I’m prepared to admit that I’ve always been a bit of a reverse snob about certain sports. I’d always assumed tennis, rugby, cricket to be the type of hobby that dukes and duchesses indulge in. You certainly had to have a minimum of two ponies and a bijou bolt-hole on the Cote D’Azur to even be allowed into the secret intricacies of such capers.
My own experience of PE at secondary school in the 90s was playing ‘football’, wearing a netball bib or trudging down to the park in the pissing rain on dark, wintry mornings and limping around it with a stitch. To be fair to my PE teachers, I wasn’t exactly gifted in the subject and I may have dedicated more time and energy to PE avoidance tactics than I ever did to the 100m sprint.
I’ve always loved watching football and in the west of Scotland that is an easy game to get in on, especially as a kid. At primary school we’d play ‘World Cuppy’ where you picked a country and every kid played for themselves. First to score 5 goals won. They won the ACTUAL WORLD CUP. It had all the glamour of international travel about it. You could BE Brazil or Cameroon. It didn’t even matter if you were utter mince at football. It was a such a scrappy affair, with everyone jumping on the country with the ball, that anything could happen. Anything. Even if you didn’t have a ball, someone would find an old can or gubbed bouncy ball and before you knew it some version of football was being constructed in the collective imagination.
Rounders was always a good shout too. It didn’t really involve any sporting skill either. In fact keen powers of deception were sometimes more useful. Can’t hit the ball? Don’t. Just throw your bat and run. Can’t catch the ball? Don’t. Rely on another team member to run after it and catch it for you. Can’t run? Don’t. Dance about like a manic to throw off the opposition. Sometimes rounders teams would be 15 a side. So it was guaranteed there was always a good runner/ catcher to conceal your own inadequacies AND you had a 50/50 chance of sharing in glorious victory thanks to them.
The great thing about a sport that involves a team or a competitor is that you get to socialise. It’s sort of like going for coffee with someone but without the temptation of cake. And you can go for coffee and cake afterwards. Furthermore, if like me, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to finding excuses to avoid exercise yet you also feel the guilt about letting people down, then exercising with other people is ideal. You’ve made an arrangement. It’s not yourself you’re letting down, it’s someone else. Yes, I know that’s completely warped psychology but whatever works…
Anyway, I started playing some tennis here and there with some lovely guys I work with to make up numbers. When I say ‘playing’ I mean I was going along to tennis when they needed an extra player. I really couldn’t play but I tried my best. And over the weeks I’ve got to love it. I may not have improved much but I love the experience. You can chat, be outside, take it easy or run yourself ragged. It is a GREAT sport.
Watching Andy Murray is also GREAT.
With the long weekend coming up I thought I’d try and play some tennis with some friends and family from home. This is the BEST BIT:
IN GLASGOW IT IS FREE TO PLAY TENNIS.
I was stunned. All of the Glasgow Club tennis venues in the park are free to hire. You just pop along to any Glasgow Club Gym and get yourself a card. It took me about 5 minutes. It cost 7 quid but that’s it. Thereafter IT’S FREE. Then you can you online or use their app to book tennis courts around the city. I played in Queen’s Park on Friday and Kelvingrove Park on Monday. FOR FREE.
The pictures in this post are from around the tennis courts in Queen’s Park and Kelvingrove Park.