When You Were Once Extraordinary, What Happens When You’re Just Ordinary (in NextTribe)

Andrea Askowitz was a young phenom at tennis. Now at 54, there’s more at stake than winning.

Twice a week, I play in an advanced-level clinic at Neighborhood Tennis in Coral Gables. Recently, I partnered with a guy who didn’t seem to trust our coach’s scorekeeping and shouted the score after every point. He didn’t trust the coach’s line-calls either and argued over every ball that landed near the line. This guy cared way too much about winning.

Winners stayed on court one. Losers dropped down to court two, then three. After I hit several easy forehands into the net and missed two volleys I should have put away, my partner and I dropped to court three. When I miss-hit a backhand that sailed out, I flung my racket into the back fence.

My partner asked if I was okay and I felt so embarrassed and not because I caused our losses, but because I was a worse bad-sport than he was. Why did I care so much?

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