This was supposed to be yesterday's sentence but after coaching soccer in extreme heat and humidity last night, my brain melted out of my head . . . so here it is, better late than never: my younger son Ian and I have been playing a lot of tennis lately-- all spring and summer-- and to make sure I taught him everything correctly, we watched a lot of YouTube videos on proper technique; this helped both of our games, and we've been improving in lockstep, hitting and serving better and better-- and my older son Alex comes out and plays occasionally, and he's quite good but just didn't practice enough to keep up with Ian (who was has been near obsessed with it) and both boys and their friend have been attending tennis camp this week, it's run by Ed Ransom, a trainer of some repute around here, and he took one look at Ian and moved him into the highest group and when my wife picked up the kids he asked her who Ian's private instructor was and said he was really talented and my wife told him that Ian's private instructor was his dad (Dad of the Year! this is a high point in the story . . . I was so proud that I had taught Ian to play tennis correctly) and for the next few days, Ian was the talk of the camp-- I was getting texts from other parents about how Ed had talked to them about this young phenom and it turned out to be Ian-- when I took my turn picking up the kids on Wednesday, Ed told me that Ian really had a talent and it needed to be "cultivated" and I told him we played all the time-- I was cultivating the hell out of it-- but he was also a soccer star and a pretty good basketball player and Ed frowned and said that Ian was going to have to choose and that he couldn't play everything or his talent would be "diluted" and I scoffed at this because I'm a big proponent of playing different sports in different seasons-- you make new friends, develop new skills, and don't burn out-- and so we went home and the kids rested, it was insanely hot, and then we headed to the high school gym (no A/C) for our summer basketball league, I help coach with my friend John-- a great basketball player-- and both boys play; tonight was supposed to be just seventh and eighth graders playing, but the other team had two ninth graders, so we matched them with two of ours, which made for a wide variety of body types on the court . . . Ian is heading into seventh grade and weighs 80 pounds and he stepped in front of a pass and grabbed it from a two hundred pound ninth grader-- a giant flabby kid who could play hoops but hadn't grown into his body yet-- and the kid toppled over on Ian, landing on Ian's ankle and knee and Ian's leg bent backwards and I thought something was broken (this happened to another one of our players in the winter and he was in a cast for a couple of months) and Ian was crying and clutching his leg and I had to carry him off the court to the bench and while nothing was broken, he had hyperextended his knee and couldn't walk and I had to carry him to the car after the game and now I had a stomachache and Ed Ransom's words were ringing in my ears-- this was crazy to try to play every sport . . . maybe Ian needed to focus, though he just turned twelve and hadn't hit puberty yet-- and maybe coaching soccer and basketball, and also trying to train tennis was making me crazy as well . . . but the boys finished watching Unbreakable and then went to bed and some of David Dunn must have rubbed off on Ian, because he woke up the next morning and though his knee was a little sore, he was fine, a rubber band, and he went off to tennis camp with barely a limp, which got me a little choked up, because sports stories where the scrappy little underdog prevails always do (I was crying like a baby the other day at the end of the Netflix series GLOW, if you haven't seen it, it's a wonderful show . . . empowering and athletic and funny and moving-- the total opposite of The Handmaid's Tale, which is just brutal) and I'm not sure what the future will bring, maybe some private lessons for Ian-- but he definitely wants to pursue some serious tennis instruction . . . or maybe I'll just keep watching videos and cultivate him . . . and we also have my brother as a resource-- he played tennis in college and he's still quite good . . . he hit with Ian last Sunday and he was really impressed, and though he only mentioned it once, I think he was impressed with the improvement in my game as well . . . so this is a double underdog story, because while I was a serviceable tennis player, I'm not an expert, but I think I can figure it out . . . anyway, I'm hoping to get Alex out with Ian a lot more, we've got courts right by our house and if the two of them start really playing together, they could end up like Serena and Venus, and I'm also still hoping that they can prove Ed Ransom wrong, and excel at several sports because while tennis is awesome, it's a lonely game, and doesn't compare to the fun and drama of soccer, basketball, and professional wrestling.