When I was in the eighth-grade, I became homeschooled in Georgia. During my eighth-grade year I began to hold onto weight I used to fluctuate from. This year was different than all the others. The weight that I had gained began to affect my life, greatly. Gaining weight can have changing effects on your life. How does weight gain begin to affect you? With my personal experience, it began with my physical then my mental health. I needed to change my health habits to get my body into better shape.
The first instance where my weight affected my physical health, the beginning of my eighth grade year. My mother who is a flight attendant, had asked me to bring a couple of her work suit cases up into the attic. Doing as I was told I began carrying the bags one by one up to the steps. When I was dragging the last bag up the stairs, I noticed feeling extra exhausted and out of breath. It was unusual for me, I have run up and down those steps since the age of 4. It had never affected that harshly before.
The weight I had gained began to affect my mental health. I felt exhausted a majority the time. My living habits, like eating junk foods and not having any exercise in my weekly routine. Kids that go to public and private school typically are required to attended gym at school. I had noticed being homeschooled that I lacked what typical kids in school had, gym!
Towards the end of my eighth grade year I was invited by a friend to attend a pool party she was throwing. The day of the party finally arrived, I felt so excited to go swimming with all my friends. I threw on a green polka dot one-piece swimsuit. In a rush, out the door I caught a quick glance in the mirror, I did double take. I couldn’t believe it, bursting into tears seeing what I saw in the reflection. I knew then that I needed to change my unhealthy habits to be able to start feeling better.
I grew tired of feeling depressed about my weight. I spoke to my mother about how my weight started affecting my health. She brought to my attention that she had met someone recently who taught tennis if I was interested. I didn’t know a single thing about tennis. I was desperate to have my old body and mindset back. I began researching tennis by watching famous tennis players online, then taught myself the general rules of the sport. After doing some research, I told my mother I would be willing to try learning a new sport. She contacted the tennis coach, and he set the first lesson on that upcoming Monday.
I arrived an hour early to my tennis lesson. I wanted to get practice in before the lesson. The tennis court was in a old small suburban neighborhood. The court had decaying leaves and cracked concrete. I walked around the court and found two tennis balls the color of mustard. I started trying techniques I had watched in the videos aforementioned. Using my tennis racket I hit the ball with all my strength. The ball either landed in a completely different court or over the courts fence. By the time my instructor arrived, I already was exhausted from chasing after the ball. After my first lesson with my tennis teacher, I had brought a mug full of iced water. It was completely empty after the hour lesson. I ran laps around the court and practiced the correct ways to swing a tennis racket. It was so hot outside I felt like I was going to pass out.
That lesson was where it all started from. I made tennis a priority to my weekly exercise routine. The first couple weeks were the hardest on me. From sweating in the hot southern heat and dealing with the discipline of the sport. I began loosing the craving for junk food and started losing weight. All the hard work I put into playing tennis helped me obtain the path to a healthier life-style. The first couple practices were the hardest, but they taught me discipline and I was having fun at the same time.
After a couple months of practicing tennis I had heard that my current homeschool cooperative program wanted to create teams for all types of sports. I signed up right away for the homeschool tennis team. The council sent out a e-mail stating that they had enough members sign up for the tennis team, but couldn’t find a coach. I decided I was passionate enough about the idea of the team, I built up enough courage to ask my coach if he would be interested in potentially being the coach for that team. Thankfully he was egregious enough to agree. He had then officially became the coach!
I began going to play tennis privately and with my homeschool team a couple times a week. By having more exercise I began eating healthier foods to get the correct protein I needed and give me energy for the court. I became extremely passionate about tennis. I had won enough matches to become one of the captains of the team! My coach made one boy and one girl captain. I was the first girl caption to represent the team. Becoming the first girl captain of my team I had accomplished; way more than I expected from my first day! Not only did I lose weight, but I gained a new favorite hobby.
I played from my eighth grade to my eleventh grade year in high school. I not only had joined the homeschool team but also joined a city team in Georgia. I found many new friends through teams. I joined had also attended tennis camps during the past couple summers. The tennis coach I had for a couple years retired, this discouraged me for a weeks. I knew didn’t have a coach but I decided to sign up for a singles tournament for the fun of it. A singles tournament is where you play as an individual player without another person on your side of the court to assist you. It ended up being a miracle in disguise.
I met a young woman she asked me if I knew anyone looking to find a tennis coach. I had to take that opportunity and tell her I was actually needing one because my coach retired and had moved away to Florida. We exchanged information and began to grow close. She put so much faith in me as a student. Over the months we began practicing together she grew more clients. She began asking me to stay longer and help me out with teams she had been teaching.
It all began with wanting to lose weight but I found more about myself through the years of playing the sport tennis. I learned I am able to lead others. I finally had found something I was passionate about. There were many practices where I felt like giving up because it was either too hot or in some tournaments where the referee would make calls that felt unfair. Finding a hobby you enjoy can open many opportunities and teach you new things you may have never seen in yourself. I learned that if wanted progress with being happy with my body includes putting enough time aside for exercise. As it turns out that tennis was great exercise and loads of fun once you get the hang of it!