This article is the fourth part of Dr. Ferraro’s series, The Tennis Guru. You can read the first three parts here at NYTennisMag.com.
As the boat bumped up against the dock, Yin awoke and looked about. He saw Virgil the Turtle standing on the Dock and beyond him was a pathway through the woods and then up the mountain. Yin rubbed his eyes and was about to step onto the dock when Charon touched his shoulder and said, “Stop my young friend, I have something to give you that will be of great use to you on your journey.”
With that, Charon handed Yin a golden ring shaped like a skull with the word “courage” inscribed on the inside.
Yin blinked and asked Charon why he was giving him this ring.
“You will need this ring as you travel up the mountain. It will be a reminder that you now possess courage by virtue of traveling on my boat along the River Styx. Never take the ring off of your finger no matter what happens. There will be some who you meet along the way that may try to steal it from you because this ring has many magical powers. The one who wears it possesses great courage and strength. I grant it to you because you have already shown courage. Best of luck on your journey my friend. You have my blessings.”
With that, Yin put the ring on his finger, jumped onto the dock and off he went with Virgil into the woods. The woods were truly dark and deep, and they heard many mysterious sounds from creatures who seemed to be nearby but weren’t visible. They heard birds screeching and animals snarling as they walked along the small path. Ordinarily Yin would have been afraid but each time he gazed down at his golden ring he felt safe and calm. As they walked on, Yin remarked to Virgil, “Boy it sure is taking us a long time to get up the mountain to see The Tennis Guru.”
Virgil looked up at Yin, smiled and said, “Yin it is true, our journey has been a long one but think of all you have learned.”
“What did I learn?” asked Yin. “I haven’t hit a shot yet and I haven’t seen the Tennis Guru either.”
Virgil replied: “But Yin we have already learned three things that you will need in the future. We know you have great passion for tennis. Why else would you even start this journey? We have learned that things cannot be rushed along the way. And you now have the golden ring to protect you. You are well on your way to overcoming all the fear and shame you brought with you.”
“Maybe you’re right Virgil,” said Yin. “I do feel stronger now. Hey, look over there. Is that a cave?”
To be continued...