When I was a young kid, my mother used to take me with her when she was meeting her friends for tennis. The park where she liked to play had a long gray concrete wall–really long, and really high. This was back when handball was a popular activity. In the evenings, you could usually find three or four handball games taking place simulaneously on each side of the wall.
But during the mornings, when my mom took me to the park, the wall stood empty. I’d bring along my little wooden racquet and hit against the wall while I waited for my mother to finish her game. I wasn’t very good so I ended up doing an awful lot of running as each inadvertently angled shot caromed off the wall. But I was young and energetic, and chasing down my ball to give it another whack with my racquet was all part of the fun.
Later, when I learned to control my shots a little more, I’d go to the wall on my own. I’d deliberately hit my groundstrokes inside-out, working forehands down the length of the wall and backhands on the way back. I could complete three “laps” of the wall before my lungs would give out. Continue reading “The Long Gray Wall”