Tennis Practice

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I’ve written from everywhere. Sad places. Dark places. Strange places. Full press boxes, empty press boxes. Loud offices, quiet offices. With lots to say, nothing to say. Before funerals, after weddings. Planes, trains, automobiles.

Today, I write from tennis practice. Miles, 4, and friends. Dad, 43, and friends. I’m the only dad here. That happens – a lot. It’s cool, the ladies know I’ve made so much money today that I can come to tennis practice, quality time with my son.

Miles is a great rule follower. Not a great tennis player. He picks up the red and yellow quick start tennis balls with determination, like he’s on an Easter Egg Hunt. He leaps on the yellow dot when told. He listens to the coach. He swings his racket trepidly, carefully, thoughtfully. Nadal, he is not.

Kids are running, laughing, screaming, swinging, falling.  

Ava is cerebral. Nicholas is aggressive. Taz is fast. Mary knocks a two-handed forehand over the net. One kid (the name will be omitted to protect the parents) just discovered his pants are on backward. Noelle and Owen show up in full tennis outfits, like Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. Luke eats chocolate M&M’s from his pocket, drops them on the court, stops the lesson to pick them up. Ben strums his racket like Dylan in the park. Luke swings his racket, missing Miles’ head by inches. I’m glad his mother isn’t here.

Owen just sat down next to me, asked me why I had my computer open. I tell him I’m multi-tasking; writing an article while watching tennis practice. “Can I write some thing?” he asks. He pulls my hands off the keys. “What are you going to write?” I say. Can you stop?” he says. “What are you going to write?” I say. “I’ll show you,” he says.

He begins hunting and pecking, for the a,  then the n, then the d…

And I owen will stop the great villain he said. He defeated the great villain.

“Why is it slanted, Mr. Clancy?”

“That’s called italics, Owen.”

“What is i towl ix, Mr. Clancy?”