Hey, I Forgot I Could Do This …

Richard Ropelewski |

Being the younger of two siblings growing up, and the youngest cousin on either side of the family, helping out with younger children was never in my DNA.  So you would think that after raising two kids (or more accurately, knowing when to stay out of the way so my wife Martha could raise two kids) that I would have some degree of confidence in my ability to develop new skills.  Sure, there was a lot of learning on the job, but to this day no one has swallowed a marble (they’re 19 and 18 so I think I’m out of the woods and not jinxing myself) and they are healthy, actively involved members of their academic communities.

But what I am referring to did not even involve learning a new skill.  All through high school and college I played a LOT of tennis.  We’re not talking anything worthy of college scholarship, but I knew which end of the racquet to grip and could hold my own on the court.  Fast forward to three years ago when Martha joined a local tennis club (nothing more than four courts and no buildings, but it is located around the corner from our house so the location is great).  So every April for the last few years the following conversation would occur.  Martha – “you should join this year, it’s a lot of fun;” Rick – (with mild enthusiasm), “yeah, good idea”.  But between the rigorous exercise of watching the kids’ sports, never ending house projects, and work I never joined.

But this summer both kids had jobs and there was a little more free time to be had so I “tried out”.  Their rigorous requirements included the ability to fog a mirror with your breath and keep the expletives to a minimum.  The second part of the requirements were touch and go, but I am proud to say I am a full-fledged member.  We play on average once a week and the rust is slowing coming off.  To my somewhat surprise I still hold my own on the court.  So maybe the challenge was not relearning a skill but remembering what I used to enjoy prior to having kids.

The author of this article is Rick Ropelewski, Wealth Manager at U.S. Wealth Management.