Most days you expect the same-old, same-old routine. Little do you know when an event will occur that becomes a life-changing experience, for you and possibly others.
Sixty-something Clint Smalley had one of those days two Fridays ago when he left to go play tennis with his normal 3 p.m. tennis group at the Yavapai College tennis courts.
It's the kind of group where you just show up and the numbers dictate if you're playing singles, doubles, or waiting your turn because you're the odd man out. Lisa Rouse and David Rainey were the first of the group to show up, closely followed by Russ Wagner and Orlando Martinez.
The group finally rounded out to two courts of doubles with Dave and Lisa playing against the husband wife team of Katie and Trey Dowdy on court 2, Russ and Orlando against Clint and Raymond Armes on court 1.
Clint and Raymond had just finished beating Russ and Orlando in a set when Dwayne LeSassier made his way to their court. Clint said he needed a rest and Dwayne could take his place and proceeded to the bench to sit and watch.
Dwayne was returning a serve when all four players heard Clint fall onto the court in front of where he had been sitting. Clint had not been complaining of any problems or discomfort.
Raymond ran over to him with no clue as to what was happening. Looking at Clint's face, he could see what everyone fears most: a cardiac arrest taking place - a heart attack.
Clint's face was white, his eyes rolled back, and an absence of normal breathing was taking place ... and then it stopped.
Raymond shook him and called Clint's name with no response. Then yelled for someone to call 911. He then jumped up, grabbed his phone out of his tennis bag and made the call while the others assisted Clint.
Dwayne could not find a pulse. Katie who's a nursing student at Yavapai College started compressions when it was obvious he wasn't breathing. Raymond and Russ informed the firemen of what was taking place while they were on their way, and Lisa went down to the street to direct them to the site.
In minutes the fire trucks and police arrived with a multitude of EMT's. They immediately started compressions of 200 repetitions at a time, gave Clint eppie injections, an I-V, and multiple electric shocks to bring his heart back to life.
In Clint's bag Ray found a cellphone and contacts for his friends and family, which helped the paramedics learn knowledge of his medical history.
As they stabilized his condition and were readying for his trip to the hospital, Ray collected all of Clint's personal items and gave it to the police officer.
Clint said he awoke with no recollection of what had taken place, on Monday, wondering where he was, and with a pacemaker planted in his chest to help make sure this type of event doesn't take place again.
He came home from the hospital six days later, with a very sore chest, family members and his girlfriend by his side, and a new lease on life.
"I'm so thankful to everyone there who helped me, especially Katie who saved my life, the firemen, police, hospital and doctors, my girlfriend and family," Clint said. "I get another chance thanks to all of them."
Everyone ended up winning this time around.
Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.