By Lisa Thomas
There are so many good reasons to play league tennis. The first obvious one that comes to mind is that you get to play tennis, and in Southern California that usually means that you are outside year-round, in stunning weather exercising in some beautiful location.
The value of playing in a league though goes beyond the obvious. The expected and still worthy reasons are the exercise, the improvement of your game and the commitment you make to a weekly activity.
For me playing league tennis means I am around like-minded women who enjoy the game and want to have it as a part of their busy lives. I get a chance to play with talented women of all ages; women who are skilled players and some who are natural athletes but new to the game. But they are so much more, they are often a wealth of experience and advice, way beyond the game. Our weekly matches give us a chance to develop these relationships sometimes over many years and your teammates become your friends. They help with advice on kids, food, husbands and life in general. It is often the time after our matches as we relax with a coffee that I like the most.
Playing league pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to fail, learn and grow. You play such a variety of players which means each week throws something new at you. It is both humbling and motivating.
Committing to a team also means that you get yourself out there. You go to new places to play, you interact with people from different backgrounds who are not your usual pool of friends and neighbors or club members. You begin to appreciate your city and the people who populate it. It is an opportunity to open your eyes to what is around.
When I asked some other ladies who play league, why it is that they play they were very forthcoming and enthusiastic. Overwhelmingly the responses went beyond the game of tennis. Here is a snapshot and perhaps good reason to pick up a racket and join a league:
I love meeting other people. You develop a team spirit and camaraderie. For many women with kids there are few places to do this beyond your children and their friend’s parents. This one is for me.
It offered me a chance to learn something new. I started to play when I turned 40. You can do that with tennis.
I started to play when my children went to kindergarten. That was 15 years ago, I’m still playing and I love it.
I enjoy the broad range of ages you encounter. You can be playing against a recent college grad or a lady in her 70’s. You learn quickly not to underestimate the lady in her 70’s.
I work and my weekly league match is something I love having on my calendar. I enjoy playing and I look forward to going to the court and getting involved.
Playing league puts more value in your tennis. It matters more and makes you try harder. It’s good to have things in life that push you.
I honestly like the commitment to get me out of the house. It can break up the everyday responsibilities.
I like the variety. You never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you are at fancy private clubs and at other times on small very local community courts. You meet a variety of people with diverse playing styles. Some days you have catered chicken salad and others home-made banana bread. It’s all good.
So if you are already a tennis player maybe it is time to consider taking the next step and joining your local league and if you are not a tennis player yet, then now is the time to pick up that racket and realize all of the unique and life-long benefits of playing this great game and joining a league.
About the author: Lisa Thomas is a 25-year communications consultant working globally with multi national high-tech and biotech companies. She is an avid tennis league player and mother of two high school varsity athletes. Lisa graduated from Griffith University in Australia and is now a 20-year resident of La Jolla, Calif.