If you haven’t noticed it has been a little windy outside lately. Windy days are one of my pet peeves, unfortunately there isn’t much I can do about them.

Running in the wind is a great training tool for resistance and building muscle I suppose, but some days I certainly could do without it. I feel as if someone has a hold of my shirt and is pulling me back and I am getting nowhere. I often let out a disgusted scream or grunt like my tennis hero, Monica Seles. Now, there is a girl with some serious lung power.

Before I started running, I couldn’t get enough of playing tennis. As a teenager I would wake up early on Saturday mornings just to watch tennis matches — breakfast at Wimbledon was one of my favorites. I obviously wasn’t one of those kids who slept until noon. Surprisingly, I woke my parents up. They used to yell at me, “We are still trying to sleep. Turn that down.”

During my tennis years, my parents’ home took quite a beating. I used to hit my tennis ball inside the garage. I would have great matches against myself. Unfortunately, I would get a little carried away and a bit wild at times and broke several light fixtures — too many that I can count.

I then moved outside and pummeled the rear of the house. And then one night, I kept hitting the ball harder and harder. My dad yelled out the kitchen window for me to stop; “You’re going to break that window!” But since I was a teenager, I kept on going and didn’t listen. “What did he know anyway?” Well, obviously more than a 16-year-old girl because I eventually broke the garage door window. That was not a good night for the Bicker household — especially me.

As soon as I received my driver’s license, I drove to the tennis court in Erie, Ill., every day during the summer and hit tennis balls against the school’s wall. It was great practice. I think my parents were thrilled to see me leave so I couldn’t do any more damage to their property.

Playing in Erie was great, I took my CD player with me and I usually had the whole court to myself.

The tennis court also happened to be right next to the all-terrain track and one day I provided some much needed entertainment for an older gentleman who was walking there.

Every time I hit the ball, I let out a loud grunt, “Uhhhh!” After his walk, he yelled over at me and said, “It’s too bad there isn’t somebody to yell back at you!” After that I decided I might need to hold it down a bit. Heh, even Monica Seles had her grunting critics.

But every once in a while, I get that old urge to grunt when I run — it’s funny what habits you pick up over time. Unfortunately the more I ran, the less I played tennis.

I started playing tennis in eighth grade and continued until six years ago. I really miss playing.

Maybe, someday I will get back into the “swing” of things. Until then, my rackets will be ready and waiting for my comeback.

(I would like to remind everyone that there is still time to participate in the annual Easter Seals Walk/Run, which is 8 a.m. Sunday. Pre-race check in will be at the Clinton Masonic Center.)



Angie Bicker is the lifestyles editor with the Clinton Herald. She has been with the Herald since 2001.