How we grieve

Five hours of tennis. Straight. One match.

Glued to the television. Hanging on every swing, every ping, every motion of the fuzzy yellow ball.

We are a family that loves tennis. We all played. I was horrible.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the thrill of hitting the sweet spot in the strings on the racket.

It doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a good match when I see one.

I have so many memories of my dad in his whites. I can still smell the mixed fragrances of sweat and tennis balls and an after-game Tom Collins.

Mom owned a tennis shop. Mom also played on a country club team. It was The B Team.

The B Team was my family. Mom used to say, “Why would I want to play on the A Team? They’re much too competitive.” The B Team was all about having fun.

The husbands and children of The B Team were as much a part of the team as the players themselves.

Mom and a couple of her teammates owned a tennis shop – The Court Jester. It was my first job and one of my dad’s first tax write-offs.

When we were in London for a business trip of my father’s, he got sick. While he was lying in bed in the hotel, Mom and I planned a day at the Tate. When we got on the underground and looked at the map to determine which stop was ours, Mom realized that Wimbledon was at the end of the line.

She debated for maybe a millisecond then announced that instead of a museum, we were going to watch tennis and we ended up watching Martina Navratilova on Centre Court.

One of the greatest moments in Strazza family history.

So it made perfect sense to the three of us here today that we would spend all day watching a ball fly back and forth across a net, periodically stating the obvious, “Dad would love this match.”

I don’t know how other families do this, but the Strazzas did tennis today and it was absolutely perfect.


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