This is a sponsored post by Fiona J Lindsay, a personal and leadership development coach sharing a story about how perseverance helped her realize her tennis dream as an ITF Senior, after an injury crushed her Junior aspirations at the age of 16.
My very first tournament win. At the ripe old age of 40. The culmination of a life’s dream and the beginning of a new journey. This is what I call persistence. I would like to share with you the journey of what it took to win the trophy, what it means to me and how persistence played a huge part.
I began playing tennis at the age of 5. Together with my mother and grandfather I watched the stars of the time such as Bjorn Borg, Evonne Goolagong, Chris Evert, Sue Barker and other greats of that era. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be them. So I started with my totem tennis racquet and a ball hitting against the back wall next to the kitchen window. Now of course I hit the kitchen window probably just as many times as I hit the brick wall, but I loved the feeling. I copied what the professionals did – turn on the side, bend the knees, go to the ball.
My mother noticed this after some time and could see I had some degree of natural talent. At that time my Great Uncle was the South Australia state tennis coach and had been for around 20 years. My mother, of course, was not exactly surprised that I had talent – tennis ran in my veins and I was now the fourth generation of tennis players in my family to emerge. She took me to my uncle.
I couldn’t start intensive training until I was 8. Which I did – as soon as I could. Every week, week in and week out early on Saturday mornings, we drove half an hour each way for my training. I recall watching the then current state ranked No.1 female training on another court and my uncle telling me that some day I would be better than her. Me! Well I had my taste – this was now what I wanted more in life than anything else. I wanted to be the best.
By the age of 10 I was playing in tournaments against adults. Unfortunately, I never got very far, however, this never deterred me. By the age of 11 I was playing competition again against adults and winning. I decided that by the time I turned 16 and was qualified to try out for McDonald’s Junior Squad pre-selection, that was where I was going to be.
So I started training. And hard. Up to six hours a day. Before school, during recess, during lunch, after school. Whenever I could find a practice partner, I would be out on the court. I was on my way to the top!
However, one morning at the age of 16, stopped all of my dreams dead in their tracks. I woke up, after sleeping in a bad position, and discovered that I had destroyed a nerve in my neck. The injury rendered my shoulder muscles virtually unmovable, and my right arm unable to either hold a racquet or raise my arm above my head.
I was gutted. Devastated and completely depressed. My lifelong goal of turning professional was completely gone. I didn’t emerge from my bedroom for three days and cried for most of that time and entered 6 months of physio torture. I had no idea where to go from there or what to do with my life. I had no backup plan.
Once I turned 35, I discovered Tennis Seniors or what is more commonly known as Veterans. Me? A “Veteran” at 35? This was the absolute best thing to have ever happened to me! This is a semi-professional competition whereby you gain ITF ranking and are able to be selected to represent your state and your country and play for points and prize money. This thrilled both me and my other no end. And so now, armed with a coach, my mum and husband as managers I am back on the pro-trail working my way up through coaching, practice, weekend competition and tournaments.
A trophy may seem like a piece of metal to you. But to me, it is the beginning of fulfilling a lifelong dream. I have surrounded myself with a team that will ensure my success (tennis coach, personal trainer, managers, chiropractor, massage therapists, physio, naturopath/nutritionist) and have never been so excited about my tennis future. Even a broken leg and ruptured ACL 2 years ago has not stopped me.
This trophy was the beginning of my journey towards attaining that goal of representing my country and feeling that feeling I once felt as a child. Who wouldn’t want that?
It is persistence and never giving up that got me to where I now am. I have never, ever given up on my dream.
For more about how Fiona has helped impact over 127,000 lives with the products and coaching she shares with others, visit her site at LoveMyLifestyle.com.au, register your details and she will be in touch.