DEAR ABBY: I am writing because I have no one else who will give me advice. I am a freshman in high school and have never really been interested in playing sports. I am on the speech team, math club and newspaper staff.
My parents feel that I have to play a sport. They have paid for lessons in dance and tennis, but I really have no interest in playing. I even tried to make the dance team to please them, but I didn't make it. They just don't seem to understand that I don't like sports. Today I had my tennis lesson and played really bad. I tried, but I must have had an off day.
When I got in the car, my parents chewed me out. They said I was lazy, and I was going to play a sport whether I liked it or not. I like to play tennis occasionally, but I'm not in love with it.
Can you help me get the message across to them that I don't want to play sports, nor do I like them? Please help! -- ELLEN IN FRANKLIN, TENN.
DEAR ELLEN: You have my sympathy. I took tennis lessons for seven months straight. At the end of that time the only person I could rally with was my instructor because no matter where I hit the ball, he could manage to get it back to me. No one else was so generous. So the answer to the question, "Tennis, anyone?" is, "Perhaps. But not EVERYone."
Your parents may be trying to teach you the importance of being physically fit as well as intellectually active. Exercise relieves stress, tones muscles and burns calories, to mention only a few of the plusses. A compromise may be in order. Rather than taking tennis lessons, ask them if you can join a gym and agree to go there three or four times a week for cardiovascular exercise and some weight-training with professional supervision. You'll be learning health habits that will last a lifetime -- and it will get you off your rusty-dusty.