I have only ever played tennis once. It was a complete disaster, as my friend Kelly could attest. We were in high school and she became briefly obsessed with the game, and actually thought she could convince me to take it up. She took me to a court, brought two rackets and spent the next thirty minutes watching me hit the ball with a fierce underhand swing, which sent it rocketing dozens of feet straight up into the air. She was momentarily patient, but after thirty minutes or so, she stomped across the court, yanked the racket from my hand, shuffled me back into the car and drove me home, shaking her head the entire time. I haven't played since, although for a while I played ping pong, which, I'm told is a miniature version of the sport, and although I wasn't terrible, I eventually gave even that up. I haven't touched a racket or a paddle since.
That's why it was surprising to learn last week that I'm suffering from tennis elbow. Talk about delayed response! After wracking my brain for a cause it finally dawned on me that it's from playing with Duncan's Chuck-It in the park two and three times a day. Duncan loved to play fetch and so I've obliged, almost fanatically. I throw the bowl, he retrieves it––for a treat––and all is well with the universe. But this constant daily motion has finally taken a toll on my arm and we've been unable to play for weeks.
He's not too happy about it, especially now that the weather is starting to turn nice (except, of course, for the snow and cold expected Monday and Tuesday). So our walks at the park are spent with him staring at me expectantly, waiting for me to lob the ball halfway across the field. I hold up my empty hands for him to see and tell him, "Not today, buddy. Not for awhile." So he glowers and ambles away, not seeing any practical use for my presence.
And when we're done, I come home, don my tennis elbow strap, load up on glucosamine, ibuprofen, and pity, and do my little exercises so that, hopefully, in the next few weeks we can get back to it. Acupuncture helps, as does the herbal pain patch my acupuncturist gave me, but our spirits are low. The only thing that will help that is a game of fetch in the park.