#TBT — Summer, 1971, at 3605 Rosedale, Dallas Texas

Here I am at 10 years old — on my way to my first state ranking ever, #5 in Texas for Boys’ 10-and-under — practicing my serve in the driveway of our home in Dallas.


serve 1971

I am serving towards our detached garage (I have noticed some subdivisions in Fort Mill, SC advertising their retro appeal with “detached garages”) which I often used as a backboard to practice my strokes as I learned the game.

I had somehow convinced my older sister Nancy (who was herself a state champion in tennis) to stand in front of that garage and take my picture while I served RIGHT AT HER.

Fortunately, at 10 years old, I wasn’t serving at 120 mph.  Actually, I never served at 120 mph.  Anyway, Nancy emerged unscathed and we have this, the earliest photo of me in action, reserved for posterity.

In the picture you can see the painted-green addition of our family den and, up on the second floor, the window into my bedroom from childhood all the way until I left for college.