A couple of weekends ago I won my first ever trophy. I gotten medals and trophies as part of groups I performed with or played in and I may have gotten a Most Improved award in tennis in high school, but I never won any real awards for individual performance. Last month was the first time for me. I was playing in a clay-court tennis tournament at the beach and that Saturday I honestly played the best tennis I have ever played in my life. My serve was blistering and I was ripping forehands into the corners and down the line with both power and accuracy. I'd never been so happy with my play in my life.
I'm not a real competitive guy. I get worked up and mumble curses to myself when I screw up on the court as much as the next guy, but if I play well and lose, I'm perfectly happy. I'm perfectly content to be a loser as long as I'm only losing to people who are better than me and I'm not beating myself.
Of course my serve fell apart the next morning for the tournament final and I lost, but I still qualified for an invitational tournament next month and got my first ever individual trophy as runner-up in my division. E was fascinated by the gold-colored plastic and I handed it to him to carry out to the car for the ride back to the hotel. By the time he was strapped into the car seat, he'd claimed the trophy as his own and he still hasn't forgotten that fact weeks later. He'll occasionally demand it be taken down from the shelf in my office and then march around the house with it in his hands before his attention is claimed by something else. So, I'm back to having no trophies of my own, but I'm still okay with that.
Speaking of E, it's kind of weird to me how much I want him to watch me play. I know he's only two and won't remember a lick of it, and that to expect a two-year-old to be able to sit through a one-to-two hour match is ridiculously stupid, but when I hit a perfect ace in the finals of that last tournament, I looked to see if K and E had seen it only to see that they had wandered off to other parts of the complex. I felt a little deflated by that even though I understood entirely. I know this is silly. I know that as E's dad that I will be his hero regardless of how lame I am until he hits puberty, at which point he will barely put up with me until he leaves home and distance and maturity returns the affection and bring a new understanding and respect. At least that's what happened with me and my dad.
I guess I may be just a little needier than I thought.