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Thursday, July 1, 2010

REFLECTIONS...the paperwork of tennis and life

Paperwork. Who doesn't hate it. Credentials are paperwork, and in tennis, they are something I never felt the need to pursue. It's not that I haven't done diligence and attended seminars, workshops, etc. I've worked hard to learn my skills as both player and instructor. But there are those who will never recognize these skills unless you hold a certain piece of paper. Nowhere was this more of an issue than in public education. I remember working with kids in a before/after-school program around my full-time job and being denied the chance to act as a sub in the very same school where I ran the program. Same kids, same building, same principal. I was told that I needed a sub certificate.

So, I got a sub certificate. To make a long story short, in order to be a teacher, I needed to get a Bachelor's degree, a Certificate of Eligibility, and then a Provisional Teacher License. I also needed to attend yet more classes at night. More paperwork. But successful I was, and all those goals were accomplished. Every step was a battle, and with every battle came an inevitable victory.

The educational field has been up and down for many reasons, but from years of teaching tennis prior, I had decided that working with kids for the "lightbulb" moment was worth the struggle of changing jobs, careers, and juggling every part of my life.

So recently, I decided that I might get one more piece of paper. This one related to tennis. I did my research and found the Professional Tennis Registry or PTR based in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Yet more effort on my part produced another favorable result. I now hold the credential of being a PTR Certified tennis instructor.

Yes, more paperwork. Credibility established. Naysayers silenced (well, at least some of them). But my racket skills, teaching experience, and knowledge base had already been firmly in place from decades of effort that came well before that certificate.

Ah, but that glorious paperwork. Don't ever let it define what or who you are. And don't let others define your credence since you are whatever you believe yourself to be. Great men (and women) have irrepressible belief.

TENNIS NOTE: if you ever feel the pressure of winning or losing a tennis match, remember that there are much bigger challenges ahead and bigger victories in your life to be had (try raising children for example). This might help you relax and play better tennis than ever.

1 comment:

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