Wilder's Whole World

By: Dwayne Wilder

When I was in middle school, I tried out for the tennis team.
I was in eighth grade and knew as much about tennis as I did astrophysics. BUT there were girls on the team and at least I’d be around them during the tryouts. To my amazement, I actually made the team after about a week of tryouts! Now, I got to see those girls each day that spring and play with them on the courts AND ride the bus to the tournaments with them! Life was good……………!
Somewhere along the way though, I discovered that I liked tennis as a sport.
This love of the sport has stayed with me since my days as an awkward teen boy who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a tractor; much less a tennis ball! I have never actively played at any point of my life, but I watched with interest the careers of Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Billy Jean King and their contemporaries.
I’ve even kept up with other professionals over the years since then, too. I played with my children a couple of times, but never have put tennis at the forefront of my life.
Until recently………………..
My 13 year old son (eighth grader; sound familiar?!) has decided that he wants to try out for his tennis team in the spring! So, he bugged us until we got him a racket and a can of tennis balls. Now, he practices at least once per week and wants to go to the ‘courts’ all the time! (Note: If tennis is going to see a new popularity, there needs to be more tennis courts built!!!)
Since we can’t afford a country club tennis pro as an instructor, it has fallen upon me to work with the boy on the finer points of tennis play. I’m glad to do it; any time you get to spend time with your teenager that doesn’t involve video games or an argument, it is gold! This past weekend, I hit the ball back and forth with Ryan on our driveway for about half an hour. I hadn’t hit a tennis ball purposefully in decades, but something interesting happened along the way.
I remembered and could do all the swings that my middle school coach taught me!
I wasn’t a top player on our team that year; in fact, I don’t think I even won a match at all. I was among the players that only played if there were enough ‘other players’ on the opposing team to hold a match. But I learned what I was taught and it has stuck with me.
I was hitting backhands and forehands to my son and teaching him how to hold the racket to do the back spins and top spins. I never was that strong in serving, but I know the mechanics, so I worked with him on that, too. I doubt he’ll rule the tennis world, but maybe, he will win a match or two if he makes the team. I have faith in him and want to instill faith in himself. With practice, he will be fine.
I barely remember the rules and scoring, but it’s so cool to still be able to play a game I learned as a 13 year old! I know I was never that good or ever will be that good, but it’s a great ‘life’ game that anyone can play to keep in shape or to connect with friends on a court. And I am here to say that it is a great way to meet girls!
For some reason, I think my son has discovered that same fact as well…………………!
AND now for something completely different! Activity at the northwest corner of US 75 and FM 691 is picking up. Landowner Tom Johnson is building a housing development just west of that corner and he has staked out roads in the Denison hotel/conference center lot. That site (and the hotel) has been in flux for almost five years. City officials indicate that something may be announced this fall.
This hotel/conference center is the key to development everywhere around that corner. When it hits, Denison will expand exponentially! Perhaps, not in the first year, but things will follow for years to come. Watch for information and listen for the announcement!
In addition, the Schuler project northwest of Denison is closing in on a tangible action. The appraisal is due any day now and when it hits, the date for the conveyance of land from the US Corps of Engineers to Denison; and then Denison to George Schuler can be set. Officials are hopeful for a date before year’s end.
Wow! The 2,500 acre development which will feature resorts, housing, retail and championship golf courses may finally be starting after more than 10 years of planning!
Things are happening in Denison, so get ready!!!

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