Confidence or Delusion? Yes, Please

11 Jul


I played tennis when I was a kid. I absolutely loved it. My coaches were the daughters of a friend of my Mom’s and they were so cool and patient and they took me out for ice cream every now and then as a reward for waking up so early on a Saturday morning for my lessons. My coaches were always telling me that I was a natural and that I should play in tournaments. I really thought I was hot shit until Mark Tija knocked the confidence right out of me.

Mark was a friend of mine from elementary school. He was the cute, nice kid that everybody liked. Mark challenged me to a friendly game of tennis one weekend and I gladly obliged while secretly hoping that I wouldn’t beat him too badly. I was after all,  a natural.  When the day of the big match arrived, I put on my cutest tennis skirt and shirt, laced up my shoes, grabbed my racket and dragged my Dad out of bed to drive me to the courts. Mark was there hitting a few balls with his brother while he waited. It was at that moment I knew I was in big trouble. Mark had mastered the forehand and the backhand swing that had given me so much trouble. I blamed my difficulty with the backhand swing on my already massive breasts, but that’s another story. I kept my cool and walked over to say hello to Mark and see if he was ready to play. I unzipped my racket cover and took my position on the court. Mark served to me, a ball that I immediately missed. I had never seen a ball fly so quickly over the net! My coaches had lied to me! I sucked! I missed practically every ball that Mark served and when it was my turn to serve, I sent the balls limply into the air and they struggled to even make it over the net. By the end of the game, I was covered in sweat and the darling headband that I had so gingerly placed to keep my big bushy head of hair out of my eyes was totally ineffective. In contrast, Mark was still all tucked in and his white shorts and shirt still had creases in them. I was totally humiliated and Mark never asked me to play another game of tennis with him. I continued to take lessons until we moved and only stopped then because we couldn’t find a coach in our new little town.

Now, years later, I still have the nerve to trash-talk pretty much everybody I know who plays  and challenge them to a game. Of course, I  need a new racket, I don’t have any tennis shoes, I need a new tennis outfit, I can’t afford to buy balls, and don’t forget, if I lose it’s because I have a metal heart valve so, I hope that victory tastes sweet for you. Asshole

As for Mark Tija, I recently found out that he is now the resident tennis pro at one of the local country clubs and is widely respected in the tennis world. Of course he beat me; he was obviously a child prodigy. Now, who wants to loan me a racket so I can wipe the court with you?

2 Responses to “Confidence or Delusion? Yes, Please”

  1. Miss Molly July 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    I laughed. I cried. I’m sorry Mark Tija crashed your young confidence so badly, but I’m also sorry your coaches weren’t more honest with you. Confidence/delusion is a great title for this one. We never do our kids a favor by deluding them that they’re great at something they’re not, because sooner or later, somebody – not the mom – is going to give them the real dope without meaning to hurt them. And it’ll hurt a lot. There’s a fine line to walk for moms and coaches and teachers, but we gotta walk it if we really want our kids to be confident. Call Mark Tija up and invite him out for a drink…You’ll both laugh at the story. If he doesn’t laugh – well, you know what Bette Midler said, “If they can’t take a joke, f**k ’em.”

  2. bensbitterblog July 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    You would probably beat me, but I think it would be pretty hard for you to wipe the court with me. I’m not very slippery and I don’t absorb very well. Also it would just be awkward for you drag someone on the court that is probably a lot taller than you. Also if you won, I would be really bitter stalk off McEnroe style.

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