For the past several years, my Tuesday mornings have been filled with two hours of fun doubles tennis with a great bunch of women that I would likely had not met had it not been for this opportunity. Having a regular tennis game in my schedule has made a big difference in my life here. Tennis is one sport that I am at least decent at. My parents taught me how to play at a young age and I've enjoyed playing the game off and on for my entire life. I've never gotten serious about it nor have I ever had a formal lesson, but it's a game that I've loved to play and watch for as long as I can remember. At my age, doubles suits me well. The doubles game allows me to run around like an idiot chasing down balls that are sometimes hard to get all the while knowing that my partner has me covered on the other side of the court. Doubles allows me to be aggressive at the net without worrying about having to get back for a lob and you only have to serve every 4 games. It's a great way to have a fun work-out without totally undoing your body! And it's social.
We have a group of 8 who play on a regular basis and then several women who are regular subs. The 8th regular is taking the photo above! We've developed a wonderful camaraderie and between games enjoy dishing about our latest vacation, the crummy weather, what's going on at the International school, etc. It has been a highlight of my week for years and I am grateful.
One of the women from the group of 8 has been on board from the beginning of my time with the group. Tricia. She has been the mainstay for me, the stable force behind Tuesday tennis. So when she announced that her husband's company was moving them back to England this summer, I was well, gutted, as the British like to say. I guess I just always thought that Tricia would always be here...well, at least as long as I was here! She is the one who does the schedule and drives us to the courts. She is the glue that welcomes people and keeps up with what's happening at the club and pays the bills and gets the balls. She sorts us out. The thought of Tuesday tennis without Tricia is quite depressing.
The rest of the gang felt the same way and so when it came time to organize a farewell luncheon for her, the wife of the Belgian ambassador graciously offered to host us in her home. We agreed that we'd gather after our last match of the season (the indoor courts close for the summer). Gifts were purchased and because I am known for being someone who likes speak in public, or at least does it on a regular basis, I was asked to give the speech. I was honored to do so as Tricia has meant so much to me, but I knew it would be tough. I will miss her. But I managed to get some thoughts down and deliver them, with tears, at the luncheon. The tears were unfortunate as it creates delivery problems, but at least it was heart felt.
Wanting to keep it a little bit light, I added some tennis imagery that I thought the gang would enjoy. Here is my speech.
Tricia...Here are the reasons why it is Advantage In for you to be leaving Sweden:
1. We won't have to worry about being humbled by your overhand smash from the net.
2. Your albatross like reach won't be grabbing our best cross court (should be ) winners anymore.
3. You won't wear us down with your unrelenting accuracy.
But here are the reasons why it is Advantage Out for you to be leaving Sweden:
1. We will miss you as a solid partner. No one ever minded when the cards fell to having Tricia as her partner.
2. We will miss your warm and generous spirit. (tears began here.)
3. Tennis won't the be same without your fun smile.
4. Your welcoming heart leaves a large hole in our game. I think I speak for us all when I say that Tricia was always the one who reached out to the new players and sought to make them feel welcomed and at home among us.
5. We thank you for sorting us out and will miss you doing it in the future. In fact, it is now taking two people to do the job that Tricia alone did.
6. You are a special person whose presence among us will certainly be felt and you will be missed dearly by us all.
Tricia was always GAME for good tennis.
She was always SET to beat you.
But best of all, she is no MATCH as a friend.
We love her to death and will miss always.
Thanks for the memories Tricia. I will personally miss seeing you regularly and sharing life in the way we did. Perhaps there will be tournament that we can enter and even win someday!
Myriam...many thanks for hosting such a lovely lunch. It was beautiful and delicious.
As for the rest of you...NO ONE ELSE CAN LEAVE, OK? I do appreciate this group of women. They have enriched my life in so many ways. Look forward to the autumn and getting back at it.