As cliché as it may sound, I am always learning new things.
Over the weekend I went to watch my main school’s boy’s and girl’s soft tennis team tournament. No, that is not a typo, there is a sport in Japan called soft tennis.
Now I do not know the rules for regular tennis, so I cannot say for sure what the difference between the two is. I can say that soft tennis is played with a rubber ball and the rackets are a little smaller than that of normal rackets. There is also the fact that the game is played on a dirt court, not the green turf that would be commonly found on a tennis court.
While I really had no concept of the rules going into it, I slowly started to pick up on little things here and there.
For example a serve needs to fall within the small square on the opponent’s side of the
court, but it cannot be the square that is directly in front of you. It needs to be off to the opposite side, to the right if you are standing to the left or vice versa. A person who is serving can serve more than once if they fail to make the first serve of their turn count.
A little complicated I know, but at least the rule for a ball being out of bounds is easy to follow!
I thankfully am fortunate enough that my students are wonderful kids; even more so for the fact that they love me and look out for me. One of my 2nd year smiley girls took me under her wing as I followed her around like a little lost puppy. Between the two of us we cheered for everyone we could manage to find. We also did our best to communicate with one another.
I was asking the poor dear so many questions. I did my best to try to do so in Japanese but my ability to speak like a 5 year old didn’t quite make the cut. So, in true Amanda fashion we spoke in broken Japanese English, also known as Amanda-nese.
My smiley girls worked very hard in keeping me smiling, laughing, and educating me in the ways of soft tennis. I am so blessed to have them in my life. The soft tennis boys also went out of their way to speak with me. I managed to get one of the more quite boys to speak to me more than I ever thought possible.
All my students did their best but ended up not making it to the final 3 rounds. Still I know they played hard that weekend. And that they will continue to work hard down the road.
But I can’t go to any sporting event without getting a little sunburn. All in all, it truly was a Saturday well spent.