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In case my humiliation as a student of tennis wasn’t enough, I’m now experiencing the humiliation of being a tennis mom. The wrong kind of tennis mom. How is that even possible?

So here’s the deal. Last year, Simon took tennis lessons at two different places. The first place, The Louisville Tennis Center, is run by Metro Parks and offers 1-hour clinics and was/is run by the Nicest Guy in Louisville. Who, for reasons that I cannot explain, I could never quite get along with. If I wasn’t standing in the wrong line for something, I was probably sitting in the wrong place.

Our relationship got off to a rocky start the second time Simon ever played there. I had a question about the coach Simon had worked with the day before, and I went to ask the pro about it on my way in. At KIP, this was the way things were done. The director was busy, and if you didn’t catch her at the door in the morning, you likely never would. I assumed deploying the same strategy here was the way to go.

Wrong! The pro has to watch the parking lot for kids and keep track of them and do countless other things that made any chit-chat on the way in a serious no-no. Which I get. But maybe I didn’t have to have it explained to me quite so thoroughly? The version I got was complete with lists and verbal bullet points and animated hand gestures meant to imitate me. I felt like I was 12 and was deeply embarrassed. The rest of the summer, I laid low and tried to avoid eye contact. I’m sure I still violated some rule or other. I never seemed to have gotten it right.

Then, at the end of the summer, we moved over the Louisville Tennis Club for a week of camp. Here I was fine with the establishment, it was the other moms I blew it with. Day one I sat in the viewing area and attempted small talk with another mom. Big mistake! No chit-chat at the Louisville Tennis Club unless that mom already knows you. Also, my hair was wrong, my clothes were wrong, my lack of make-up was wrong, my lack of honking diamonds was wrong, and my lack of an iPad was wrong.

Basically, I was a displaced person at this camp, a situation created by the difference in tax brackets, zip codes, and hair color between me and the other moms. I was 12 once more, only this time the put-down came from the mean girls instead of the teacher who hated me.

Today was the fourth day of summer vacation, and the first day the weather and our schedules cooperated enough to take a tennis class. So back to the Louisville Tennis Center I went, where I was greeted quite fondly by the Nicest Guy in Louisville yet again.

Score 15-0 Jessica.

Then I committed my first sin of asking about how many lessons Simon had left on his card from last summer. I was standing in the wrong line (again!) for that, and apparently they preferred it if I called and had them get back to me.

Score 15 all.

But wait! I tried that last week, and no one ever called me. Something I gently pointed out and that resulted in the information being looked up despite my being in the wrong line.

Score 30-15 Jessica

Then Simon goes to play, and I stand outside the fence to watch. The Nicest Guy in Louisville offers me a seat. I decline, explaining I’d honestly rather stand. He looks suspicious.

Score 30 All.

With mere seconds left in the lesson, I once again blow it. The kids had hit several balls that went over the fence and landed by me. As they played, I collected them. With about 2 minutes left before the hour was up, I heard Simon’s coach say, “All right boys. Help me clean up and then we’re finished for the day.” I took this as my cue to walk on to the court, thank the coach, and hand her the balls.

Game, set, match, Nicest Guy in Louisville.

You see, parents aren’t allowed on the courts. EVER. Even if the hour is up and you are just trying to help clean up. IT’S AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR THEM. Like, all caps important, and I once again was on the wrong end of a smiling but no-less humiliating correction.

Are there rules for this sh** somewhere? Something I can consult before once again violating the etiquette and being–nicely!–put in my place? Cause honestly, I now feel like someone’s embarrassing relative who’s had one too many at the family wedding or maybe even a rube given an audience with the Queen.

We’re going back tomorrow. I plan to keep my head down, find a park bench to read a book, and say as little as possible. Maybe nothing at all. I’m thinking a grunt and weak smile might be my safest option.

On the bright side, I’ve got over a month before I have to deal with the mean girls at the Louisville Tennis Club again, and at least there I think I’ve got a firm grasp of the rules. Anyone have a 5-carat diamond, Hermes bag, Land Rover, and iPad I can borrow?




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