It's about a young American tennis prodigy and his parents' effort to support him into professional tennis.
Personally, it was quite temping for me to see my older son stepping into that kind of top levels. This temptation always comes to visit me from time to time. Thus, it should be more prudent to just look back into what we were looking at the first place...
Why my family and I got into tennis like this?
NB was a very interesting child since he was really young. We raised him literally in our department when we were in Thailand. Thus, all of his "nannies" earned PhD degrees... And, everyone impressed with his intelligence since he was a baby.
Once we moved here in the US, he got another "nanny". She's a PhD student in education. Her expertise was in gifted children. She told us that NB had everything to be a gifted child. Not too long after that, his abilities began to emerge.
He started to read musical notes and played piano when he was 3.5 years old. Few months after that, he read both Thai and English languages. I remembered that we ordered around 50 Dr. Suess' books from an Ebay auction. The books were delivered to our apartment around 3PM. By 4:30PM in the same afternoon, he already finished 12 of them.
He loved math.... His hobby was adding numbers from 1 until what, I lost count... thrillions... since he was 4.5 years old.
Except for the time he was in his daycare, he spent almost all of his time doing these: reading; playing piano, and; doing math.
From my own experiences, I believe that it's not enough for a person to have a happy life with only academic excellence. A happy life requires many other talents to fulfill this goal.
So when he was around 4.5 years old, we made a decision to introduce him into sports. Firstly, we tried swimming, but it was a total fiasco... So, we tried soccer and tennis at almost the same time. Then, there was a schedule conflict between the two sports, so we had to choose between them.
We chose tennis.
In that time, NB was still in his daycare, he didn't even start his kindergarten yet. But all of us had a very good time playing tennis with him.... no matter it was sunny, raining, windy, or snowy. We were always there at a public tennis court nearby our place.
We played almost everyday. NB also took lessons in the tennis school. He rapidly developed his tennis skills, until his coach noticed and offered us a discount private lesson and, on top of that, NB could attend any classes in his school for free!
My wife who had never played tennis in her life. She was strongly "inspired" by NB, when he told her, "Mom, you need a lesson!!"
So she did.... Now all of us played tennis... Before this, most of our free time had been spent on watching TV!! So it was a remarkably healthier step for our entire family.
After a year and a half of playing tennis, NB's coach told us that NB was ready for playing in a tennis tournament... That would bring him to another level.
We believed him. So, we signed him up in tennis tournaments. At the time, NB was around 6 years old.
Interestingly, during those matches in the tournaments, we saw some very unpleasant behaviors.... You name it, NB got it, believe me!! :)
That was really difficult to watch. We thought about not allowing him to play in tournaments for many times. But once we sat back and pondered about pros and cons that all of us would have. We continued to support him despite those occasional emotional bursts of our genious.
We still could talk to him, pointing out what could be done and corrected, and what were the weakness and strength of himself and his opponents.
After repeated process of this, I saw many analogy between this sport and life. Now, I still strongly believed that we could apply this analogy into real-life situations, off the court.
Developmentally I saw a math geek, a young pianist, a fluent linguist with troubled mind gradually developed into another happy boy with the same level of intelligence.
Whoever he chooses to turn to be, I will respect his decision and I believe that he could be anyone he would like to be, based on those lessons he had learned from this sport and his competitiveness he earned from it.
With these "lessons", he would be fine on and off the court, with or without my presence.
My objectives are still the same, perfectly intact--just having fun with him while I still can. Gaining more than this is a bonus; I don't care.
================================= Note: My life has been intertwined with works and many others. New responsibility has emerged, resulting less and less time for my ordinary life. Although, a love to write is still intact... But having less time is related to having less imagination.... Therefore, I could not come up with new writings for quite some times.
It might be a good time for me to leave this forum for moment.... Please take it as Mr. A.T. is having a sabbactatical leave or something like that....
As noted above, my love to write is still the same... and will not be changed. Sometimes somehow, I hope I could come back and give some thoughts in this blog once more.
Cheers, Mr. A.T. June 6th, 2008
My pen-name in Pantip is amatuer translator. Actually, I'm a lousy translator with lame translation. My pen-name is somewhat misleading, I have no background in linguistics what-so-ever. Anyway I love to read, write and communicate with people...
Reading is my most favorite hobby. I read everything from shopping bags to articles in theoretical physics. I do research and teaching for my living. So, reading, writing, thinking and doing research works are my everyday routine.
I would like to define myself as a person who is accepting new ideas and adopting those into my way of life.
I believe in power of knowledge/education. I think every society can be a better society with knowledge. Ignorance can be dispelled by it. Humanity can live sustainably and harmoniously with each other along with its biosphere with understandings in the nature surrounding it.
Apart from my philosophical thoughts reflecting who I am, I can tell you something I like or love in particular;
I love dogs.... Particularly, labradore retrievers.... One day, I would like to spend my time and life with them as a big part of my family.
Zhuge Liang is my hero. With his wisdom and faithfulness, he led a tiny army to a mighty and formidable kingdom. He left his humble residence with a hope to come back. But, sadly, he had never returned and died far far away from home in a horse carriage in a battle field. If I could choose where I would, I would say where-ever my lovely wife was nearby.
I value happiness and my family as my first priority. My profession and my philosophy come in the second. Pursuit in wealth has never been in my desire.
I'm glad to be your friend, and look forward to seeing you around krub.