By Clyde Davis
I showed up the first night with all the usual first-night fantasies, the ones you remember from being a kid and showing up for the first time at Little League or ballet.
In this case it was — everyone will be 6-foot-3 and weigh 160 pounds. Everyone else will hit like Andre Agassi and Venus Williams. The court will be at least 100 yards long, never mind that that is impossible. Your feet will give out from under you and you’ll trip all over the place.
Thus began tennis class at CCC. Never mind that you’ve been playing sports for nearly 40 years and you know that sooner or later you will get the hang of this one, too. Those are the first-night fears.
No. Many in the class are beginners like yourself, and at some point you realize that your coordination will not suddenly leave you. Yes, even though you haven’t picked up a tennis racket since you were 23, you realize that the world will not fall apart when you hit badly — which you will do plenty of times while learning this game.
On top of that, you can bike the five-mile round trip to the college and start getting ready for the Ride for the Roses.
Coming off of an eight-week rib injury, I have just reached the point where I can start getting back in shape, and yes, eight weeks is more than enough time to get out of shape.
The community college offers numerous opportunities to help you with this; for example, Brad, our tennis instructor, who is really patient, also teaches golf and aerobic cycling. I don’t know what else he teaches, but also offered are weight training, swimming, and a basic self defense course.
I get a free PE course for teaching ethics, but I think the cost of these courses is quite reasonable and includes the use of the weight room, which is pretty state of the art. I have a couple of friends who sign up just to use that. Remember, this is a community college — our college.
The whole dancing thing started here, while I was still dating Janice. We signed up for country and western dancing, and we still take it whenever it is offered, just because it is fun. One of the side benefits of any kind of exercise is the improvement to your romance life, and regular readers know how often we address romance in this column. Well, if you sign up for dance, you can work on exercise and romance at the same time. (We don’t have to go into the whole oxygenation/energy/endorphin thing, do we? Just take my word for it.)
Some statistics have recently come out that a major percentage of Americans are overweight, and that this is rising at an alarming rate. Everywhere you look people are pulling out their Adkins books, which — well, who knows what diet works best, but I am pretty sure none of them work best without exercise. For years people have been searching for some magic pill to get in shape, and nobody has found it yet. But after an hour and a half of tennis lessons, I didn’t worry too much that I was — oh my gosh — eating an ear of corn!
So you’re gonna be looking in the mirror pretty soon, and worrying about how you will look in your summer clothes. It’s too late to sign up for a spring term PE course at CCC, but I know they are offering plenty of options this summer. Oh yeah, for those of us who are certified school teachers, I think they usually count for CEU’s, too. So you get in shape, learn a new sport, and get some CEU’s. How cool is that?
Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at