Balls, Balls, Balls

I love the lime green of tennis balls. I have always been fascinated by tennis as a game, maybe mostly due to the hue of the tennis balls. I can’t explain it, but those tennis balls drew me into finally sending an army of lime green balls hitting the wall every few seconds on campus almost every morning, upon hubs’ request that I ‘play with the wall’ before we both attempt to play tennis together. He said that he’d prefer for us to actually hit the balls across the net to each other instead of picking them up outside the courts for an hour. And now, I can confidently say that I can actually hit a tennis ball over the net, and even do a good backhand (if I do say so myself).

Last Sunday, we went to Young’s Park for our tennis Sundays. Since it’s cold in the mornings now, we have resorted to going in the evening, after Asr and leave before Maghrib. The scene on the tennis court when we’re there is this:  A lady in pink windbreaker and brown skirt and niqab, and her 10 year old son stand on one side of the court. On the other side, a man, two girls and a toddler await with tennis racquets in their hands. Then the balls start flying across the court.

I wonder what people must think when they pass by and see this colorful circus in the court. I don’t really care though. I just need my weekly cardio without actually feeling like I’m exercising. Last week, I wasn’t really feeling like tennis. But I knew that an onslaught of hormonal roller coaster, made worse by accumulating stress would wreak havoc on my mind and manifest itself in the household, so I forced myself to urge hubs to go. We did. Alhamdulillah. My family is spared an episode of ‘crazy mommy’.

So it’s really little wonder that it probably looks like one happy circus of people wielding tennis racquets sending striking lime green balls flying all over the place. Both my daughters were on the other side of the court, sending balls over to my son, who was on my side of the court, while I played with hubs. As for the toddler, he simply minded his own business, picked up an extra racquet and a ball, and pretended to play as well. It’s a family affair. Everybody in the court! Kids, toddler, niqabi, and all. Get your racquets and stuff your pockets and hands with fuzzy lime green balls! And start hitting!

It was during this time that I was struck by a stark lesson in juggling, multitasking, whatever you call it. Multitasking has become my second name, for it is what I am forced to do in my line of work. Knees bent, I braced myself to return the ball hubs was sending me back to his side, when suddenly, another ball flew my way from my daughter. My multitasking self took control, and in a split second, I found myself attempting to hit both balls back to the sender, one at a time. Both were coming at me with maybe a second or two within each other. I swung my racquet to hit hubs’ ball, and then I swung it again to his daughter’s ball.

Guess what. The metaphorical happened. I dropped both balls. Both balls landed on my side of the court, bouncing away in glee. I have always said this to myself,

When you juggle too many balls, you will drop them.

And that’s exactly what happened. I dropped those balls. There were only two. As I turned to pick them up, it really, seriously, absolutely struck me : you really can’t do a good job when you try to do more than one thing at a time. Even if I had hit one of the balls, it would not have gone very far, and not with very much momentum and speed as it would have gone had I focused on hitting it by itself. Shoddy job. That’s what you get when you have too much on your plate.

Thing is, I know this. But like I said, in my line of work, sometimes, I am forced to do this. And I think, I have gotten used to doing it so much so that I carry it over to tasks that do not deserve multitasking.

By the way, it didn’t happen once. That evening, I had more than one situation where both hubs and S were sending balls my way, and all the times that happened, I had attempted to hit both back to them. I failed 99% of the time.Then I started avoiding both balls. My real life, played out on the tennis court. I realize that is what I do. I multitask. I take on too much stuff. I get overwhelmed. I leave everything.

But alhamdulillah, human beings are equipped with resilience. Alhamdulillah I believe I have that resilience. I bounce back. The next time both balls came my way, I focused on one. It was not easy, but I managed. Couple of times, I was a few inches away from being hit in the face with a tennis ball flying at maybe 30 miles per hour.

Bismillahilazhee la yadhurru ma’asmihi shay’un fil ardhi wa la fi samaai wa huwa samee’on ‘aleem.

I went home that day having learned a lesson in a very strange way. Like I said, the metaphorical happened. It was really … mind-blowing. To me at least.

I am still fascinated by lime green balls. I am also fascinated by the pink ones.

Hmmm… I wonder. I wonder.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I can take three of those pink ones at a time ?


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