Sorry, Sorry


One of my favorite pass times is tennis. I enjoy the competitive, physical, and social aspects of the game. Participation in any sport requires an understanding of the rules, specific equipment and apparel, and I believe a commitment to game etiquette. Within our club, everyone seems to have the equipment, apparel, and knowledge of the rules,but some people have absolutely no idea about tennis etiquette.

A few weeks ago I was looking forward to my scheduled tennis. As we always do before we play, we engaged in a ten minute warm up to get the feel of the ball on the racket and assess our opponents. While doing so, a women walked on our court, waving her arms frantically, saying ” Sorry…Sorry…” as she scurried across our court to the next court. While that court had its own entry gate for easy access, she chose to interrupt us anyway. I shook my head in disbelief. She had no idea about tennis etiquette. “Sorry, sorry” just wasn’t a substitute for poor tennis etiquette.

Yesterday I was playing tennis again. This time we were in the middle of a game when this same woman appeared and began her scurrying routine saying “Sorry, Sorry…” as she made her way to another court, which again, had a gate of its own. “Sorry, sorry” just doesn’t cut it. When you know you are doing something wrong, no amount of “Sorry, sorry” makes it okay.

On the drive home, I recalled a line in the play “Best of Enemies”, where C.P. Ellis offered a quick, insincere apology to Mary, and she responded:
“A true sorry is not something you say. A true sorry is something you show.”

Mary’s point is obvious. When we apologize for our behavior we are acknowledging a mishap or wrong doing, and the next step is to stop/change that behavior so as not to repeat it!!!! Otherwise the apology is just empty words.

Here’s my rule of thumb: If I find myself apologizing several times for the same behavior such as interrupting or forgetting a birthday, then it is time to change my behavior. Or, if the behavior, however annoying to others, is one that I choose not to change, then I will stop apologizing for it, and accept it as a quirk in my personality and, incidentally suffer the consequences for continuing.

For example, tennis etiquette requires that you bring an unopened can of tennis balls to a game. While I have 2 cases of balls at home, I was forgetting to put them in my tennis bag. Realizing my repetitive apologies were ”getting old”, I decided to change my behavior. I put the case of balls in the trunk of my car and no longer had to apologize.

And further, I find myself repeatedly apologizing to my friends for asking two and three times about their schedule: “Sorry,sorry. I forgot! Did you say you are here this week?” We have busy schedules and try to get together whenever we are in town at the same time. The problem is simple: I cannot possibly retain their travel plans when I have difficulty recalling my own. I cannot change that forgetful behavior but I can stop saying “I’m sorry” about it.

“A true sorry is not something you say. A true sorry is something you show.”

I have eliminated the meaningless “sorry, sorry.”

Now that all being said, please excuse this late posting. “Sorry, sorry!!!”–I was in Germany, Prague and Luxembourg and had difficulty getting to this site. Since I will be traveling again, I will post my blogs ahead of schedule, eliminating the need for “sorry, sorry” in the future.

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