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The story behind the tennis racket

 I have a nineteen-year-old tennis racket hanging on the wall of my garage. Looking at it, I was reminded of a famous quote by Henry Thoreau: "Many people are obsessed with fishing all their lives, but they don't know that what they are after is not fish." My obsession with tennis is strikingly similar to the angler's obsession with fishing.


Growing up in my hometown on the other side of the world playing table tennis, I never dreamed of tennis. One day after living in the United States for many years, I watched the French Open on TV and suddenly realized that although I had the blood of playing ping pong, tennis excites me. Picking up the old balls around the tennis court and the first tennis racket I bought, the Wilson Hammer 4.0, I started my tennis journey.


Over the years, I've hit the wall, worked hard on my footwork, imitated the pros on TV, and came off the court. Before I knew it, nearly 20 years later, I found out that I have always been the only Chinese among the nearly 100 local Saturday morning contestants. Tennis is a game in which no one is betting, but all players try to win. For me, I'm more obsessed with in-game naps and post-game gatherings. The golfers took turns to bring beer, and after a tense, sweaty game, the power of beer can be exerted to the extreme. With the power of a few free drinks, our conversation can go anywhere. I watch, listen, savor, comprehend, and occasionally get in to say my own opinion.


Even off the court, when a hot topic touches a nerve, it will immediately cause a heated discussion among golfers from different social backgrounds in the United States, including almost all classes. At one point the topic of discussion involved legislation in the state legislature on sexual orientation, which included homosexuality, pedophilia, incest and bestiality. Part of the definition of sexual orientation tends to lump homosexuality and pedophilia together. It is conceivable how many different opinions there will be in this group of 100 people, which can almost represent the public opinion of the entire United States. In my home country, China, people usually avoid these kinds of topics, keep their feelings inside, and rarely share them with others. For better or for worse, this is Chinese culture. The discussion of these issues in the United States was an eye-opener and an unprecedented shock to my mind. Again, this is American culture, neither good nor bad.


In front of me, an ancient and reserved civilization walked side by side with another young and diverse civilization, as if day and night appeared in front of my eyes at the same time. As I organize my thoughts, another rational voice comes uninvited: "Documents need tags, clothing needs tags, and people don't need tags." Tennis star Martina Navratilova The words made me shudder. But in the United States, everyone can have their own understanding of this, a more expressive environment.


I have changed countless tennis rackets, and the only one I have in my collection is this old one. Every time my eye catches it, in a split second, I'm pulled back to when I first played on the court and relive the fun things I've experienced since then. It's not just about playing tennis. My way of life has also changed with time and space, and some have followed the customs of the countryside. Coffee was added between tea tastings, a tall red wine glass appeared next to the liquor cup, the vegetable garden was replaced by a green lawn, and a barbecue grill was added to the wok. The most important thing is that Confucianism and Christian ideas are blended together in my heart and become one. This is a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, and it is adding luster to a simple sketch of life.


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