Saturday, January 30, 2016

Beat The Boys!

My mother gave me a sincere piece of advice when I was just a girl.

"Never beat boys," she said.

The unforeseen consequence of her advice was that I grew up with a strong desire to beat boys at everything!!

To hold back on skills and talents, just to let a boy win, wasn't sound or logic to a daughter with a competitive spirit and hours of tennis lessons. The wayward wisdom probably had its roots in an earlier century when my mother's mother's mother gave her the same advice and her mother's mother before passed the admonishment and so on and so on. Yet, this errant advice from a cadre of great great grandmothers, I am actually grateful for. It has served me well.

Until Santa delivered a pickle ball set to the Martinez household.

"You ready to play pickle ball?"

"I am."

"This time, I'm going to beat you."

"Possibly."

Four undefeated games later, I played down my victory. But Tony couldn't get the loss off his mind. All that night and the next day, there were references to the pickle ball match. When I complained of soreness, when I explained that my arms felt like they'd been stitched to my shoulders, his sympathy was absent.

"Good," he said with a sweet smile.

"My mom was right. Never beat boys!" I conceded to her advice of ill repute. Better 50 years too late than never.

My grown-man husband couldn't let go of his 4-0 thrashing defeat, and he was haunting me. Maybe that piece of advice I once thought lousy came from smart, smart women who lost to avoid endless smack.

The next day at 3:15 p.m., after asking Tony if he'd like to walk with me, I got a return text. "Would you rather play pickle ball?"

"REVENGE" I returned, chuckling at his desire to take another beating.

"I"ll let you win again!" Smug.

Once at the gym, we set up the net efficiently. No time to be wasted. Rematch fever filled the gym.

First game: mine.
Second game: Tony's.
Third game: mine
Fourth game: mine.

I hadn't learned.

"You know I'll beat you eventually."

"Yes, I do. Because you'll start reading pickle ball strategy books; you'll start taking lessons; you'll hire a coach. And you won't let up until you win."

"I just have to start making you laugh on the court."

Like he did in tennis. Yes, and that is why we no longer play tennis.

It may be that the first time I beat him in pickle ball was in Mexico. Tony had consistently won until I got my old tennis mojo back, and I ended up beating him in the last match. I call it the great Mexican pickle ball curse.

This morning, my husband's sweet nature momentarily returned and he asked me if I was still sore.

"Yes, but it's the top of my back thighs that ache."

"Not as much as my pride," he replied.

My mother may have been right.