I like to swear, or so I thought.

Usually it’s on a tennis court out of frustration at myself. Sometimes it’s while I’m in the Jeep with the expletives directed at other drivers. Other times it’s random like when I’ve rammed my toe into a hard object that didn’t move or I’m trying to fix something that seems to want to remain broken.

My parents rarely swore. I remember the occasional shit. Mom still rarely swears; at least not audibly. I never heard either one use the F word and would be shocked if I learned they ever did.

I, on the other hand, cannot say the same. I have never been one to swear in everyday conversations, so to speak. But I also have not shied away from using colorful language.

What I’ve noticed lately is that I have been swearing less. I give credit to the group of guys I am regularly playing tennis with. They don’t swear. Not never, but so seldom it’s noticeable.

If it were just two or three guys not swearing that would be one thing, but there is a dozen or so guys who rotate in and out of our twice a week court dates.

I asked a few why they don’t swear; admitting that my girlfriends and I would swear on the court routinely. One said how he learned quickly in high school (he is older than me, so this was decades ago) that if he were to swear, he would have been kicked off the team. Essentially, they said it was about sportsmanship. It certainly had nothing to do with me being the only woman on the court.

They also said they had no problem if I wanted to swear. I laughed, and then swore.

What I’ve noticed as the weeks roll by is I’m swearing less and even more surprising I want to swear less. So, it’s not just being silent, it’s that the words are not the first I think of in frustration. I’ll never be perfect, but this less swearing thing can only be a good thing.

Who knew a group of men would be what I needed to clean up my mouth.

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