Mrs. Eng goes to Washington

Before the start of each season the League would host a meeting for the captains. My first meeting falls on a weekday night in middle of December.

The 2009 holiday season was not a merry one in New York. Although the 76 ft tall Norway spruce tree from Easton, CT  at the Rockefeller Center and the major shoppers meccas were all lighted in the city, the mood was anxious and cautious. Wall Street has gone through a bear market and a bull market Seles’ bell ringing. We were in the renewed bear market since last summer (2008). The fourth-largest investment bank in the US Lehman Brothers went belly up [At 1:45am on September 15, 2008 filed Chapter 11.] last autumn, triggering the $700 billion bailout to save the American financial system. A friend of mine who has been working at Lehman Bro for the past 25 years. Over night, she was not only jobless but saw her retirement account dried up. The dire circumstance was befell on almost everyone. Even Larry Flynt chipped in to ask for a piece of sweet American pie for his porn industry. The Dow would close at 6,547.05, on March 9, 2009, a 12-year low.

The Queens USTA mixed doubles captains‘ meeting was held at Jackson Steakhouse in Long Island City. That Wednesday started out lousy, rainy, yucky and depressy. Hmmmm.. actually when I have had more time, I really enjoyed rain once in a while. Have a cup of tea or glass of wine, sit by the window, counting the rain drops. Another era and another life time. But by the time I dragged myself out of the house, the weather has turned nice, the temperature was hovering above 50 and sun even made appearances. I went to swim. The pool was uncrowded. But I didn’t feel very light. Perhaps haven’t swum often enough. Felt like a Titanic – there were often times when I feel like a speed boat. I only managed 30 laps. After 20 straight in free, I began breaststrokes, then saw the beautiful sunset through the glass bubble. The top of the sky was bright and followed by light brown, a cup of latte or eggnog 🙂 and tree tops … very pretty. It made me almost regret being in the water. Swimming pool is always a safe heaven for me, perhaps for everyone else too: no matter it’s scrounging summer day or blistering winter storm, the temperature remains comfortable, a 世外桃源 xanadu.

I was late for my first ever meeting (hello Irene!!). There were about 50+ players: volunteers, coordinators and captains. The Local League Coordinator for Metro was a lady who is unpaid volunteer with a 60-hour per week full time job. She went over the dos, don’ts and rules, new and old. Don’t know where she works and what she does but if were she the head of the – SEC – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, would we be in this mess right now? Probably NOT! Ok, the likelihood of her running the SEC was as much as Larry Flynt is asking for a bailout, but the seriousness of the League took me by surprise.

One of don’ts was be nice to a new comer. Many teams need more player and there are in fact many players looking for a team – that’s how I was being placed on a team and played once many years ago.
“Don’t tell a self claimed 4.5 he’s only 2.5.” The bigger the number indicates a higher playing skill. Serena and Roger are all ranked 7+. A person just starts out to learn to play with the skill that could push the ball over the net is likely to be at 2.0 level.
There was round of laugh.
“Be nice and tell him that your team isn’t right for him. I don’t want him going around and bad mouth us.” Even tennis league is recruiting.

The restaurant looks pretty neat for LIC standard. Pam ordered some wings and calamari with drinks. The waiter brought my glass of Chianti that filled to the brim like soda – my theory is that the fuller the wine is in a glass the lower the restaurant is in ranking. No dinner was followed; finger food and drinks were on USTA or Metro Tennis.

After the meeting, LLC stayed for nearly an hour tutored the six of us, the newbies. There was a pair who heads 6.0, and two cute Asian men we might face: they head 7.0. They said the league’s average age is 48. I knew why: we have to wait till our kids grow up – not that I was around much when mine were younger. ..

Over all, I’m glad to know the League is being well managed – although there are improvements (which organization doesn’t need?) .. . The girls who ran it were professional and able. Clearly they have passion for it, trying to make the game fair. Not sure why USTA doesn’t pay them. Perhaps we’re all nuts about the game, so they [USTA] knew they could get freebies.

P.S. I would find out later that the volunteers are paid ..


1 Comment »

  1. […] usually lower (how does one feel winning over a kindergarten?) or punching someone on court.  The Local League Coordinator (Metro) is strong willed lady who said she’ll find out and chase you down, no matter how […]

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