My First (Athletic) Love

Yesterday was a fabulous day! One of my friends is from Toronto (eh?), and belongs to some private club there that has reciprocal privileges with the New York Athletic Club. 

The New York Athletic Club has a clubhouse in the city, but more importantly, has a clubhouse in Pelham Manor, just outside the city, called Travers Island.

New York Athletic Club Travers Island

So after procuring some sexy little tennis bloomers from Paragon the other night for under my tennis whites, I hopped on the shuttle yesterday at 9am with a group of girlfriends for a day of sun, fun and tennis. 

Lilly seahorses

Oh, and it was a good day to bust out my favorite bikini for the season.

The NYAC has a really cool history. It was founded in 1868 as a way to grow and develop amateur sport in the U.S. More than 100 NYAC athletes have won gold medals since then! And yesterday was their Athlete Appreciation Day, and so a huge group of athletes was at the club yesterday, parked on lounge chairs right by us, including one hot little dude with some casual Olympic rings tattooed on the inside of his forearm.

Before discovering running, my athletic drug of choice was tennis. It’s safe to say I was fully obsessed with the sport from the age of 10 to the age of about 16. It’s a huge pain in the ass to play in NYC, though, so I don’t play often any more, but I was really excited to hit the courts.

My mom and I exchanged Bailey for my tennis stuff on Friday, and I got seduced by Paragon’s $5/day offer to demo a racquet since the strings in the racquet my mom brought me are pretty loose. I tried out a Babolat AeroPro Team Racquet and really liked it. Back in the day, my favorite racquet was the Wilson Hammer, affectionately known as the skunk. (I just went to Google it, and the description in the first result says it was “one of the most popular racquets of the 1990s.” SO RETRO.) I asked for a similar racquet to that, and was given the Babolat. It’s not too light or too heavy, and it doesn’t have one of those oversized heads that made my old coach say I was playing like a grandpa. (My grandpa was pretty kickass though, so not a huge diss.)

ANYWAY. We laid out, we swam, we laughed, we kicked off rosé season, and then we played tennis.

Preppy Runner Tennis

This skirt is from high school, which I consider a major non-scale victory. 

My friend Karen and I played a set, and she handily beat me 6-2. I was frustrated that I didn’t retain more muscle memory and that most of my points lost were on just totally missing the ball, and points won were based on Karen totally missing, not on either of our skills. I remember back in the day, I had great precision with my shots, but wasn’t always the best runner. I had a friend I played with in high school who did both track and running, and we always joked we’d be the perfect combination of one person; I could place the ball, she could hustle to it. Now, I can hustle to the ball but my racquet forgets to do when it gets there.

But it brought back so many happy memories being out there on the court, with the hot sun beating down, running up and down and back and forth across the court.

IMG 7148

Gratuitous “tennis team” photo.

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Oh, and the pool wasn’t too shabby, either. Before cleaning up, we practiced our cannonballs. YOLO, or something.


How’d you celebrate the first day of summer? What was your first athletic love?

10 comments on “My First (Athletic) Love

  1. Patty @ Reach Your Peak

    My parents made me take tennis lessons for years in elementary school and I used to hate it. I recently started playing (“playing” lol) again and am so mad I didn’t take it more seriously back in the day. That NYAC club looks amazing!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      When I was in high school and didn’t make the team freshman and junior year, I was pissed at all the people who made the team and only did it because their parents made them! I definitely want to get more back into it…someday. For now, endurance sports are my jam 🙂 NYAC was fabulous!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      Exactly! That was how I got into running over tennis as an adult. Tennis = coordinating with someone else + usually paying every time you want to do it. Running = just run out the door!

  2. Shawna

    this place looks beautiful. i’ve never played tennis at all actually…my first athletic love was gymnastics, but my fave growing up was soccer. totally loving the World Cup right now. i kicked off Summer 1st by spending the day at the beach with girlfriends (after a great morning run) and then hitting a rooftop at night — perfecto.

  3. Tangerine Sneakers

    Omg I love it! Sometimes I read your blog and feel like we are the same person. Tennis was my first athletic love, too! I spent most of my childhood summers living the country club life. Wish I could go back!

  4. B

    Can I make a suggestion? I’ve been noticing it for a while. You either need better bras or longer exercise tanks. your bras + short tanks make you look frumpy. Try investing in the lululemon cool racerback tanks – they are super flattering. I know they don’t sponsor you and it’s not Propel brand recommended so you prob won’t do it but just a suggestion.

    1. Ash Bear

      @B: I will definitely check this tank out as I too have had issues with tank tops lately. Theodora and I always joke that we have the short torso curse. But dude, play nice. Your comment went from being helpful to just plain mean within seconds. I’m sticking up for my best friend here but as someone who reads her blog daily, she doesn’t only talk about sponsors.

      1. B

        @Ash Bear: Good point Ash Bear. Maybe the comment about the sponsors was too much and I apologize for that. I’m just frustrated with all these bloggers who are all about sponsors these days. In any case, lululemon cool racer back tanks are fantastic.


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