Julie L. Kessler
lawyer traveler writer


You Have To Do The Foot Work

You Have To Do The Foot Work is the working title of my next book. The title was inspired by a kindly tennis teacher who continues to not so kindly remind his stubborn students that the various tennis strokes they attempt will simply not bear fruit if the footwork isn’t properly executed and followed through.


I pondered that concept for a few days and it stuck with me as having a far larger meaning than simply on the tennis court. There is obviously (pardon the pun) a concrete foundation for all important things in life which one wants to accomplish, whether personal or professional.


Interestingly enough, this concept came home to roost this past Friday morning once again while on the tennis court, though this time without our tennis teacher. Our somewhat irregular Friday foursome was in the last throes of our doubles match. A fairly rambunctious group of women comprised of a former career flight attendant with a wonderfully infectious hearty laugh, another with a constant smile the size of Alaska, and the fourth, a lovely lady from Tennessee who is a far better player than the remaining three of us, yet always gracious in her compliments when we manage a good shot.


An hour or so into the match, two handsome men, probably in their early 30’s in wheel chairs descended on the vacant court next to ours. I became utterly mesmerized by them. They were fitted with some specially designed athletic wheelchairs which allowed for maximum maneuverability and stability on the court. One of the two was a tennis coach and also had a specialized cart for his constant supply of tennis balls. I could not take my eyes off of these two men. Watching them play tennis was akin to seeing The Bolshoi Ballet perform Swan Lake, albeit without the tutus. These men glided across the court, turned and swerved short, hit the ball, maneuvered the distance again, slammed the ball, slid across the court, repeat, repeat, repeat. From purely a physics standpoint, I couldn’t make out how they managed to race back to the speeding ball in time to slam it, time and time again.


I was completely mesmerized. Hooked on watching the men on the next court, I nearly got a concussion when a ball came right at my head from Ms. Alaska, but I wasn’t at all prepared as I was so intently watching the two men. (For sure, some of you are now thinking “What else is new, you are always watching men!”) Fortunately for me, our match was over 20 minutes later, and I then spent the next several minutes intently watching these two men having a ball while playing ball.


It got me to thinking about “Foot Work” and what it means for each of us. Without a doubt, these two men were doing all kinds of “Foot Work,” but amazingly without the benefit of their feet. It was something to watch and a sight to behold, and admittedly, I spent the majority of the weekend intermittently looking at my feet, thinking about the thousands of miles around the world they had traversed without complaint and likewise carried me judiciously in various runs the world over. My gratitude was palpable and I embraced in my mind’s eye those two tennis players whose “can do” spirit in the face of staggering odds was utterly awe inspiring. You Have To Do The Foot Work for sure; but one thing is clear, there are very many ways of doing that. JLK

Date Posted:  Sep. 10 2012