Today was the first real warm day of 2009, so Audrey and I packed up a backpack with tennis rackets, balls, and a water bottle. We went to the closest courts to pick up the game we left 8 months ago. Unfortunately, there were two other couples who had the same idea and therefore was no room for us. OK, there were two other courts, but we are so bad at tennis we didn't want to embarrass ourselves. So we waited... in the shade, by playing paper-rock-scissors, and even taking a short nap. Needless to say we weren't too happy and then finally we saw one couple wrapping things up. We stood and started over to the court. Suddenly a white truck pulled up and two dudes hopped out with rackets.
"Run Jake," Audrey cried.
I sped up the pace, but didn't make it in time. We left dejected.
We got back to the apartment, jumped in the car, and tried another court down the road.
SCORE, we had the courts to ourselves.
We hacked recklessly at the balls, worked off our rusty backswings, and made the most of our alone time. Along the way, Audrey tripped on a metal pole while shagging a ball scrapping up her elbow, bent back a nail at the cuticle during a swing, and tried her best to dodge the leftover goose poop. We were frustrated.
Then came the dog. Directly behind the courts was a softball field which an older gentleman was using as a large play pin for his bird dog. Somehow the dog got out of the fenced in field. The man, hobbled through the gate and slowly made it over toward the still feisty pup. We dropped our rackets and tried to keep the dog entertained until the man arrived. As he approached the dog got wise, made for the street, and ran over to the river on the other side. By the time we got to the river, the dog was already in the river and had lost her footing. She was headed for the gentle rapids. I got rid of the tennis balls from my pockets. Audrey ran further down river. The helpless dog bobbed up and down through the rapids and looked panicked and unfamiliar with the whole dog paddle thing.
"You are going to have to get in," Audrey called out.
I knew she was right.
I jumped in, grabbed the dog, and carried her out of the water. The man was soon there with the leash and many gratitudes.
We got back and played some more, feeling sure of why our first crack at tennis hadn't worked and why we came to the courts by the river. Somehow the rest of the time out there swinging away was better. We still stunk, but it was worth it. My soggy shoes didn't matter. Her bruised arm didn't hurt nearly as badly. We just felt our being there was on purpose. What would've happened otherwise? Would that dog have been swept off? Would that old man with the bad leg have been able to get to her? Would someone else have done what we did? I don't know, it doesn't really matter, because we were at the right place at the right time.