- My first love was a serious tennis player, and I supported him in his passion.
- However, our relationship with PTSD left me, and I couldn’t watch sports for 16 years.
- Last week, watching Serena Williams at the US Open helped restore my love for the game.
I was 19 when Serena Williams She won her first US Open in 1999 when she was just 17 years old. At the time, I had two years into my first big romance, deeply in love with my high school sweetheart and filled with the kind of naivety that comes with youth and life’s little experience. Although our relationship lasted for another eight years, it peaked early — and with its highs, there were some pretty extreme lows.
When we finally broke up when I was 25, I felt free. However, my relationship with tennis was collateral damage. I became motivated, and never watched – or played – sports again. But last week, on the last night of August, Serena’s unexpected and emotional win — after what was supposed to be her last match — brought me back again. For the first time in 16 years, I got ready to watch the US Open.
Tennis and our relationship are spun together like threads on a racket
He was everything to me, tennis was to him. He was a great player whose life revolved around the sport. He excelled on the high school team and earned a college scholarship, after which he almost went pro. During our relationship, tennis became a part of my life as well. I was cheering from the sidelines at his matches, battling for the role of the biggest fan with his mom manager-style. I took trains and trams, and traveled great distances – mostly on my own – just to watch him swing that paddle. It was magical to see him.
But his honesty in tennis permeated our relationship, and he found his release through other outlets. There were bouts of emotional outbursts, screaming and Other toxic behaviorsThe effect, which I didn’t understand until years later. In high school, the principal once called us “fire and fire,” adding that it seemed like we were destined to fail. At the time, I didn’t think anything of the note – I thought it was just a comment on the passion inherent in our relationship – but now I see it for what it is: a warning.
Entering the world of tennis – his world – was like being a spectator on a slightly more civilized wrestler’s ring. All of the stereotypical stereotypes of tennis players were deeply projected into his practices and matches: competitive, tough guys, unresolved rage and grandiose arrogance. My ex-husband was one of them and he demonstrated many of these tendencies not only on the court, but outside of it as well. Yes, he will throw his racket during the match, like many other players. Other times, he would punch a wall with the same fury during the fight.
During our final year of high school, our love felt the happiest, but beneath the surface teenage jealousy prevailed and verbal abuse patterns Formed next to this bliss. I began to normalize these actions and accept the way he treated me as something I deserved. Public quarrels and verbal disagreements littered us during the last two years of high school.
Our time together in college was even more turbulent. I was competing hard for his attention on both the college tennis team and the new women. When he wasn’t ignoring me, I would counter the jealous aggression that came with any effort to explore my independence.
One time I ran into him in a bar when he was supposed to be sick at home – for once, instead of being his advocate, I went to another party. He somehow chased after me, found me, and forcibly pulled me out of the party while my friends watched me in disbelief.
Throughout it all, tennis has remained part of the fabric that has kept our worn-out story together – my support for him has never wavered and he has always seemed to yearn for it, although he rarely admits it. Sometimes we would play together, although I usually ended up in tears.
After college, we were together for another three years, but in the end, there was nothing left. I rarely saw him at that point, and the height of our high school life was long gone. When we broke up, he called me constantly, and I admit I didn’t hate him at first. It made me feel wanted. But as soon as I answered, the feeling that he needed me immediately ceased, as did the communications. It was more about strength than love.
When I finally realized the painful game I had become unwilling to participate in, we finally ended our connection completely. It was around this time that I also realized that I had never learned how to separate the feelings I had for him from my feelings for tennis.
Serena’s love for the game helped me remember why I liked it too
PTSD developed as a result of my relationship and kept me away from sports all these years. Tennis and what I’ve been through were intertwined, and since we broke up, hearing the rustle of a racket or the ball hitting the court vividly conjure up bad memories. Even the word “love” in the wrong context can give me goosebumps.
But Serena’s shock defeat to No. 2 player Annette Kontaveit on Wednesday night, August 31, captivated me. I felt a burst of joy at the game’s return, the kind I was experiencing before the darkness of the romance that marred my experience with it. see her play This method sparked an interest in tennis that I had not felt in nearly two decades.
I no longer think about the times when I was disciplined for not loving tennis enough, or punished for asking too much of my friend – after all, his dedication to his skill came first, a non-negotiable I had unfortunately accepted. Something new happened while watching Serena last week. I wasn’t full of bad memories. Every time I’ve been trying to watch tennis in recent years, something as simple as the distinct sound of players’ boots moving across the court has made me queasy, but seeing her on the court finally rekindled my excitement. .
Friday night, Serena Williams played her heart against her Australian unclassified discountAnd the Ajla TomljanovicIn the longest game I’ve ever played. Although Tomljanovic was ultimately on top, Serena was the clear star.
Watching her embody spirit and strength on that screen, I’m a different woman than I was when I first saw Serena on the court: happily married, not to my first love, but my true lover. As a freelance writer still finding my voice’s full potential and striving to become a mother, the themes of perseverance and not aging resonate deeply.
Serena’s Passion This past week has been an important inspiration and reminder to strive for the things you desire most in life. Despite the hardships and self-doubt, I can also overcome them – because you never know when you will achieve such unexpected success.