I grew up in Stockbridge, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. It was a fine upbringing, but I longed to get to a bigger city. I started playing the French horn in 8th grade and I knew early on that it was what I wanted to do. Music has taken me to 4 continents and I've lived in 13 cities around the world, and I wouldn't change it for anything. I moved to Virginia Beach in 2018 as a French horn player with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. I got a cute tiny home 2 blocks from the beach, and I've loved living here. I never knew I was a beach bum, but here we are. The tennis community here is large, which has been a wonderful surprise for me. My family live up and down the East Coast (minus my brother's family in Texas), so traveling up to New York to visit my sister and drives down to Atlanta to see the parents are easy and convenient. Which league are you a
Hampton Roads, which encompasses
a lot of cities in and around Norfolk.
How long have you
participated in your league?
This is my third session
and I started last summer, 2019.
How did you first learn
Honestly, I did a web
search. I was looking to join either a league or team in my area, and TLN
seemed like the best fit - and it was.
How often do you play?
I try to play at least 3
times a week, but would love to play everyday. My body says otherwise. I've
unfortunately been plagued with a few back injuries, but it has been getting
better with regular play.
What do you like most about
I love the flexibility of
scheduling matches and meeting all the people. It truly feels like a community
with everyone in the league.
Tell us about your most
Really any match with my
hitting partners Masayo and Durrell are memorable, both for their play and
companionship. The time in between changeovers brings a great deal of
happiness and laughter.
Do you have any other
interesting comments about your experiences with the league?
I really questioned whether
or not the league would be a good fit for me, considering I worked in the evenings
and on weekends as a classical musician. But it was soon clear that the
flexibility of scheduling your own matches was its greatest asset. Having that
flexibility was key to the success of this league for myself and for those I've
How did you get started
I got started while in
grade school. My father has always been a competitive table tennis player, and
I got hooked on tennis at an early age. I took lessons, joined my high school
team, and even dreamt of making it professional, but music took over my life.
My events with tennis and music clashed far too much, so tennis was left
behind. Unfortunately I didn't really play again for 23 years, and just picked
it back up this past summer. It was NOT like riding a bike! I had to relearn so
much and it's still a struggle, but the passion came back immediately. It's a
new-found obsession, and I'm extremely thankful to have tennis during this
quarantine. It's been a savior for me.
Do you play to compete, or
Appropriate answer is fun.
Honest answer is both. Being in the competitive world of classical music where
I have auditioned hundreds of times while only landing a handful of jobs in my
lifetime (statistics show that it's harder to get into a symphony orchestra than
it is to get into the NFL) has only helped me with matches. It's funny how
angry I can get with myself during a match where I'm making dozens of errors,
so I just have to keep telling my musician self that this is fun! Of course
competition can be fun, but enjoyment should be paramount when playing
What level player are you?
Just hit 3.5 yesterday. I
started this league last summer at 2.5, so improvement has been great to see. I
would consider myself an aggressive baseliner who loves to take huge
swings deep into the court.
What do you love about
There's plenty to love, but
I guess I love the athleticism of it. I've never been one to "work
out", but tennis is the perfect sport for all ages. Something in tennis
just clicked with me, and it's hard to pinpoint what. It may be the competitive
nature of it or how much of a challenge to your psyche it is. I sometimes believe
tennis is 20% technique and 80% mental. That challenge in tennis can help you
in your day-to-day life greatly.
Who are your favorite pro
I grew up
obsessed with Monica Seles. I still think she may be the greatest player
of all-time, even though her career was forever changed by a terrible act. I
also have a two-handed forehand that I couldn't get rid of, so I saw myself in
her game. Currently I'm a huge fan of Del Potro (hope he comes back), Halep,
Andreescu, Kvitova...really any player with an incredible passion for the sport
and a huge heart for their tennis community.
are all incredibly fortunate that tennis is one of the few sports that can be
played in reasonable safety during this surreal limbo. Ever since the courts in the DC/metro area
reopened, there have if anything been more players than usual out, perhaps as
newcomers embrace the sport as their traditional exercise outlets (indoor gyms,
team sports) are still not available.
I returned to playing after hunkering at home for over two months, it was
difficult to resist the temptation to immediately schedule as many matches as
possible and basically go from 0 to 60 in my eagerness to be doing something
other than sedentary Zoom calls and watching Netflix (original series Star
Trek, anyone??) But after having spent much of the past couple years
managing injuries and playing in starts and stops, I knew it would be wiser to
come back gradually and deliberately.
anyone else trying to return after a layoff, or just trying to stay active in
middle age and beyond, I thought I’d share a few tips. They are all fairly self-evident,
but still practical, and they all come down to pacing yourself.
your matches out. Whether
you play three times a week or three times a month, make sure you take enough
time between matches for your body to recover. As you grow more accustomed to
playing this time can be made shorter. For me, I always try to have at least a
day of rest in between matches.
a consistent schedule. Once
you have a routine,don’t change it up without a good reason. If you tend to
play in the evening rather than the morning you should think twice before
altering the pattern.I know it takes me
while to loosen up over the course of the day, and I try to protect myself by
not playing too early.Also, try to aim for roughly the same number of matches
from week to week or month to month. Playing too much before your body is ready
is just asking for injury.
up before you play. I
try to go for a gentle half mile run, including side steps and jumping jacks,
followed by a short walk of about as long before I even show up to play a
match. Once my body is warm, I also take time to stretch. Stretching when
you’re totally cold is no longer recommended.
hard in the heat of competition not to want to give 100% on every point. In
general, you should, especially if you’re young. But I know if I go full out
chasing down a lob or drop shot that even if I win that point I may end up
losing the next two or three because I’m out of breath. So, if it’s2-2 in the
first set and I’m up 40-love, I might let that lob go. Keep an awareness of the
big points and make sure you’re 100% committed physically for them, but if
you’re coming back, prone to injury, or just older, you may want to be choosy
about expanding your maximum effort.
tennis, especially on what is essentially concrete, is tough. We ask a lot from
our bodies to make it happen. Don’t do too much too soon or you may have to ask
your body for forgiveness.