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Why Tennis is so much more than just a game, by Kritin Thapar

Updated: Jan 22, 2022

Tennis has been a big part of my life since I was about 8. My parents first got me into the sport thinking it would be a great way for me to exercise and get out of the house, but what we soon figured was that the sport offered so much more.

These days, we are all faced with so many unforeseen obstacles and challenges that we can only hope we have the tools to face and overcome them. In today's ever-changing world, everyone faces different challenges and I strongly believe that a sport such as tennis can teach us how to keep a positive mindset, a never-give-up mentality and discipline. These are only a few of the many adaptable tools that we can then use to enhance both our personal and professional lives. Personally, playing tennis over the years has also shown me that that it is not only a great sport in maintaining one’s fitness and strength, but it truly teaches one the depths of their inner strength, discipline, and the ability to master one’s emotions. In addition to all this, the social benefits that tennis and other sports provide are unmatched, in my opinion.

Growing up, I wouldn’t exactly classify myself as an introvert, but I always did have some trouble meeting new people. Tennis was the first outlet that was able to grow my horizons in terms of friends outside of just school. I was not only able to meet new people, but somehow effortlessly befriend them. The hardest part of meeting and befriending people is finding individuals who share interests and goals. Tennis provides us with an opportunity to meet like-minded people. After high school I went on to study abroad and faced issues in meeting new people who shared my interests and ambitions. I joined our University's club tennis team and was able to meet such a diverse pool of people who eventually not only became some of my best friends but also helped me grow as an individual. Tennis will always be a sport that can bring people from different backgrounds together on neutral ground and help them truly appreciate each other.

In addition to the social aspect that tennis helps motivate, it has also helped me grow and strengthen my psychological side. I truly believe that one’s mental health is as important as one’s physical health. Over the years, tennis has helped me gain control over my emotions not only on the court but in just about every difficult circumstance. I have faced several situations where I was put or put myself under immense pressure and faced uncertainty and/or adversity. During such times, I was fortunate enough to have tennis as a way to build my mental fortitude and provide me a positive outlook.

Often, in our country, there is a common misconception about sports in general, that they don’t really provide children with a future. Parents mainly want their children to focus on school, which, in their mind, provides them a clear career path. The one thing people don’t think about is how tennis and other sports can provide a great, safe, learning environment for children, teaching them invaluable life skills, that will no doubt help them grow both personally and professionally.

About the contributor: Kritin graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign in 2020. His short-term goals are pursuing a career in financial consulting, hopefully working in a relatively new firm that can provide him with great overall exposure to various industries. Long term/in a few years, Kritin plans on going back to school to pursue a masters in finance and or business analytics.

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