The pound of a tennis ball against the ground grabs my attention like no other, and whether I’m on a tennis court or not, my eyes flock to the fuzzy yellow ball with excitement. This, however, has not always been the case. As a young child, I remember hearing my tennis-loving family discuss the sport. It was the topic of great interest. The house often filled with debates about the best players, the coming Grand Slam competition or where my brother should take his tennis lessons. For the longest time, none of the conversation mattered to me; I did not give a hoot about tennis and I especially did not care where my older brother received a tennis education. Eventually, as I grew, something clicked. I became hooked on tennis. I had discovered a life-long hobby.
While in early childhood I spent a significant amount of time around tennis courts, my mother and grandmother made sure of it, but I did not actually begin participating until I was around seven years of age. The first time I stepped onto the court, my match did not resemble the conventional version of tennis. My mother was, understandably, somewhat let down by my disinterest. She dreamed of a day when she could play a match with her kids, and I shattered that hope within seconds. At this age, I approached tennis with a mentality somewhat differently than my mother. I attacked the ball with a stance similar to baseball and a desire to hit the fuzzy little ball as far as possible: I wanted a home run. My mother, on the other hand, always greeted the oncoming ball with the perfect tennis etiquette.
After at least a hundred tennis outings, and my continual refusal to keep the ball in the court, I began realizing the actual point of tennis; I learned I had been playing the wrong sport. The sudden epiphany was rooted in the typical sibling rivalry; I could not let my brother beat me. For a victory over my brother, I needed to abide by the set rules of tennis. The match was less than skillful, but it marked the beginning of my true interest in tennis. Never before had I completely followed through with the tennis rules, and never before had I thoroughly enjoyed a match. Once the roots were planted, my excitement grew with each practice.
I do not remember the actual details of the match between my brother and myself, just that I could finally understand why people loved the game. The match was far more enjoyable against my brother; our similar skills allowed for a more evenly matched game. While competing in the mediocre match, I began to realize that the official way to play was far more fun that my previous understanding. Returning the ball to the opponent and rallying back and forth actually turned out to be more fun than whacking the ball out of the court when it was hit to me. Once my interest was sparked there was no turning it off.
My love of tennis introduced me to the importance of hobbies. A hobby is an activity that a person enjoys participating in, and everyone needs to find what they enjoy in life; we all need hobbies. By breaking out of our familiar shell, we are able to find the activities that bring us to life. When you branch out, you might just discover a beloved and treasured activity. Without venturing into something new, a person can not experience the joy of finding a hobby. Priceless relationships can also develop while participating in activities, and the relationships will have formed around a common interest. A hobby can be anything a person adores, and you cannot be sure where you will find your next hobby. For that reason, I encourage people to try something new. You never know what could strike your fancy. As a child, I certainly did not think that one day I would relish moments on the court.