The Social Game

Make It Fun

By Daisy Fuentes

By Daisy Fuentes
Tennis is one of my favorite activities. It's simply a wonderful mix of sports and socializing. So many times I'll just call a friend and say, "Hey, come on over. You bring a friend, I'll bring a friend and we'll play doubles." And then afterward we can sit around and talk or even have a nice meal. What more could you ask for than the chance to enjoy yourself, burn a bunch of calories, get a little sun and entertain yourself with your pals?

The great thing about playing doubles is that it doesn't even matter if the people playing are on the same level as you or not. I'll admit: I'm not that good. I'm hardly the next Andre Agassi, but I bet I might even give him a good giggle or two if we were to hit for a little while.

Tennis is also a great way to make new friends. You go on a vacation, meet some new people and play tennis with them. That whole process of playing with someone is special, and I've often made lasting friendships through sharing a tennis court.

I've been involved in tennis since I was a little kid in Spain. My dad was a pretty good player, and the matches he played with his circle of friends had a terrific balance of lively competition and engaging conversation. When I was 9 or 10 years old, I'd sit by the court and watch these matches, since they were so entertaining. Afterward I'd hang out with him and his tennis buddies and we'd all have a lot of good laughs-sometimes about the tennis, but often about other things, too. People just feel so much more relaxed after spending time on a tennis court.

I only wish that I had started playing tennis earlier. I didn't really start playing more until I was an adult. It would have been great to have received proper training at a young age and avoid picking up the bad habits you can sometimes develop when you start playing the game later in life. Of course, even if I'd been a high-powered tennis player when I was younger, I like to think I'd still keep that spirit of fun in my mind.

Still, as much as I like to laugh on the tennis court, I love the way the sport helps me stay in shape, too, which is extremely important for my job. You may think being an entertainer is all about exotic locations and great events, but I also spend a lot of lonely hours in the exercise room or on a track.

But tennis gives me a chance to exercise in a social environment. The chance to hang out with friends and get an excellent workout is as good as it gets for me.

Another great thing about the social aspect of tennis is that it's a universal language. Tennis brings together people from all walks of life. Once you're out on a tennis court, it's all even. Whether you're playing at a public park or at a fancy club, a ritzy hotel or a local high school, you just play the game and try as hard as you can. It's very fair, and it's inexpensive to play. You can go out on court in a simple T-shirt and shorts. You don't have to get the best equipment in order to play the game. A can of balls costs hardly anything.

I intend to play a lot more tennis in the years to come. Balancing tennis with my work isn't easy, but whenever I see people with that passion and desire to play, it gets me inspired, too. I have no doubt my best days on the court are ahead of me. If you keep having fun whenever you play, I'm sure the same will also hold true for you.

Entertainer Daisy Fuentes is a fitness advocate and former MTV personality.