My wife and I have not played tennis since.
The incident is referred to rarely, in hushed tones…simply as “The Drop Shot.”
Several years ago, the Mrs. and I were playing tennis at least once a week. Never in a competitive way mind you (although that is an unfortunate point of contention relative to the incident as you’ll soon learn)…we simply went out for an hour of hugging the baselines and keeping each other there with our responses to serve.
That is, until “The Drop Shot.”
It was a week night, early in the evening when we took to the court – say 6ish. The temperature was 70 or so. No wind to speak of. No one playing on the court next to us…although there were a couple of guys playing on the court one removed so periodically we had to serve as ball boys for each other.
In short, ideal conditions for a spontaneous visit to an outdoor, public court.
We were about a half-hour into play that day when the incident occurred. Mind you, we always kept score but our play was designed to extend points, get exercise and enjoy the sport…not finish off the competition by running them ragged (again, a point of contention on this day…). As I recall, my wife was somehow winning for a change.
And that is where the point of contention comes into play…for in the midst of this particular point as my wife had just returned my shot from deep in the far corner…I executed “The Drop Shot.”
To this day, my wife insists it was because I was losing and I consciously wanted to win the point in question. My take is that my competitive mind and muscles simply converged at an unfortunate moment in time and created…“The Drop Shot.”
It was the greatest drop shot I ever hit.
It also was the most costly.
My wife, also reacting to the moment and coming out of character with the spirit of our session, attempted to sprint from the back court in an obviously futile effort to reach the greatest drop shot I ever hit.
Futile intersected with fall. My wife went down several feet from the net in a full-on concrete face plant.
I thought she was dead.
I was gratified to have won the point but I decided to check on my wife before retrieving the ball.
As I got to her, she was rolling onto her side and making some low, unintelligible sounds…which indicated she was, a) alive and, b) able to move somewhat.
“You OK? What hurts?”
“Just your hand. Great!”
“Great? No, my hand hurts. A lot. I think I BROKE it.”
This is when I went into ultra-positive mode. Knowing my wife as I do, it would be important to assure her she was, a) OK except for the hand and, b) the hand would be fine with some rest and TLC. She’s as tough a trooper as I know, but in any accident situation I always have felt with anybody it is important to isolate and deflate potential injuries. Getting stressed about what may or may be wrong doesn’t help dealing with the reality of what is “currently” wrong.
My wife feels to this day in addition to trying to calm her by having her quickly walk it off…I quickly got her to her feet and into our car also to reassure those guys playing a court removed a hearse would not be required. I will admit there was some concern one or both of those players might have seen my wife stick the landing.
I can see it like it was yesterday. I will never forget that horrific sight. Apparently, her hand took the brunt of the landing…which was a good thing because her head was on deck if that hand wasn’t extended to break her fall.
The question now was…was the hand BROKEN?
First stop was a convenience store to get some ice on the injury. I left her in the car briefly, returning with a cold drink, cold ice…and a TV Guide.
“You thought to get your TV Guide during ALL THIS?”
“It’s the next week’s edition. I’m getting it early.”
As I was getting her arranged for the drive home, making sure the ice was located properly, the drink was readily available…the headrest somehow came loose. For a brief moment, I thought she was going to go from the front seat to the rear. She managed a laugh. I then knew I had gotten some form of control of the situation.
Until the next day of course…when her hand looked like it was inflated for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Off to the doctor. Then the hospital. X-rays negative. Bad sprain requiring a couple of weeks of rest.
Since that time, our conversations regarding “The Drop Shot” go something like this:
“You know you hit that drop shot on purpose.”
“I did not. I just reacted in the moment. It was an instinct. You were so far away and the shot was there for the taking. I didn’t mean to almost kill you.”
“Well you almost did.”
“I’m sorry. If it makes you feel any better, I thought you were dead and I’ll never forget that sight. It was terrible.”
“Good. I still can’t believe you bought that TV Guide.”
“It was out early.”