Archive for August, 2009

The fairness of NTRP

I’ve taken many doubles lessons with few coaches. They all insisted that we, the newbies and green tomatoes should approach the net together. I always found it odd. Yes, the pros do that. I saw. But we aren’t, we couldn’t and unable. The coaches seem to forget our level of play or skills.

What were they thinking.

The other day, I read the National Tennis Rating Program NTRP. For 3.0, it indicates ..

Most common doubles formation is one-up, oneback

This IS pretty accurate, they recognize how the weekend hackers play.
the lovey doveyThe purpose of the program is intended for a player to rate himself to participate in a league/tourney, for a leveled playing field. In reality? Most players adhere to it and few don’t. One seasoned female league player said there are few who like to dumb down and enjoy the winning .. .. going to the National competition, almost every year. A few good (sports)men. It beats me. I enjoy a fair game. A good game comes before win or lose.

.. This pair Simon and I played last Sunday was one of them: she’s 3.5 and he’s solid 5.0. Do you enjoy beating a 3.0 or 4.0 opponent? (Well, there was prize money involved ..) Irene doesn’t. Perhaps I’m more of a manthan a man, the third sex. I shut up, or suck up. Don’t like it? Don’t particpate. Nothing is perfect. Deal with it like a man 🙂

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A net lesson

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Mingbao’s coverage of the tourney (on page B28) at Syracuse.

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Rick Pitino

Louisville coach Rick Pitino dominates the sports channel, talking about .. his consensual sex with a woman and paid for an abortion for her (in 2003) who now has been charged with trying to extort him.

The flushing line on the bottom is Rick Pitino apologies for ‘indiscretion’ 6 years ago

Karen Cunagin Sypher was federally charged in April with demanding cars, tuition for her children and finally $10 million. Police interviewed Pitino, who is married with five children, regarding the incident last month, and according to the newspaper, he said that he gave the woman $3,000 to have an abortion.

I don’t follow basketball. When I did follow Knicks back then was due to its two good-looking highflying coaches: Ricky (1987-9) and Pat Riley (1991-4). Not sure how does Riley looks now, but I found Ricky looks terrible, as if he’s had a bad face lift, especially his eyes. Michael Jacksoned?

Pitino told police that Cunagin Sypher called him about two weeks after the initial encounter and said that she was pregnant. They arranged to meet at the condominium of Louisville strength coach Tim Sypher, whom she did not know at that time but would later marry.

So odd, a weird marriage/relationship.

Btw, can a pregnancy be detected within two weeks of time?

It looks like neither his university is firing him or putting him on probation nor his wife is dragged on to the stage. Good thing.

I always feel the sports people have more common sense.

Win and loss is so instantaneous and apparent, there isn’t a room for nonsense.

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Where is Mariana Alves now?

Flipping burgers? … Apparently she continued, and retired in 2019. My good lord how many victims she left behind?  Victoria Azarenka in 2013, Maria Sharapova in 2014

The other night ESPN put this 2004 US Open semi final match: Serena Williams’ loss to Jennifer Capriati at Flushing Meadow. I watched it on TV live at time. The dingy who perched high on the chair during the match must be blind n retard – she was Mariana Alves who’s from Portugal.
I’m just wondering where is she now. Who’d use her again?! – the Open dismissed her.
Reportedly, the US Open apologized to Serena afterward.
Serena acted with class on the court, kept her cool too.
Unlike the Stupid Question Queen at French Open.
I had to shake my head, that year, it’s Capriati’s turn to win, after Serena was out. For a few years in a row Jennifer would run into Steffi Graf in the semi. But during the semi match, Capriati didn’t seem to be able to play, at her full speed. Jinxed? It wasn’t Jennifer’s fault. I wasn’t sorry to see her losing the match.
Anyway. The Williams are still in. Hope they’ll capture few more slams, regardless being ranked #1 or not.

This article claimed that this 2004 US Open incident ushered in Hawkeye.

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An Enlightening Story

Hi all bros and sis,

I wish to share with you an enlightening story told by Jonathan.

On Monday after Syracuse trip, Jonathan ran into Stuart, his General Contractor who was a tennis player and
employed Rene, the black 3.5 Long Island team player who lost to our John/Jimmy double team is,
coincidentally, retained by Jonathan as architect.

As a tennis lover, Stuart has been monitory Long Island team scores.
He congratulated Jonathan for our team won and became the Eastern Section Champion.

He said, our team was and still is Talk Of The Town. Everyone in Syracuse talked about our team and wondering
how we managed to beat out other teams along the course.

They arrived with a conclusion that it was not skill, technique or form that produced some amazing wins.
It was our TEAM SPIRT, the WILL to win, passion and POSITIVE ATTITUDE that carried us through all huddles.

We do not have powerful strokes, beautiful form, elegant movement through out the tournament. All we had was
the will, positive attitude team spirit and the cheering supporters that impressed everyone upstate.
We demonstated to others that we committed to win and we came up to Syracuse to do just that, with little
bit of luck that we shall not forget.

Other teams admired our spirit and using our example to motivate their players.

Our folks offered support and backup to all team members. Delivering water & banana when needed. Little things
like that was enough to get others jealous as they all have to carry their own stuff. They have to beg for water
during long games.

When all folks saw our great Captain Ken being carried off court by teammate; Donald and Byron, everyone
was shock and moved by our unity and passion.

While listening to Jonathan telling the tale, I was touched and couldn’t help sharing with you
the enlightening messages:


Tucson, here we come.


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They brought home the trophies!

the ball
Sitting pretty, very pretty, the crystal ball.
The USTA League’s Eastern Section Championship was held at Syracuse, August 7-9, with six teams:
Metro (us)
New Jersey
Long Island

And our 3.5 boys captured the title. Yap, they’re the champions.

We’re the champions. I told the boys with a poker face, that without the groupies, they won’t win.. .. ha ha ha ha .. .. My partner Tom Liu seconded that. Good partner.

They played with lots of hearts and souls, with drama queen and king during the two play offs. It’s a virgin voyage for most players.

CIMG7325Match 1: Friday 8am, against the the Jersey Boys. Result: 3:2
First singles: Peter Zhuang, 1:6, 5:7 (opponent Michael W. Alexander got DQ’d)
Second singles: Jim Wang, 3:6, 6:3, tiebreak ?:10
First doubles: Charles Zhang/Henry Tian, 2:6, 6:3, tiebreak ?:10
Second doubles: Don Wang /Tom Tseng, 7:6, 5:7, tiebreak 10:?
Third doubles: Louis Chan/Ken Zhang, 7:5, 6:1

Peter is a great player and team player; down to earth, earnest and always helpful. His family vacation to Florida was August 8-15, but he stayed and went up north to play, sending his wife alone with the kids down south.
“I negotiated with her.” He said.
“What did you promise her your arm or leg, or a 5-carat diamond?” Irene should stop making sick jokes.
His wife is a 4.0 player and very nice and down to earth.
“I spent 2 hours clean the house.” He confessed.
See, I told you his wife is nice. We’re all very grateful Yan!

Peter has few nice words to say about Capital One. During its promotion, the credit card is giving 4 points for each dollar one spends. So he suggests that to raise 8 free tickets to the National isn’t a dream if we spend $50,000 between now and end of December. Jonathan raised his hand to say that’s easy, because he’s renovating his new house. The tennis court alone would cost $60k or so.

William Chan is well known among our boys (he called to congratulate the team upon hearing the news at the end). The boys know how he plays, his strength and weakness. He and Jimmy were deadly even after one set each. Unfortunately in the tiebreak, Jimmy suffer cramp, lost to him in tiebreak.

John was initially asked to play the second singles. But Sir John decided to hold on to his dear pillow, refused to get up in the morning.

Jim/JohnMatch 2: Friday 2pm, against Northern; Result: 3:2
First singles: Peter, 6:0, 6:2
Second singles: Charlie 6:3, 5:7, tiebreak ?:10
First doubles: Jimmy/John Jiang, 6:4, 6:4
Second doubles: Don/Tom, 7:6, 6:4
Third doubles: Louis/Ken, 6:2, 3:6, tiebreak ?:10

At 2 PM meet, John Jiang woke up and team up with Jimmy who suffered from a cramp in morning meet. They won but at a cost the Jimmy’s cramping recurred. He had to call trainer in between match to work on his foot. The same scene you saw Nadal receiving treatment at court.

With shortage of players, Charlie Zhang had to take up 1st single position so Peter can enhance his chance to win 2nd single. The strategy worked. Peter won and Charlie, yes Charlie put up an unbelievable fight against his opponent in a match that lasted 3 hours. Yes, 3 hours my friend. He ended up losing in tie-breaker.
Everyone was moved by his resilience, fighting spirit and stamina.

Match 3: Saturday 8am, against Southern, Result: 3:2
First singles: Steve Hu, 3:6, 5:7
Second singles: Peter, 6:4, 6:1
First doubles: Jimmy/John, 0:6, 6:4, tiebreak ?:10
Second doubles: Don/Tom, 2:6, 6:4, tiebreak 10:?
Third doubles: Andy Lin/Louis, 6:2, 3:6, tiebreak 10:?

I woke up at 4:05am, from a dream that I was running away from something or someone. The gang of four set out in the dark. Except for the driver Simon who’s bit late – needing time to put on his make up, all girls were on time. I volunteered to drive, thinking once past GW bridge, it’s all highway, 80 to 81. But DQ used her GPS, going local. No local local, but secondary highway, route 17. I gave up. It’s too early to have to deal with instructions. We got there smoothly. As we were looking for the courts, we came up on some nice courts. Mary who’s veteran told us,
“Keep looking. Those aren’t.”
She’s right.
USTA runs their leagues on less desirable facilities, at Lois Good Tennis Pavilion at the Syracuse University campus. The staff is paid but the courts might be free. They do men and women 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 at one weekend, and 3.0,4.0 and 5.0 at other time. Every player is registered on their system with detailed scores and his/her opponents.

tent, photographer, etc. the board game

Few teams set up their canopies or tents with coolers of drinks andfood, making it grand and united. John Dowling, the photographer was there to capture some shots and hoping to sell them.
P.S. .. DQ downloaded his pictures anyway. How did you do it??? Geeeeee.. going out with her is really nice, she takes care of everything. I meant eeeeeeverything. I call her when I need/want to change my phone, I call when I need direction, I call when my computer acts funny … I won’t go to bathroom without consulting her.

the apron lady Good she can play

This girl’s skirt looks like an apron, she a French maid or what? The girl to the left in the picture on the right (in dark pink or purple with black skirt with white trimming), although out of shape, but boy can she play. Those are 4.5 girls. No joking. They mean business.

When we arrived, found our team staking out on the hilly grass with a hole on the slop. They were about to finish the first match, waiting for the second one to start in 50 minutes.

the groupies the waiting game

Match 4: Saturday 11am, against Islanders. Result: 4:1
First singles: Steve 6:4, 6:4
Second singles: Peter 6:1, 6:1
First doubles: Louis/Ken 7:6, 5:7, tiebreak 10:8
Second doubles: Jimmy/John, 6:3, 2:6, tiebreak 10:??
Third doubles: Don/Tom 2:6, 2:6

The Islanders are the strongest among 6 teams.
The first singles, Bobby Callaghan and Steve were generous on line calls with each other. Bob’s serve was good but he didn’t have the goods to back them up.
The first doubles, Lou and Ken played Luis Javier Osorio and Martin Marmorale. Osorio is the first singles player but he’s tired and assigned to play doubles. His serve was lethal.

Ken and I were assigned to play 1st double by guessing that L.I. team would do the same.
We ended up with their 1st double leaded by Ossario, their 1st single player.

Guess what, we won 1st set tie-breaker. Then lost 5-7 the second set. We won against with 10-3 tie-breaker in a 3 hours marathon match. I still have no idea how we pulled through with the win.

Our team spirit is high and trying to recopperate from 2 long competition the same day.

We are looking forward to another victory tomorrow.

.. till the captain signs .. casualty

When all four matches were done, the tally was 3:1. The mood of the team was light and giddy. Someone wanted to go to tell the pair just fold it to save energy. As the game dragged on, teammates began to good-natured wondering out loud,
“Smoke, I think they really believe they are the first doubles.”

the team .. after Match 4It’s a gutsy fight. Lou was under the gun to serve at tiebreak 8:9.
The tiebreak plays at the league is first to reach 10 points by leading 2, super tiebreak as they call it. At 9:9, Lou bang out his first serve.
“Foot fault.” The referee called out.
Some were happy and some were not.
Bang, Lou dished out a shaky second serve.
The opponent reacted even shakier: he netted the return.
The price for this agonizing but ultimately exhilarating experience had pushed Ken to the brink of serious cramp. He sat on the court for a long time. Lou waited then came off. Byron and Don went in trying to retrieve our cap, first tried to be his Crutches. When that failed after few steps, Don piggy bag the cap. Ken was In the Mood for Love TLC.. .. JK .. .. we all love you!
Later when we gathered for a group picture, Ken was still sitting on the grass. Don went back and carried him over again. So Captain Skipper is sitting pretty, with us in the picture. All thanks to Don.
IF this wasn’t the winning touch – the team spirit and unity – then I don’t what else would or could carry a team.

Daddy and me Mommy and me

Dad Jimbo said he plans to play doubles with his little princess in about few years. Guess poor me has to look for a new partner.

Simon and DQ left early for their golf.
We high-fived and took group pictures. There were lots talking, about the games, arrangements and plays, and also talks if they had won. I felt the team spirit, the unity and the drive to win.
We went to buffet. $7.99.
The sour and spicy soup was way too sweet.
The clams were ok, but tasted like over cooked or reheated, not fresh.

Once we checked into hotel at 4:30, did we realize there wasn’t a plan to go anywhere or do anything. Few who had car asked me if I wanted to go play tennis. Sure I replied.
But they probably had second thought, left with 5 players and took turn to play.
They’re Just Not That Into You, Irene 🙂
We all car pooled up and sole there for the team. No one deserved to be taken for granted.

Lou This little cutie just renders me jobless CIMG7284

After swimming – the pool is small and water is too hot (not complaining, it’s well within my expectation), Mary and I watched Cleaners on A&E. Good lord that I don’t watch TV, so it’s a new episode for me. We both were deflected by the long lonely night ahead, in a 3-star hotel.

Steve and Emily thanked me repeatedly for agreeing to be standby. His handshake was firm. There wasn’t any awkward moment and it’s amusing to see they fitted in with the rest well, on the surface. My earlier assessments were on target and fair.

found this car/license plate in the parking lot .. duhThe pair golfers came back and we decided to go out, even not knowing where to go. In the hallway, we saw Peter. Without hesitation, we invited him and he accepted. In the parking lot, Don saw us from his room and ran down to join us. Then we called Lou.
As the gang of four continuously collecting warm bodies, I suddenly thought about playing baifen. Immediately found 2 willing partners.
“Supermarket please.” I forgot to bring a deck of cards, thinking it’s only one brief night.
The buffet was so bad, few didn’t eat much, anticipating a nice dinner. So our group broke up, few went for noodles, few sat drinking and I went to shopping at Marshalls. Ya, the same store we have at home too.

We came back with a cake for two birthdays. Sat in the lobby and began to drink. Simon had a case of red wines. There was a wedding going on. It ended before we broke off for the night.

DQ and I shared a bed. She asked for extra blanket fearing it’s too small for us. She ended up feeling cold and constantly moving. I was hot and couldn’t sleep 🙂

Match 5: Sunday 8am, against Western; Result: 3:2
First singles: Peter 6:2, 6:2
Second singles: Steve 6:4, 6:4
First doubles: Don/Tom 5:7, 3:6
Second doubles: Jimmy/John, 6:2, 6:3
Third doubles: Louis/Ken, 2:6, 5:7

It rained, so we moved to Eastside Racquet Club at Manlius, a pretty classy one. The Northern team came out in force to cheer on the Western team because they believed that if the Westerners defeat us, the Northerners would go to Tucson Arizona this October instead.
CIMG7445 CIMG7449 CIMG7448 CIMG7447

In fact, this last match was really a formality. Had the boys lost on Sunday, there could have been a two-way tie on paper with the top two teams deadlocked at 4-1 a piece. According to the USTA rules, the next tie break protocol would have been the head-to-head result between the two teams in question. (L.I. and our dragons). Our boys automatically became the winners because they had beaten L.I. on Saturday afternoon (Match 4).

Because the Islanders were fully aware of this, they packed up their A team and departed on Sat night (no point in staying on). On Sunday the tournament director, Darcy Cobb, got PO’d and DQ’d the entire Islander team for not having a full squad left to play. Their tournament records, along with NJ’s Paglia team were totally erased.

we're the champions

Better luck next year I told them.

It’s really a bittersweet victory for this group of boys. Most of them are newbies. USTA might put them on the lousy courts to play, but the rules are pretty stringent and clear. The director has no problem to disqualify a player or a team should they chance it, or challenge the system.

Having the above in mind, in introspect they could have won without Mr. First. But no one could discount the confidence teammates feel with an ace on the team, and our groupies’ cheering.

When the last match was over, the gregarious couple locked in the verb exchange again. The wife insisted (an understatement) him to do some toning in the gym and he wanted to shower. Don and I looked at each other just laughed. He was thinking
“Man .. .. I’ll never get married.”
Irene was thinking,
“Woman .. .. some luck wife.”

Don’t cry for me China. I got what I deserve just like anyone else :). I don’t presume everyone enjoy as much coaching on court as I do, so many might found Simon to be overly talkative. Got the picture?

Ok, got to go to have some real life. See you in Tucson Arizona in October.

I played at Cunningham this AM, and actually saw few old buddies.

~ .. ~

Girls at the tourney .. some outfits are really nice and neat.


Mingbao Newspaper reporting

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the new parkwood pool

CIMG7164On another stolen moment, dropping off King to his jazzy club, I detoured to Parkwood pool, which is done now after the renovation or reconfiguration.
It’s very nice.
The main pool didn’t seem to be changed, might have been enhanced. There is a snake bar and area on the main pool deck next to the life guards office. The wading pool adds a triangle canopy, protecting babies from the rays.
The medium pool was relocated few yards from the old one: filling the old hole and digging a new one. Lots of work.
The water slide opens at certain time of the day.
The lazy river looks really delicious, so is the kiddie pool.
The locker/shower room is updated. An additional bathroom was built. The ground floor snake room adjacent to the rink is renovated – the home of the gold medal figure skater Sarah Hughes. A new flat screen TV was mounted on the wall high above the fireplace. The old skate shop was moved.
Over all, the flow is nice.
Lifeguards are mixed with college, college grads and high schoolers. The pool opens from Memorial Day (or June 1 or so) to Labor Day, first Monday in September. The membership is $285 for family, $185 individual and $120 for senior. 5-day multi pass $50 for adult and $45 for youth. Steve still runs his Masters Swim, $210, Mon/Wed/Fri from 6am – 7:30am.

My question is …. Does It Worth It?


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The first match result, fm 2:3 to 3:2

the world journalOk, the Chinaman 3.5 team is indeed the CATsNY team – Irene doesn’t know and no one cared to correct her, boooo hoooooo.

There are five matches for this weekend at Syracuse. The schedule is as follow:

Fri: 8am match and 2pm match
Sat: 8am match and 11am match
Sun: 8am match

They’ve just played their first match this morning, the 8am one:

WON: Peter Zhuang 1st single from LOST to WON because opponent is disqualified

LOST: Jimmy Wang 2nd single

LOST: Charlie Zhang & Henry Tian 1st double

WON: Ting Zhang & Louis 2nd double

WON: Tom & Donald 3rd double

I might have to drive up north tonight: Mrs. First just called at 11:47am, asking IF I would/could drive them up to Syracuse should Mr. First’s flight from Seattle delayed. The Delta’s scheduled to arrive at JFK at 9:10pm and the last flight out to Syracuse is 10:35pm. IF he arrives on time, The Firsts will take the Jet Blue up immediately.
Embarrassingly, it took a while for slow Irene to understand that she was being asked to drive them both up tonite IF the his flight is delayed, in order for Mr. Firste to play. You have to understand, poor me didn’t go to the fancy school, my brain is just bit dumber and slower, especially when a request doesn’t make much of sense.
Wife: “do you have a car?”
Irene: “??”
Wife: “Andy said we can rent a car …”
.. ..
Wife: “we can share the driving.”
Irene is wondering can he actaully rest while a woman is driving?
My first thought, wow, how exciting, Irene gets to drive. Golfer won’t let me drive – because he feels more tiring when I’m at wheels – JK; guess golfer is a man and acts like a man.
In fact I don’t like to drive. I drive only when I have to.
Irene: “It’s ok .. ” I replied factiously. I really don’t know how to say no, and used up my life quota on my children. Wrong decisions.

Wife: “our car makes funny noise, so I don’t feel comfortable driving it.”

I have to stand by.

Correction: Mr. First is still working but his wife is not. Mr. First is attending a conference out West.
Wife: “he missed the earlier flight [6:34am], so he’s waiting for the noon flight.”

Irene’s thinking: wow, some dedication. Waiting at the airport for 6 hours.

Last night, DQ spent the entire evening handling Mr. First’s requestssss. Among them, was a driver to drive up. .. ..
Mr. First had a wish list:
Wish 1: since the gang of four (4 of us) is leaving early tomorrow, he wanted us to pick him up tonight to drive up. The driver flatly refused.
Wish 2: Mr. First asked DQ to rent a van so another player could drive them all up. The player said no becasue the other player already had a plan that’s leaving right after work. She gave him the other player’s e-mail to arrange themselves. Apparently that didn’t work out.
Wish 3: …. hmmmmm let’s me see … there is this pooor thing … let’s call this sucker up …

Don’t think Irene is so hot. She’s being put on the map only due to others refused.

Having a 4.0 player playing singles on a 3.5 team isn’t something 3.5 boys should be proud of. Be a man and say no to bully. If someone like to 跳草裙舞 – in Hong Kong lingo, then let him or her dance.

Behind every successful story there IS a story

Correction: Mr. First played on a 4.0 team and beaten the best 4.0 player in singles but he’s ranked 3.5. A player could play up but not down.

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