The Natural

There’s this really charming obnoxious quality about me where I think I can do anything after I see somebody else do it.

In high school, I was convinced I could be a lawyer because Denny Crane and Alan Shore did it on Boston Legal. (I changed my mind after finding out I would have to wear those silly Harry Potteresque robes in Quebec courts – and yeah, back then I thought I would live here for the rest of my life…)

That’s what every cooking show on the Food Network is about, right? I see Giada whipping up lasagna, Tyler Florence making fried chicken, and I think, ‘Hey, I can do that!’

I had the chance to go to one of the first days of the Rogers Cup (aka The Canada Masters, aka The Canadian Open) in Montreal and saw Rafael Nadal practice with Juan Monaco. I got a sunburn that day (which is now a two-week old and very much faded tan) and the delusional and naive belief that I can be a tennis star.

I realize that at 22 years old, I may have missed the boat. By now, I should have at least entered some sort of international championship. Heck, I should have even won a few tournaments.

I blame my parents for my complete lack of participation in any kind of community, pee-wee or varsity sports. They always valued education over anything else and didn’t want anything to distract me. So I always studied in my room, with the TV, computer and PlayStation 2 (c. 2003).

I played tennis for the first time in my life the day after I went to the Rogers Cup game. Needless to say, I’m not ready yet. But I really think that with discipline (of which I have some) and time (of which I have none), I could be really good. I played against my brother-in-law, who is a beginner himself, and lost. But remember, this was my first time playing. Ever. And it wasn’t an embarrassing loss.

I need to work on my serve and aim, but at 6′ 1″, with the stride of a gazelle and the arms of Stretch Armstrong, or Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic 4, I am a tennis coach’s dream. I just need to watch more people play and I’ll be great in no time.

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