A Word In Your Ear with Roy Edmonds - August 22, 2019

Tennis
Tennis
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Age and guile trumps youth

THEY say pride comes before a fall, and so it was for me the other day.

There I was, strutting my stuff with younger men on a tennis court, closely watched by an encouraging She Who Knows. Then, suddenly, my footing deserted me and I sprawled inelegantly upon the ground.

There was much fuss all around but, apart from grazed knuckles, only my dignity was bruised. However, at the first opportunity, a short while later, I quietly packed my kit.

“Anyway, your last serve – after falling – was an ace!” Ed, my young partner, reminded me as I sloped off court.

“What were you doing – leaping about like that?” demanded She Who Knows.

“Well,” I explained while still feeling crestfallen, “by jumping forward into a serve you get more power. Frankly, I was struggling to match those lads’ bigger hitting.”

“I’m not surprised, they’re 40 years younger than you!” she pointed out.

At least I could still hold my pint, even if my fist looked as though I’d been in a bare-knuckle fight. Still, that’s sport for you – and life.

Ups and downs over the years are a great leveller and teach you to respect your fellow man’s (or woman’s) abilities, whatever age. My late experience playing rugby – not until my 20s – taught me so. I couldn’t out-shove bigger blokes, but neither could I catch those side-stepping smaller ones!

This time my fall from grace did little damage, but it could have been so much worse, as She Who Knows warned. The lesson was clear: act your age or, at least, bear it in mind.

When next taking on those young’uns I’ll resort to my natural advantages – through a lifetime’s experience – and employ craft and stealth.

Hopefully, they’ll see me through a few more years!

n For Roy’s books visit royedmonds-blackpool.com, Kindle or Waterstones.