March 11, 2011

The Rivalry

My wife and I play tennis. It’s our thing. If you don’t have a thing with your wife, I highly recommend you get one, otherwise you may find yourself without a wife. And I don’t know about you, but that would seriously disrupt how well I eat.
Anywho, I really enjoy this tennis thing for a number of reasons, foremost being because I get to compete with my wife. But while competition is a healthy part of any marriage, I don’t believe it can be the main part. Most of marriage should be about teamwork.
If you can’t get your competition out on the tennis court, odds are it will come out in a battle for space. Or more appropriately, for boundaries – the walls which protect our space.  
I used to let my wife win a game or two, to help with her self-confidence. Then, one day when I was particularly hungover, she took advantage and won four games! She pushed it to a series of deuces at 4-4 before I finally resorted to hitting nothing but drop shots, which her bad ankles don’t let her properly defend, at least not without a great deal of pain.
But it wasn’t that she had me on the ropes that had me so concerned. No, that was fine. I think I actually liked that because it made me play my best to win, which is the most fun you can have on a tennis court. No, it was that after she took those four games, she got all flippin’ mouthy. Just yap yap yapping away to all our friends: “Did AdPock tell you I almost beat him at tennis the other day?” “Did AdPock tell you I took four games?”
No, AdPock failed to mention that. And I haven’t given her a game since. She’s earned a few, which is what’s so great about our “rivalry”, but she hasn’t come close to winning since.
Now it’s personal. No more points where I let up a bit just to make sure she’s enjoying herself. No more wimpy first serves. Nothing easy.
See, I can’t let up. Or she will beat me. Because I know, in my Jewish athlete’s heart, that she’s good enough to beat me. Especially if she learns how to take advantage of my gentle psyche and starts talking a little trash. 
But if she does beat me, then that’ll probably spell the end of not just our tennis, but our marriage. My ego just couldn’t take it.
Or at least I keep telling her that, just to give her something to think about, in case it’s ever her match point.