me about Mary Jo, had suggested. Thanks to the grace of others towards me, they made light of the situation by just joking about it. Of course I apologized for the stupid mistake.
Every day I am finding more and more reasons for liking this game and knowing there is so much more to learn about the game than just serving and hitting over the net.