Our group was ready to hit the courts. We had just enjoyed the featured exhibition match and formal ceremonies, which took place between separate 2-hour drilling sessions. Each session featured 4 rotating local tennis pros working a group of 10 players. The annual TeamConnor Smashing Childhood Cancer Event at the Lifetime Fitness Indoor courts in Plano, TX was not to be missed.
Since my initial involvement the year prior, I knew what to expect. Goes like this: The tennis pro gathers the group at the net. After quick introductions, a drill is explained. We nod like we understand right away, but it usually takes a few minutes of confusion and further explanation before we get in the rhythm. Then it’s constant movement, swings, overheads, volleys, and encouragement. After 25 minutes, the tennis pros rotate and we repeat. It’s a tremendous workout, the fellow players are generally friendly, although I wasn’t so friendly when I smashed an overhead and smacked a fellow driller on the side of her foot. The sound echoed loudly, her husband glared at me, I apologized sincerely, she was gracious and merciful. Later, her husband almost took my head off in a volley drill. Chivalry is still alive. I was happy when they won designer earrings in the raffle, and I was disappointed to lose out on the Del Frisco’s prize. Karma is still alive too.
During the formal ceremonies, a couple of 7th graders spoke about their buddy from school. He was being honored but was too ill to attend. His buddies spoke of his fight, they thanked all the players for coming, they told us of how funny he is, how he inspires others. I look forward to meeting him next year. The event organizers told us about TeamConnor, about how Connor kicked his original cancer to the curb before succumbing to another cancer caused by the cancer treatment. My eyes filled with tears. That was years ago. Since then, the TeamConnor organization has raised millions for cancer treatment research. Great promise lies in gene replacement therapy and other potential methods. Science is a gift from God, it must be explored to its end.
Afterwards, while drinking a cold Red Stripe beer on my McKinney patio, I thought of Connor, of the buddy of those 7th graders, of other children I’ve known with cancer. I thought of my grooved out backhand, I worried about my overhead, my hip hurt, I was proud Vantaggio Tennis Apparel Company was involved. Then I wrote this:
–Instantaneous Automatic Maneuver–
Rotations and directions, everywhere they pointed. Side to side, front to back, four tries. Make them count, follow through, move forward.
A turn should happen first, the first move. Then a step up. Like an instantaneous automatic maneuver.
The odd crowd, internalists mostly. Keeping it in, needing an outlet. They are smashing.
Care is expensive, the research is stalled. Get to the point. The genes done it, family history don’t lie.
Molecules and atoms can be made right. Keep it going, the rallies are fine. Let’s work up some sweat, get the legs moving, quick feet, on your toes.
Pick up 5, make a big circle. Jump in whenever. The tennis underground is represented, make time for the burn out drill.
Shower up, the cold will do its magic. Fresh and clean. Red Stripe hit the spot. Brand awareness, for the love of the game.
Thanks for your mission, TeamConnor. Appreciate donating the indoor courts, Lifetime Fitness. Dug the goodie bag, the delicious sandwiches, and the two drink tickets. Thanks to all who contributed, to the tennis pros and all the other volunteers involved. Bless you, Joy Cruse. Sorry for hitting that woman on the foot, really smashed that one.
Oh, and to hell with cancer. Connor Cruse Karma is still alive.
Check out Paul’s BlogSpot at https://jpaulgorman.blogspot.com/2020/02/conner-cruse-karma.html
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