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East Cobb’s Lisa Stone featured on Huffington Post

Lisa Stone

East Cobber Lisa Stone’s article from her ParentingAces blog was reprinted in the Huffington Post. Way to go, Lisa! Here it is:

 

The End of the Road . . . Sort of

My son and I are supposed to be in Mobile, Alabama, right now at the Southern Closed tennis tournament. We were supposed to leave yesterday for what was going to be his last junior tournament. He and I both had done all the pre-tournament prep. You know what I mean. He strung and re-gripped his racquets and did his laundry. I stocked up on snacks and drinks.

He went to hit. I went to yoga. We were ready to pack our suitcases, load up the car, and drive the 5+ hours from Atlanta to South Alabama. I was already thinking about how I was going to structure my post to share this final junior tourney experience.

About 2/3 of the way through my yoga class, I looked in the mirror and saw my son’s reflection as he motioned for me to come talk to him. I had a moment of panic. Any time your teenage son shows up at yoga unannounced, you can’t help but go to the worst-case scenario. The expression on his face didn’t help my nerves. Something was up.

Now, please understand that I had been trying to talk my son out of playing both our state qualifier and the sectional closed ever since he first mentioned signing up for them. He has committed to college. His junior ranking is irrelevant at this point. His Tennis Recruiting Star Rating is irrelevant. The only thing that matters now is continuing to improve and develop his game for college. My feeling was that he could better accomplish that by playing some Intercollegiate Tennis Association and Men’s Open events. But, he insisted that he wanted to finish out his junior “career” with these last two tournaments. Much as I tried, there was nothing I could say to change his mind.

When I walked out of yoga, he said, “I need to talk to you about Mobile.” We were scheduled to head down there in about two hours.

My son has had some lingering back pain over the past few weeks. He had been treating it with visits to a chiropractor, maximum doses of Ibuprofen, and lengthy icing sessions after playing. All of that seemed to help a little, but, still, the pain was there. What he really needed was several days of rest, but his tournament schedule was such that that wasn’t an option.

While he was warming up yesterday morning, the pain was pretty bad which made him start reconsidering his decision to play a 160-draw junior tournament a couple of weeks before he was heading out to SoCal for some intensive training and tournament play. After he hit he called my dad, an orthopedic surgeon, to talk to him about his pain level and whether playing in this event would interfere with the healing process. My dad told him the most important thing at this point was to be pain-free and healthy for his time in California, both this summer and once his college career began. My son asked, “If I were your patient, what would you tell me to do? Play in the tournament or pull out?” My dad answered, “Withdraw from the tournament.”

Thankfully, my son took his grandfather’s advice and then came to my yoga class to let me know that we would not be driving down to Mobile. He was clearly distraught, still not convinced he had made the right decision no matter how many times I confirmed that he had. I hugged him, and he told me with a sad smile that I should go back and finish yoga and that he would see me at home.

While I was in Legs Up The Wall and Shavasana, my son was at home taking care of business. He called then emailed the tournament director to let him know he was withdrawing (luckily, he caught the TD before the draws were posted so an alternate player could take his spot). He called his doubles partner to let him know so he could find another guy to play with. And he started plotting out his rest/training schedule for the next couple of weeks until he leaves for Los Angeles.

He actually apologized to me, saying that he felt bad we weren’t going to formally have our Last Junior Tournament Experience. Then he headed over to a buddy’s house to hang out in the pool for a bit. There was still this aura of sadness around him, but he seemed to be coming to terms with his decision.

A little while later, I got a notification on my phone from Instagram. Here’s what I found underneath a photo of my son with my husband and me when I opened the app:

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So, while I didn’t get to experience the definite closure I had imagined of knowingly watching my son play his last junior tennis match, I got something greater.

Reading the above words brought tears to my eyes. Not tears of sadness but rather tears of pride and happiness when I realized my son recognized — and was truly grateful for — all the gifts tennis has bestowed upon him.

My son and I have traveled a long road together these past 10 years. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact, I would say there have been at least as many ruts and potholes along the way as smooth patches. Nonetheless, it has been a beautiful journey, one I wouldn’t trade for anything. And the destination is certainly worth any hardships we’ve had to endure. My son is living his life-long dream, and I have gotten to be an integral part of the process. How lucky am I!

While we’ve now reached the end of Junior Tennis Road, it’s not really The End. Rather, it’s more akin to the roads in Atlanta that suddenly change names. Just like that, Junior Tennis Road has become College Tennis Boulevard. And from my current vantage point, the Boulevard looks pretty inviting though I suspect there will be many S-curves along the way.

I will be travelling this new path more as a passenger as opposed to my role as the primary driver and navigator throughout the Juniors. That will take some getting used to. I’m up for the challenge. Please excuse me as I climb into the back seat.

 

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East Cobbers Present at National Tennis Congress

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Joseph O’Dwyer and Lisa Jones

The nation’s first U.S. Tennis Congress, geared toward adult recreational tennis players, was held last month in Atlanta. USA Today dubbed the US Tennis Congress as the place for “one-stop shopping for  instruction” featuring “a who’s who of experts from six continents.”

The prestigious faculty included multiple Grand Slam Champions, five former World #1 players, three of the world’s 10 dual PTR/USPTA Master Pros, even a celebrity chef- Carla Hall from ABC’s TV show, The Chew. Among this well-credentialed group were East Cobb’s own Joseph O’Dwyer, former professional player and current tennis coach at Olde Towne Athletic Club’s Ginepri Performance Tennis Academy and Lisa Jones, owner and instructor of East Cobb Yoga Sol, also based out of Olde Towne Athletic Club. Joseph O’Dwyer taught a variety of on-court sessions throughout the event, among them The Serve, Return of Serve in Doubles, The Forehand, Singles Strategy, and Doubles Strategy. Lisa Jones led multiple sessions of Tapping the Power of Yoga for Tennis: Recover, Restore, Rebalance, Renew to help players rejuvenate at the end of their long days of playing and learning.

The sold-out event brought together 250 participants who traveled to Atlanta from 32 U.S. states and several foreign countries. The goal of the Tennis Congress was to give passionate adult recreational players an  unprecedented opportunity to learn from a world-class faculty about all aspects of training necessary to advance to the next level. For the first time, adult players were able to access customized, cutting-edge education on all aspects of training—technique, movement, strategy and tactics, fitness, injury prevention, nutrition, and mental conditioning. The event featured 350 workshops, seminars, and on-court classes taking place at both the Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree Conference Center and Peachtree City Tennis Center. “Think of it as a TED-style conference meets tennis super-camp,” said USTC founder P.J. Simmons.

For more information on this and upcoming events, visit www.ustenniscongress.com.

(Written by Lisa Stone. Stone is a tennis player, tennis parent, and creator of ParentingAces.com. She attended the US Tennis Congress both as media and as a recreational player hoping to improve her game. Lisa lives in East Cobb with her husband, Matthew. They have three children who attended Sope Creek, Dickerson, and Walton.)

 

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The End of an Era: teen driving from a mom’s perspective

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Photo courtesy Lisa Stone

Today marks the end of an era.  I will no longer be the daily chauffeur for my son.  He will no longer need me to drive him to drills, pick him up afterward, take him to fitness, or schlep him to school.  He is now a licensed driver.

And, given that he is my last child at home and the last to drive, that means my time is now my own.  That means I can book appointments, make lunch dates, and whatever else I want to do on my time-frame without worrying that I’ll be finished in time to pick up my son and take him where he needs to be.

That also means every time he gets behind the wheel, I will get that little clutch in my stomach – you know the one – and worry like crazy until he calls to let me know he’s arrived wherever safe and in one piece.  Honestly, I haven’t missed that these past 3 years since we’ve had a teen driver living at home!

But, it’s all part of growing up and letting go, something I try really hard to be good at but still could use lots of improvement.  For now, I will be grateful that my son seems to have a very good head on his shoulders.  I will trust him to be careful on the road and to remember everything my husband and I (and the driving instructors!) have taught him.  And, I will enjoy regaining ownership of my daily schedule even though I will definitely miss the daily car chatter with my son.

The end of an era, yes, but, hopefully, the beginning of something new and exciting for both of us.

(Lisa Stone is an East Cobb mom. Read more from Lisa on her blog, http://parentingaces.com.) 

Oh, The Sacrifices We Make!

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My oldest daughter, Emma, didn’t come by the acting bug by accident.  Oh, no!  She inherited that vital gene directly from her momma.  And, believe me, it’s a STRONG one.  In my LBT (Life Before Tennis), I owned a fitness business and spent many, many hours promoting it as an “expert” on the radio, the Web, tv, and in front of live audiences.  I never passed up an opportunity to be on camera (or on mic), even when it meant schlepping my infant son across the country on an 8-city promo tour with an athletic shoe company.

So, last week, when I was given a lead for a new reality television show about Tennis Moms (a la Dance Moms), I jumped on it.  I called the producer and spoke with her at length about my experiences in the Junior Tennis World as well as with the media, thinking I would be the perfect candidate for her.  The thought of being on tv again excited me.  I was already trying to figure out how I would squeeze in more workout sessions before the show taped so I would be at my fittest and strongest on camera and how in the world I was going to afford new clothes.

And then my son came home.

And I told him about the tv show.

And he begged me not to pursue it.

And this is one more tiny little sacrifice I will make for one of my kids.  Because that’s what we parents do – we sometimes put aside our own wants (and even needs) for our kids.  In this case, it was an easy decision.  My son has worked too long and too hard for me to risk jeopardizing his efforts because of my own narcissistic tendencies.  He’s right – by being part of a show that will magnify the already-huge personalities of some extreme tennis parents, I would be putting him in an awkward (at best!) position with his tennis peers, their parents, and the governing body.

I honored my son’s wishes and stepped away from the tv project.  I figure that just frees me up when the Tennis Channel comes calling!

(Written by East Cobb resident and tennis mom, Lisa Stone and reprinted from her blog, http://parentingaces.wordpress.com. A mother of three, Stone is a certified fitness instructor and avid tennis player.)

East Cobb Mom starts Tennis Blog

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A blog for tennis parents has been created by East Cobb resident and tennis mom, Lisa Stone, who is hoping to share her experiences in the grueling world of Junior Tennis. The website is http://parentingaces.wordpress.com. The mother of three is a certified fitness instructor and avid tennis player. Through her children, she has developed a working knowledge of theatre, horses and drums. Her own junior tennis experience and now that of her son’s led her to create ParentingAces.

“I’m enlisting the help and expertise of several tennis professionals including former NCAA champions, professional coaches (from both the ATP and WTA tours as well as top-level junior coaches), former professional players, and junior tennis tournament directors so that we parents can better navigate through the murky waters,” says Lisa.

Articles posted include Choosing A Coach (a 3-parter), the USTA tournament and ranking system, Developing a Tennis Player and Stoking the Fire.

“In the future, I plan to include articles about crazy tennis parents, the ideal tennis parent (from the coach’s point of view), and how to decipher the college recruiting process, among others,” shares Lisa.

(Reprinted from the April issue of EAST COBBER.)