2 Replies to “‘Rackets are their business’”

  1. Funny how these businesses that seemed so immovable and part of the furniture of growing up have vanished. I remember McLarens. We got slazenger tennis balls from there and swimming trunks too. I’m sure my mum got us boys track suits from there as older children. To me, it seemed a very “slick” experience going into a “sports shop”. Very impressive. A world away from the shop I was used to, my father’s, which was full of tea, tins, matches, bottled sweets and refrigerated cold meat and milk bottles. And yet it too passes into the land of “pensive memory” and the rarefied aura of sports equipment has likewise vanished. My mum no longer can play tennis due to infirmity and in my eyes the sun seems dimmed by that, the importance of sport she quietly assented to has probably helped keep her in some degree of health but it doesn’t stem the tide of time and sooner or later it will come in too far. Sport is too often consigned to a leisure pursuit. And so often – perhaps as an outsider to it – to me it seems in some ways a fruit out of reach of many. The fear of failure, the cost, the awkwardness, aye even the commitment put folk off and so the beneficial element of it is ditched. Mrs Motion had the right idea in Bridge of Allan and it was thanks to the legacy of her exertions (the free tennis courts in Keir Street) that I ever played tennis. It was thanks to the university pool and the old provost’s pool that my brothers and I ever learned to swim in a safe environment. But for a mother who was concerned about the health of her sons and the enjoyment to be had from play, we might never have had the incentive to do any of those things and McLarens would have been meaningless. It has to start somewhere. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – No work and all play may well have the same result. The balance is there to be made. Achievement is fine and not to be discouraged but playing the game is surely playing the better part and “being humble in victory and magnanimous in defeat”, since at some point we must all lay down our bats and rackets and look back on what our striving has achieved? I hope we can say we played a good game.

    1. Dear Gavin,
      Thank you for sharing these special memories/considerations on the importance of place, people and passing time. Your write most beautifully.

      aye peter

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.