Beyond The Score: Tennis Equals Family Time

By Lisa Thomas

As a mother of two active teenage daughters I know too well the demands of club and school sports.  When your kids are in their sports’ season it feels like the entire family is committed to the season.  And then of course we also have more and more year-round competition that gives us little time to try much else.  There are a lot of advantages to such dedication and also a few downsides.  One of the downsides that I felt acutely when my kids were starting to commit more time to sports was that we didn’t have much time to do things as a family.  We each seemed to have our separate interests but not one that brought us together.  For me growing up, that common interest was tennis so I made a commitment when my girls were still quite young and before other sports took over, to make sure family tennis stayed central to our family life.

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Tennis is great for the family.  It is one of the few sports that you can enjoy playing together and enjoy for a long time.  We all love baseball, football, hockey and one of my favorites; volleyball. But it is hard to regularly get on a baseball field or volleyball court with your kids.

I remember the funny, early days of getting my very young daughters out there racket in hand, then watching them progress and enjoy improving with my husband and me on the court. I also remember too well the day when my first born started to beat me.  I was so proud and of course she has since gone on to play much more competitive tennis than I could ever hope to achieve with my game.  My goal is to simply keep up enough so she wants to keep hitting with me.  I just love it.  I treasure the time together, the common language and effort and a bond around a sport we both really love.

James Blake, a former World number 4 player shared with Parents Magazine how important tennis was to him and his family when he was growing up. His fondest childhood tennis memory was going to the U.S. Open with his dad, “I really cherished the ability to have quality time with my family. That can’t be substituted for. I got to sit there and watch three hours of a tennis match and talk to my dad.” A father of two girls under two —Riley and Emma—Blake looks forward to sharing moments like this with his daughters. Read the entire article here.

Tory Burch, the New York based fashion designer is well known for her love of tennis and tennis inspired clothing.  On her blog she sings the praises of tennis and the role it played in her family.

“I play tennis every week, and several times a week during the summer. As long as I can remember I have loved playing. My mother taught my brothers and me how to play. She would say, “Racquet back! Racquet back! Eye on the ball!” Our entire family would play round-robbins well past midnight… and it’s a tradition I have carried on with my boys.  For the entire article, read here.

Even the British Royals are getting their children into the game.  We already know that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are tennis fans as evidenced by their regular and enthusiastic attendance at Wimbledon.  According to an article in the Telegraph, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed during a visit to Wimbledon that Prince George has his own racket and is already hitting winners. Article here.

You can imagine in the future Kate and William sharing the Royal Box at Wimbledon with Charlotte and George, bonding over this great game.

So while there is a place for great sports like baseball, football and soccer in our busy lives there is also a great reason to incorporate tennis into your family traditions.  You can play together, at any age, at any level and be assured that the conversations will continue through dinner on who served best or who has the strongest backhand.

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