Today, I was rushing to get to my job at the club on time, driving and calculating the time it would take to do all the things I would need to do once I got there. It was a cloudy day and I didn’t need sunglasses, but I usually wear a visor either way. I forgot my visor in the car and rushed around to get the lesson started at 3:40.
My 6-year old student, Emma, arrived and took a look at me with a quizzical look on her face. She hadn’t seen me without a visor and sunglasses probably ever. She said, “Coach Leslie, you look different. <pause> Did you color your hair?”
Ah, this is the modern girl. I smiled and told her I had forgotten my hat. And for the record, no I hadn’t colored my hair. At least not that month.
In 2011, I made the switch from working an intense and extremely detail-oriented desk job in high tech to being a tennis instructor in the service industry. I was ready for the change and I entered each new day and new experience with my eyes wide open, learning from every little thing I experienced.
I do not have children of my own, so a lot of my learning just had to do with working with kids of all ages and sizes every day. Many of the observations I will put into this blog will be things I learn from the kids or things I really get a kick out of.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, one of my red-ball students walked into class and approached the court where a couple of other students were already there getting ready to warm up. Without saying another word, he looked right at me and said, “I got my report card yesterday. I need to work on my focus.” Moments like this I have to keep from laughing out loud. Kids tell you all kinds of things. I don’t think this boy would have told me that if he didn’t like and trust me, though. My style is to get to know each kid a little bit by asking questions, getting them talking about themselves, their days, their school, to help them feel comfortable. They are eager to talk and often blurt out their answers with enthusiasm. One of the unexpected results of my style, though, is the unexpected confession now and then, as happened on that day with that boy. It made me smile.