This is an ode to my dad who, in the last few days, I've realized I will miss a great deal when we leave. I don’t think about these things very often, and perhaps there will be enough clutter of activity in our lives to drown out some such thoughts down the road. For the last few years, my dad and I have played tennis a couple of times a week consistently through the summer months. The last two winters, we picked up squash to fill the seasonal racquet-sport void. For an hour and a half, it’s the two of us doing something that we love, learning as we play, and communicating in a wordless medium our values and character.
Despite having played tennis with dad and my brothers growing up, it took coming back to the game as an adult to really claim it as my own. Being able to do so with my dad as my regular partner has been an indescribably positive experience. I know his game, his tactics, and even his own self-awareness. I see how he reacts to pressure, to injury, to defeat, and to (sometimes overwhelming) victory. I have come to know my dad in a way that I had never previously understood, and I’m struck, even to tears, by how much I will miss him.
I hope, however, that I've learned the lessons he has unconsciously been teaching me. I hope that I'll be able to share them as patiently and fearlessly with my own children. I hope that missing him and our favourite habit will be curbed by the knowledge that his game has informed my own, so that no matter where we are, I can read the ball off the racquet and know what my next play should be.