Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do You Know Larry Bauer?

You probably don't...but in a way, you probably do. I ran across this photo while cleaning some boxes at my parents's home. I had a few old college newpapers, and in one was this newpaper photo which I scanned of Larry Bauer. To call us aquaintances would probably be a stretch. He was an upper classman in my fraternity and we had hardly had any conversations, me being a freshman. I was playing tennis up at one of the courts at my alma mater, Weber State College (now, Weber State University) and I don't remember the exact circumstances. Larry was a member of the college varsity tennis team. I guess he had seen me playing and came over and asked if he could show me a few things. I said sure, and Larry showed me a four step approach to the serve. He rotated my grip, turning the racket about a quarter to a three-eights turn different than the "shake hands" grip I used for my forehand. I did what he said, and the ball popped off my racket, into the opposite service court. It was amazing, because the grip felt so unnatural, the four steps so rigid, and yet it produced results.

"Results" is a vastly underrated description. It revolutionized my serve. I had decent ground strokes, and now I had an offensive weapon. I don't think Larry spent more than 20 minutes at most with me, but I benefited from that 20 minutes EVERY time I returned to the tennis courts. Even today, when things go a little awry in my serve, I return to the basics I learned that day, kind of a recalibration. The grip on the racket still feels unnatural in my hand, but the results have a familiar spirit.

Larry didn't have to spend any time with me that day. I didn't beckon him. He just spent a little time with me that was literally life changing for me. I was a pretty successful intermediate tennis player, and I owe a bit of every successful match to what learned that day. Since I found this photo, I tried to locate Larry via the phone book and Google, with no luck. It would be nice to tell him what an impact he had on my enjoyment of tennis.

So, do you know Larry Bauer? You do if someone has given you some of their time to make your life a little better, a little simpler, or a little happier. It may not last as long as a lifetime of recreational tennis, but it is good nonetheless. Additionally, you just might be someone else's Larry Bauer. You never know.