During the past year, I feel like I’ve become the master of let-downs, mishaps and disappointments. There are many days when I say, “I’m so due for some good luck, good fortune or plane ‘ole good news.” I know I’m supposed to face each challenge with confidence, as an opportunity to get a glimpse of my higher self; but at times, I would much prefer my ‘lower self’ have a little fun.

Recently, I was reminded to relax and appreciate the present moment from someone unexpected – my tennis instructor, Ronald Rugimbana.

I am taking tennis lessons in hopes of improving my non-existent volley game. Not only am I getting bored with my monotonous baseline approach that relies on wearing out someone else to win, but I haven’t had that many tennis lessons in my life. And after a while, it catches up with you.

Last weekend, as I was moving towards the net in a drill, I missed at least half of the shots he was dishing to me. I want to be Maria Sharapova right off the bat, and somehow, the learning curve doesn’t work that way in tennis (or any sport, for that matter). Ronald could see I was a bit frustrated and stopped the action. His wise words: “Melinda, don’t get upset about the frenzy of the volley game. It’s an up and down experience for everyone.

“As you approach the net, there will be times when you get passed, times when you mishit the ball. That’s OK! Don’t let it take away your joy of the game.”

Though I’m not sure how well I’ll follow his advice on the court, his words truly resonated as I face tougher challenges off the court. As I – or anyone – move towards new goals, aspirations and missions in life, the path is never easy. Getting to a better place doesn’t come without a few miscues, missteps, and mistakes. Not even the pros get it right every time.

But as Ronald suggested, messing up shouldn’t stop me from enjoying the game – whether the ‘game’ is tennis or life itself. After all, the here and now is only here for now.


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