Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Writing, Tennis, & Aging like a fine wine


My fiction and sports writing are typically intended for separate audiences. But since I have a passion both for athletic games and for the telling of stories, I have found opportunity to merge them on occasion. In the past I have incorporated my appreciation of basketball and boxing as major themes in short stories. I also penned a short story that focuses on a tennis match. Who knows? Perhaps I can do for tennis what Ernest Hemingway did for bull fighting.

Three of my idols are pictured above. Hemingway's succinct pen strokes were brilliantly effective in telling his stories, much as Serena Williams' mastery with a tennis racquet puts her multiple levels beyond the reach of her peers and Roger Federer similarly defies the aging process when working the various angles of a court.

I took up the sport of tennis far too late to dare dream of elite status. Yet I stubbornly persist in trying to become as good and consistent a player as possible. My daughter has already mastered the Serena Williams grunt and fist pump so I'm hoping to be as good at coaching and inspiring as Serena's father Richard. As for me writing with the skill of Mr. Hemingway, I haven't given up on that dream yet. Unlike tennis and sports in general, entering my 40's does not place me beyond my prime and incapable of progressing to top ten territory. When it comes to writing I'd like to think that I'm just beginning to hit my stride, with plenty of literary aces left to serve.

- Roy L. Pickering Jr.

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