Aside from my work as Rabbi of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands, my greatest joy in Sanibel last season was playing as a member of the Beachview Tennis Club Blue team. I played in the number one spot, compiling a 13-1 record with two different partners.
The guys on the team are really great, and I looked forward to every match and practice. I particularly loved the “tough love” clinics that the club’s terrific pro, Toni Halski, conducts early in the morning. Those sessions were wonderfully helpful.
My right shoulder has been problematic for a number of years. I have done everything I could to avoid surgery: cortisone injections from time to time, several rounds of physical therapy, and ample doses of painkillers. I probably should have purchased stock in the KT Tape Company.
Unfortunately, playing competitively last season, even though I mostly just dumped my first serve into the box, pushed me over the edge. Since the season ended the pain has been constant. Tests reveal three different significant tears in the right rotator cuff, and I am scheduled for surgery this coming Thursday, July 26.
While my carefully chosen surgeon says there is no guarantee the procedure will be successful, I am hoping for a full recovery and to be back to playing tennis once again. If I should be so fortunate, though, it will be at the end of an arduous six-month process of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Aside from the fact that I still love the game, why is a 72-year-old man so eager to be back on the courts?
During my life I have had many years of formal education, but without doubt I have learned more about people, teaching and life in general from the competitive tennis I have played and from the five summers I spent as a teaching pro while in school.
So, I head for the (at least) Six-month Disabled List with genuine regret that I will not be able to represent Beachview next season but with the hope that there will be more seasons in the future for me to feel the joys and frustrations of the game I so love.