Playing with the Boys Part Two

Posted on June 13, 2010

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This is a follow up to my “Playing with the Boys” post earlier this week.  I played a hard day of tennis yesterday and have another match today or two.  The last match I played was late last night, mixed doubles.  My mixed partner is my hitting partner who we drill several times a week.  His name is Charlie.  Charlie and I got to the court around 6pm, hopped on an empty one to warm up for about an hour while we were waiting for our opponents to get off the court at another indoor club as it had been pouring rain all day long.  Charlie, the little goof ball, assumed that since it was pouring rain, the tourney would get cancelled.  So, Charlie went into his usual Saturday morning routine….cardio tennis for an hour (think of marine boot camp), another tough tennis clinic for another hour, oh and this after his regular workout routine on the bike.  Um, imagine his dismay when he got my voice mail that yes, we would be playing.

Me????  Well, I already had played a very grueling match…long, humid, hot.  And also drilled.  Legs were tired, fighting dehydration.  So, after about an hour of hitting and both of us fighting some cramping we decide to grab protein bars and rest.  Let’s just say it was over a 3 hr wait for our opponents.  The waiting is the worst part.  My former mixed doubles partner who is a friend comes over to meet Charlie and chat.  He is waiting too, only his wait is worse.  He is to play the winner of our match and we haven’t even gotten on the court.  I make the grave mistake of asking “hey, do you know anything about the people we are playing?”  Too which, Rob begins the onslaught of telling us how good they are and how the wipe everybody off of the court every tournament.  Charlie, who is tired already, begins slumping onto the table in front of him.  I can feel my own body slumping.

“Yep,” Rob says.  “I’m really hoping you guys can pull it out because we don’t want to play them.”

“Great,” I say.

Charlie says, “Well hopefully it’ll be over quick so I can go home and cook my sirloin and rice.”  Charlie and I divert our gaze from the games going on the tennis courts and stare mindlessly at the Bachelorette on the TV plasma screen.

Finally our opponents show up.  They are a chipper friendly pair.  We shake hands and head to our court.  They bounce along ahead of us.  Charlie and I drudge along behind quietly already resigned in defeat.  The warmup simply helps propel us down the doom attitude.  Our opponents hitting nice crisp shots, Charlie and I flailing at balls as if we are learning the game, or at least, shocked that a ball shows up which is not a good thing.

The match begins with Charlie serving and we quickly lose that game.  We towel off as the humidity is quite terrible and they serve.  Another quick drop of game and now we are really slumped.  Then I serve.  An ace.  Hmm, Charlie and I look at each other surprised.  Next serve I go out wide to the fellow and he tries to go cross court.  Charlie cuts it off with a cross court winner.  We get that game.  What happens next?  Well, Charlie and I suddenly believe that we can compete with this team.  We get a little bounce in our step, shoulders are back, chests held higher, shots a little crisper, feet a little faster.  We end up losing the match, but it was hard fought, and for that I’m very proud.  I’m proud that we were able to change the attitude from defeat before our feet hit the court, to we can play with these guys.  We were able to believe…and well, isn’t that what is most important?

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