Buckle Up! Dating Can be a Wild Ride!

I do a lot of traveling all around the world competing with tennis and I meet a lot of very cool people. While at tournaments, I spend most of my time with my fellow American tennis players, and the majority of that time, with my good friend and doubles partner - Nick Taylor. Nick and I have played doubles together since 2003. We have traveled the world together and won multiple tournaments and awards. We are three time back to back to back, Paralympic doubles Gold Medalists, and are both training hard now to win our fourth consecutive doubles Gold Medal. 

Nick was born with a condition, called Arthrogryposis, where you are born with joint contractures. This means some joints don't move as much as normal and may even be stuck in one position. Often the muscles around these joints are thin, weak, stiff or missing. As result of this, Nick isn’t able to push a manual wheelchair so he uses an electric power chair to play tennis, as well as, in his everyday life.

Over the course of our thirteen years of traveling together, we have had some up and downs, not only on the tennis court, but also in our ventures on flirting and trying to pick up girls. A few years back, Nick and I were in Nottingham, England for the British Open. We go to the same venue for the tournament almost every year. However, this year, the tournament organizers had rearranged the Player’s Lounge and brought in on-site chefs and servers. The servers, this year, were very attractive females. This of course, caught Nick's and my attention on day one. As the tournament moved forward, Nick and I became quite friendly with a couple of the servers. The night the tournament was over, I had won the singles title and Nick and I won the doubles title. We decided this called for a little celebration, so we invited our new found (cute) friends out with us, and they agreed to come. Nick and I were very happy after winning the doubles together, and excited to celebrate with our new friends. 

During our flirtation with them, Nick and I offered the girls an opportunity to sit in our wheelchairs. We let them get in and try them on their own. We like to see if they can do wheelies and other tricks without falling over. This night, our new friends decided they wanted to try out our chairs. They were trying to do wheelies in my manual chair and wheelies and spinouts in Nick’s power chair. Nick and I were just sitting in the booth watching and laughing with them. When they had finished trying different tricks, Nick and I got back in our chairs and they asked us to show them how it was done. I showed them how to do a wheelie, while Nick was getting ready to show them how he does one. Nick's power chair has a seat belt like a lap style belt in a car. Because of his disability, he wears this seat belt to prevent him from falling frontwards out of his chair. Nick was ready to show how he does a wheelie. To do this, he gets a bit of start from a ways back then leans back really hard and his front wheels lift off the ground while he is riding on the back ones. He thought he would hold the wheelie as long as possible and at the last possible moment, slams the front wheels down and quickly stops the chair right in front of us and the table. This idea was great and looked awesome until I saw Nick’s seatbelt dangling off to the side of his chair and not around his waist. He must have realized this too; at about the same time I did, because the smile on his face turned to a look of horror. Before we knew it, Nick had slammed his chair to a complete stop which catapulted his entire body out of the chair and towards the table we all were sitting around. He landed partially on the table, flipping it over and spilling everything onto him as he, the table, and the food all ended up on the floor. The venue went from loud music blasting, to a place so quiet you could hear your heart beating. At first we were unsure of what to do, so one of our coaches leaned down and asked Nick if he was alright. His instant response was, “The girls didn’t happen to see that, did they?” We all burst into laughter because we knew then that he was ok. To this day, we still laugh about that night. Whenever I see Nick, the first thing I ask him is if he has his seatbelt on. Needless to say, to this day we are still friends with girls who came to celebrate with us that night!


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