If you’ve been following my blog, Facebook, or Instagram, you probably have a pretty good idea of how much I LOVE tennis. It’s not a little bit or even a lot, it’s my absolute BIGGEST passion outside of my family and friends.
Not only did I fall in love with the sport in such a short period of time, I fell in love with my coach, who is now my hubby and father to our amazing son Landon.
I was the player you would probably find on the court almost every day and sometimes even twice. Although I was just a club player who enjoyed competition and once in awhile traveled to tournaments with my husband, I was dedicated to the sport and dedicated to becoming the best player I could be.
5 years ago when my MS wouldn’t allow me to be on the court anymore, DEVASTATION hit me like a MASSIVE boulder.
Although it was upsetting at the time to realize I would not be playing tennis THAT season, I still held high hopes for playing again as an able-bodied athlete. I would always say ‘maybe next year’, and when that didn’t happen I would say ‘maybe the year after that.’ But by the time the fourth-year came, I knew I was dealing with something much worse. I knew I was dealing with permanent damage. And at my fourth year I said to myself ‘If I’m not playing by next year, I’m going to play in a wheelchair.’
It was a statement I took seriously but I’m not sure how many other people REALLY realized JUST how serious I was… Not only because it would be hard emotionally to play the sport I love so much in wheelchair, but because of the barriers placed in front of the sport… the BIGGEST one being the extremely expensive wheelchair itself.
But now fast-forward to today and I am so thankful for all the generous people both on and off the court who rallied around me and raised enough money for me to purchase my OWN tennis wheelchair. (which I am expecting to arrive in just a short couple of weeks!) Because of all of you, I have been able to start this life-changing endeavor!
The sport of Wheelchair Tennis is hard, it is frustrating at times, and at times I even wondered ‘is this ever going to get easier?’ Don’t get me wrong, I loved the fact that I could be back on the courts with my family and friends, as that was DEFINITELY my main goal.
BUT playing in a wheelchair while you must push yourself around the court, then having to push yourself around holding a racquet AND get to the ball not too early, not too late and in the EXACT right position with the EXACT right grip…is NOT an easy feat.
It is by far the most difficult sport, or version of a sport I have ever tried. But that being said, it is the absolute BEST thing I have done since that devastating day five years ago when I was no longer able to play.
Playing Wheelchair Tennis does so much more than simply allow me to play the sport I love. In fact, it is what I attribute to ‘pushing’ me to the point of overcoming my disability.
Recently I had the opportunity to play my first-ever wheelchair tennis tournament. Never did I EVER think that my first Wheelchair Tennis Tournament would be an International one! And I didn’t plan it that way on purpose. But as I got to know Tennis Canada’s National Head Coach, I quickly learned that with Wheelchair Tennis, especially in Ontario, there are no entry level tournaments. And therefore if you want to get involved with the sport at a competitive level, you just have to Jump Right In! (Or WHEEL right in for that matter 😜)
I ended up being accepted as a wild card into the main draw of a tournament in Mississauga which attracts some of the BEST players in the world! IN FACT, the world number one was part of the same draw I was!! 😮
When I was asked if I would like to enter, despite the fact that I may not have all that much success…It took me less than 1 second to say ABSOLUTELY!
Winning was not my concern. I was just so extremely excited and honoured to be involved in the event, to get experience with what International Wheelchair Tennis tournaments were all about, AND to meet so many wonderful and amazing players who EACH have an inspiring story of their own.
At times it was SURREAL to know that just the day before, I was on YouTube, watching these athletes play matches at the Paralympics, World Cup, and Grand Slams, and NOW I was able to introduce myself and learn about their story.
I’m not able to say at this point how far I will get or how much I will accomplish playing wheelchair tennis, but I most definitely CAN say that I will give it all I have! I get very excited knowing that the potential is there to POSSIBLY One Day represent Canada.
There is certainly a LOT of work that needs to happen before THAT happens… But having my own personal coach, supportive family and friends, AND courts just minutes away, DEFINITELY sets me up with an unlimited potential for success.
Playing Wheelchair Tennis is not only beneficial for my physical health, but it makes a WORLD of difference in my mental and emotional health as well, by giving me something to work towards, and something to be competitive about.
Wheelchair Tennis has just as many International events as the ATP tour including ALL of the Grand Slams, AND is the fastest growing wheelchair sport.
It has been the absolute BEST thing to happen to me lately and the BEST way to showcase all the ability I still have left.
After talking to these professional athletes, and seeing all of them play at such a high level, I didn’t even see the wheelchair most of the time. I just saw AMAZING people and OUTSTANDING tennis players.
THAT is what I too hope to become in the not-too-distant future. For once since my diagnosis, it’s not about what I CAN’T do and ALL about what I still CAN!
For anyone out there who for whatever reason is now confined to a wheelchair… Please NEVER think life is over. And please NEVER EVER think that you can’t play sports again, because you absolutely positively CAN!
There is so much potential in Wheelchair Sports and I am SO happy to have discovered it. It is exciting, inspiring, and motivating to feel more than ever before, that the sky is TRULY the limit.🌠
#wheelchairtennis #theskysthelimit #MSawareness #burnfirburn #trainbabytrain!!🎾❤️😎