Have you ever seen at school any of those guys who are always
taken by his schoolmates to make fun of? Well, I used to be
one of them, probably (no kidding) one of the most "extreme"
cases. I used to get so heated, so annoyed, I could hardly
control myself, which was only good for them to keep doing
it over and over again. And of course, the more angry I was,
the louder they would laugh at me. I was completely aware
that their main goal was only to see me out of control, but
there was nothing I could do about it, it was simply stronger
than myself. You may imagine that bearing such situation for
so long wasn't exactly healthy for my ego. But deep in my
mind, I knew that sooner or later there would come a time
for me to take revenge.
It was when I was averaging high-school that I started to
play tennis. I never let any of these dudes know about it,
as tennis was never much of a popular sport in my country...
and chances are they would have one more reason to bother
me with their stupid jokes. Well, I made it through high-school,
went later to University, and nearly forgot all that past
of mine, however.
Unfortunately, my career, my work, and later a girlfriend,
kept me off the courts for about nine years. But after graduating,
one day out of nowhere, I just decided I wanted to start playing
again. Picked up my old Prince racquet, and went with my Dad
- my most faithful tennis friend - to the club where we hit
for a while. Nothing was easy back then, I must confess. I
was no longer a kid, and everything turned twice difficult.
Nevertheless, with hours and hours of practicing against backboards,
on-court drills either with friends or strangers, some lessons
with a pro, Scott B's e-mail advice, and - of course - more
and more matches, my play and my strokes slowly started coming
back. Now I'm happy to say I have even improved my former
So, well, what about the subject of my story then? My revenge,
yeah! Some two months ago, I've been to the club where I usually
play, and... guess who I met there? Can you imagine? Yeah,
you're right - it was one of my former "friends" at school,
one of the most, let's call him, "offensive". Of course, we
had both grown up, we were already mature people, but somehow
I couldn't help but remembering him humiliating me with his
"witty jokes" before the rest of our schoolmates, and even
teachers! Well, we talked for a while about the sport, our
jobs, our lives, our problems. He told me he had been playing
for about a year, and then agreed to meet the following weekend
and play a match.
"A match against "the Enemy"!", I thought. "I have to be
ready, I have to put all my lights on!". I knew from the very
beginning I was putting too much pressure on myself, but I
couldn't help it. During that week, I went and practiced four
times - serves, volleys, groundies, topspin, slice... everything!
After my last practice session, I went home thinking to myself,
and believing - "I AM READY".
Saturday morning, 11:00 a.m., we were both there and started
our warm-up hitting. He had good groundstrokes off both sides,
but I could notice he had problems playing back low balls
on his backhand. The match started, he served. I began becoming
nervous... none of the strokes I had been practicing seemed
to be going. Soon I was down love-3, I was mostly missing
long or hitting straight into the net, I just couldn't keep
the ball in play. "This is not working," I thought during
the changeover, "I have to slow down a bit, I have to relax,
a point after a point, that's it. I know I can play much better".
Okay, I stood up and walked toward the baseline with a new
attitude. I held my serve in that game, broke him in the next
one, and held again in the sixth, even scoring several good
liners-winners. The score was now even, 3:3, but still I could
feel that something was just not right. I was still quite
nervous, and started missing again. He held his serve, and
broke mine... "All right," I thought, "I'm down 3:5 and he's
serving for the set. I think he's gonna win anyway, so what
do I have to lose if I take some more risks? After all, it's
just a game". I don't know whether this is a good tennis-challenge
mentality or not, but somehow, even to my own surprise, it
worked. I remembered his problem with low bouncing balls and
started slicing some shots to his backhand side. Believe it
or not, this was key, and I won the first set, 7:5!
You know what? I could perceive that my friend was a bit
upset, so I took it as my first achievement! I had never managed
to upset this guy during our school days. In all my memories
he's always laughing out loud at me... and now, look at him,
poor guy! Of course, I wasn't laughing or even smiling, but
I was indeed enjoying the "magic" of the moment in my spirit.
As we started playing the second set, I could see him becoming
more and more anxious and nervous, even hitting the net with
his racquet and often kicking the balls away... Well, I'm
not bragging, but needless to say I won the set (and the match),
After the match was over, as we approached the net to shake
hands, I could hardly conceal my joy and relief... and neither
he could hide his frustration. I just said, "Good game!",
though inside my mind a voice kept murmuring, "Ha! Now you
know how it feels to be humiliated so badly!".
That's it, that was the story of my Sweet Revenge... I think
that was my greatest tennis victory ever. But, as I said above,
it was only a tennis match. I'm aware the story sounds rather
"movie-like", but the best part of it is that, paradoxically,
me and this guy became quite good friends. From time to time
we meet and practice together, and... guess what? He even
promised to introduce me to his sister! She's cute! ;-)