Ask any tennis player: There’s nothing worse than an acute injury that takes you out of the game. On a normal day we show up to play with braces, compression sleeves, KT tape, Ace bandages, paper clips, and Crazy Glue to keep our body parts sufficiently attached to limp, lumber, and lunge around the court.
We wear our wounds like badges of honor. In fact, tennis players are so impervious to discomfort that we’d make ideal candidates for Survivor. To keep us going there are products that stabilize your back, knee, shoulder, wrist, triceps, calf, elbow, ankle, thigh, groin, and, yes, even your sacroiliac. Mine must not hurt because I don’t have any idea where it is!
But there comes a day when something snaps and no amount of Advil, ice, or compression will allow you to play without severe pain. My day came a few weeks ago. There was a gusty wind and I made one desperate dive too many.
I knew my knee was toast. So I did something I’d never done before: canceled my games and matches, vowing to be sensible and to take a break from the punishment of my favorite pastime.
My cellphone became eerily silent, texts and emails grinding to a near-halt. I grew despondent. Lonely. Until I discovered that a tennis injury is the gift that keeps on giving.
Here are the top 12 benefits of being too hurt to wield your racket:
1 – I did my earliest ever Christmas shopping. Parking spaces! No crowds!
2 – When my husband reached for me in the morning I was actually there.
3 – My dog jumped for joy at lengthier and more frequent walks. Who knew she could pee that often?
4 – I had a cocktail any night of the week without worrying about a match the next morning. I could even have a Bloody Mary for breakfast if I wanted to!
5 – Days without tennis are really long but easy to fill. I reorganized closets, emptied laundry baskets, and uncovered a desk under all my papers. I felt like a paragon of efficiency.
6 – I stopped buying all those expensive new Lucky in Love tennis outfits. Big savings!
7 – I spent much less time texting and emailing. (Because I only had a couple of friends who bothered to stay in touch.)
8 – I no longer had to tell clients I was going to be “in a meeting” when I was really banging the tennis ball around the court for a few hours.
9 – I wasn’t too tired to cook anymore so I spent much less time and money in restaurants. And my culinary skills skyrocketed from a 0 to a 1!
10 – I stopped tracking match results on USTA TennisLink. I became an expert on Kim Jong-un and his long-range nuclear missiles instead.
11 – My game improved dramatically as I sat and watched my team matches from the bleachers. It’s easy to be a 5.0 when you’re not playing!
12 – I found my soul sisters in Kathie Lee and Hoda. Who knew how much fun it could be to lie in bed and wait for Kathie Lee’s face to crack?
After a two-week hiatus my knee had improved. I figured I’d better get back to the court before I was scratched off the active players’ list forever. And when I returned to tennis even the histrionics of league matches seemed refreshing.
But when I got home after a game last week I realized I’d missed the breaking news that 3,125 other Hollywood honchos had been accused of sexual misconduct. If only my knee were still sore, I lamented, I would have been nibbling on bonbons in bed and shedding a tear with my dear friends Kathie Lee and Hoda.