Archive for December 4, 2011

My pick up line sucks

This morning I saw a slim and small (like a kid) lady playing on the other court, with nice back hand and fore.. so after trying few pick up lines, I settled on ..
“Are you on a league?”
“Oh, I’m from Florida.” She replied. Not what I asked.
“Oh .. you play really nice.” I complimented her.
“What league ?” she suddenly asked as I was turning back to my own game.
“Oh I know. Are you on the 3.0?” She asked. (You hear USTA? I’m really not a 3.5 !!!)
My dim mind began to work fast … 3.0 could be on the 7.0 .. maybe she loves me tennis so much that she’ll extend her New York stay …
“Yes” I replied; my hope surged, fast.
“Oh, I’m, like, a 4.5.” She spitted out while hitting a nice deep backhand.
Ops, a flat tire.
I needed to have my rating re-evaluated to 3.0, no matter what.

Back to our 3rd match at Roosevelt Island. The opposing captain dressed like a Japanese cartoon super hero (my kids enjoyed reading them and I have huge amount of it at home..), white outfit with a read head band holding his glossy spiky hair. Really neat. He handed me a neatly printed sheet .. I only have a hand written one to exchange.

I’ve been on the losing side for a while lately but no one else was available for this match. Poor me had to go to work. Actually we needed a guy too. So instead of asking for re-schedule that would trouble everyone I simply recruited one more player – our last player by the deadline. Every team should deal within: I don’t intend this as a complain or critics of teams that do ask for postponement.
Ron and I took first set at 3. Our opponents were nice especially the girl. The guy was odd, never looked up or at us, keeping his head down all the time. The girl is really cute, with a tattoo on her back. During the change over,
“Is it a bird?” I asked.
“Yes. Do you know what kind it is?” She invited me to guess.
“A phoenix?” I tried.
“Yes.” she beamed.
Yes indeed, she ended up beaming all the way to the tie break and beyond. She’s a great competitor, hanging in tough and won couple of long deuces games.

During a point in the second set, the guy signaled Ron’s serve out by raising his hand hesitantly but the girl played without a pause: either she thought was good or too concentrated at returning. I was not pleased but said nothing. (I didn’t remember who won the point.) Then a couple of games later I heard the guy calling a deep loop from Ron OUT so I stopped but she continued.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
I said “you called it OUT.”
“No I didn’t.” he insisted that he called it bounce. The point stayed they won. (Later Ron confirmed it was a bounce. Ron would confirm AFTER the match was concluded. I was totally wrong, very sorry, my sincere apology. My teammates suggested that I begin to wear hearing aid. I think not only hearing aid, perhaps a new brain?)
We were leading two to nothing. By the out call, it was 2-2. After the out call, they won the next three games in a row leading 5-2.
Eight minutes left on the clock at the change over.

Due to the prime real estate of Manhattan, to keep the court fee manageable, the matches are shortened to 90 minutes long as two hours for the rest of the leagues in the tri-state area, perhaps the entire country. By the time I joined in 2009 all of matches are played out side of Isle of Manhattan – actually in the adjacent borough Queens except Randalls Island, which is a tiny island (2.09 square kilometres or 520 acres) separates from Manhattan by Harlem River. With the mandatory warm up that usually lasts fifteen minutes, unfinished matches are prevalent. The League terms those as timed match and has sub set of rules. The most important rule is Five Minute. An unfinished match is over by five minutes prior to the end of the scheduled time (85 minutes). The winner is decided by the among of sets and games won. Winning first set and is on serve in the second set, wins the match, otherwise split the match win.

Judging from the clock, unless we win the next four games in three minutes, which was impossible, we would have to split the match, earning only 3 points out of 6.

How did it get to this state? I asked myself. We took the first set without much resistance. And we were up two to noting in this set. It seemed we were about to steam rolled them to an easy victory.

Mad at myself for trotting the familiar mistake and fuming at the out call, my desire to win the match suddenly grew strong. During the change over, suddenly an idea popped up. I suggested to Ron,
“Why don’t we lose the next game (hence the set)?” I pointed to the clock, “so we can start the tie break before reaching the five minutes.” I was so confident that we could beat them handily, so I was willing to risk the 3 pointed we were sure to get for the possible 6. Ron agreed. Like most guys on the team, Ron is a gentleman who showers me with respect (even I know little about tennis) and always cooperates. What’s the point to argue with a woman?

I have a habit of forgetting that if it is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9 out of 10 times it will.

Often times after winning the first set hands down, I would loss the second set and many times the match. Although I constantly remind myself of the peril of an early win but I think subconsciously I relax and become complacent. Not quite the tortoise and the hare race but it seems illuminating my tendency to allow mental weakness takes charge. The wrong line call or disagreement on small thing during a match, never bothers me much, except when I am in a downward spiral.

I double faulted a couple of times to lose the match to race to the third set super tie break. The momentum was not on our side. Little by little, we fall behind. The more behind we were, the more mistakes I made. The butterfly began to dance in my guts. The first double worth nearly half the total points. The next thing I knew our opponents erupted into cheer and high five each other.

We lost the match.

Later Ron confirmed it was a bounce. I was totally wrong, very sorry, my sincere apology. My teammates suggested that I begin to wear hearing aid. I think not only hearing aid, perhaps a new brain?
1D: 6-3, 2-6, 0-1
2D: 3-6, 6-2, 1-0
3D: 6-3, 5-3 (timed match)

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