I think one of the hardest things for an athlete to accept is that moment when they realize their former glory is over. I realized it about 8 years ago when I "retired" from competitive tennis. But then last year I decided to take another stab at it and play in some USTA and Canadian City Championships. Well I was reminded yesterday that 40 year olds do not have a solid place in a field where you are coming up against 22 and 26 year olds. Yesterdays semi final match was horrible. Not because I was outplayed, but because I couldn't find my game. It was as if I had forgotten how to play. My serve was fine but my groundstrokes just simply failed in every way. My bread and butter shots were reduced to frail attempts to keep the ball in play. To top it off, I double faulted on match point. The most embarrassing way to end it.
I wasn't necessarily upset that I lost the match, I kinda knew I was going to, but I felt really embarrassed when it was over. I don't want competitors thinking I don't deserve to be there. I've put in my time and paid my dues over the past 30 years. I have a house full of trophies and such which almost makes it worse. I feel like that washed up senior trying to relive his youth. Maybe? I just know I feel at home on the tennis courts. There is nothing I would rather be doing. So not sure how to approach this dilemma. Do I bow out now and just focus on the fun aspect again or do I keep putting myself in these situations and open myself up to being a walkover each time?