Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tennis Passport

When I was in Jr. High my Mom and my best friends Mom decided they would sign us up for tennis lessons at the Northridge park recreation center.

I remember it was the typical San Fernando Valley heat , there was a lot of drill and kill, and I thought where is the fun in chasing this ball around the court? I couldn't wait for the lessons to end. Maybe we took two six-week session because my best friend liked it and my mom had agreed to the carpool.

It was difficult to explain what I did not like about my tennis lessons back then. It was a sport I had enjoyed watching- I thought Wimbledon on TV was really a cool thing to follow. Even had a crush on Andre Agassi, remembered the adverts always featured champagne and strawberries and I thought- now that is my kind of tennis.

Over the years I would explain when asked if I played tennis- oh, it is not for me, did take lessons once and did not enjoy it. I was pretty adamant it was out of my skill set. Then a boy asked me if I played...again I said, no.

Over time, he reasoned if I had only one or two bad experiences with tennis maybe we should try again- just for fun. Trying to find a hobby in common, he did not like yoga, I did not want to do Capoeria, we settled on swimming and tennis. We were equally opposite, I had been swimming since I was five-years old and he grew up playing tennis. Maybe it was my competitive edge or, not wanting to be a complete disaster on the court- but I started to think I should take a tennis lesson or two.

My University has a tennis pro...And soon the summer session was starting so I inquired. I went shopping for a tennis skirt, and when the guy called me- I told him I was taking a lesson. Okay, he laughed let me know when you want to practice.

I arrived to my first noon time lesson with my directors blessing and her very nice Prince racket. The tennis pro changed my name indefinitely to Lenora and I wondered if I had any eye hand coordination, but felt no pressure and laughed at my mistakes.

The tennis pro told us stories and about his non-profit to get first generation school age tennis players on the courts. The next week I couldn't wait to go back. Again the tennis pro shared stories of all the public courts in the city, how easy it is to find partners to play with. Commented that before we knew it- Lenora would be organizing matches, I laughed.

He was right, suddenly as I shared with new and familiar friends I was enjoying my tennis lessons they all started to offer to play. Two of my colleagues took up the lessons with me. Our director already plays and offered to play doubles with us when we are ready.

So it has been about a month of lessons, and already I played with my colleagues at Sea Ranch, and yesterday the tennis pro held a lesson for us at his country club...needless to say the boy that reignited my tennis interest and I may never play, but perhaps there will be others.

This week a woman I am working on a committee with invited me to her club to play. Turns out she is just starting also and her husband plays really well. I don't know why but so far all the women I have met play less well than their partners. Is it a male dominated sport? What about- the Serena's, Martina's, Anna's of the tennis world? Fortunately for me, my girlfriends are not there yet.

My tennis pro said, "Lenora, tennis is like a passport, you can go anywhere with a descent game." I assured him I had a passport and was far from having any sort of 'game!' Needless to say my mom is glad I found my way back to the sport she always wanted me to play, and so am I.

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