Racquet Guy

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Not to brag, but in my day I was a championship level tennis player. I
won all sorts of awards in college, and was semi-pro, even making a
living for a while before I graduated law school as a club pro. Now my
knees can’t handle the running, and I am looking for a new sport. I am
so much better at hand-eye coordination than most people who come
to the intro classes that I get impatient with lessons. I’ve been told I
can get snappy if I feel like I’m being talked down to. How can I find a
new sport at my advancing age?

Racquet Guy

Dear Racquet Guy:

I appreciate you think you’re always at the top of your game. But no
one likes a pushy beginner. Just like, as a young lawyer, you needed
to earn your standing by putting in many thousands of billable hours,
here you’ll need to keep showing up. Everyone in any new sport or
club has to pay their dues. Not just by coming and winning, but by
setting up and cleaning equipment, volunteering to help in group
events, and generally being seen as useful as well as threatening. It’s
not glamorous, but it is a great leveler, and also a way to get to know
the people you hope to trounce. Ask them what they do/did for a
living, about their families and vacations. Play doubles as well as
singles. Become well liked before you are respected or feared as an
opponent. Being a former great and/or an attorney doesn’t get you
any quicker standing in a meritocracy. You are going to have to earn

Look at all the related sports you could consider. If squash or
racquetball are too vigorous, look at pickleball or ping pong. Identify
any clubs or leagues in your area. These may be through Y’s or city-
sponsored parks leagues. Made a list of each one’s meeting places and
times and see what works best for your schedule. Do not go to the
most likely one first. Choose a middle tier experience to work out the
kinks from your learning curve, both socially and technically. That will
include learning the rules of a new sport. You can google and study the
rules at home, but nothing beats being on the court/table to drum the
lesson home. Ditto for making new friends and becoming well-liked.