The Manhattan 7.0 semi final

IMG_5203Exchanging the lineup .. pix on FB
Mere three day after our quarter final, we played the semi final at the NTC where the US Open is held every summer. The referees came but Metro didn’t. Deb was there, in skirt, looked like she’s playing. We were facing the team we played first (on 11/19/2012) in the regular season, with a bit of contention and tension on one of the courts.  I did not go that day but got an earful shortly after the conclusion of the match. One of my boys who was rated at 4.0 stated that the opponents were super-players who volley back his lethal shot like nothing, and more.

[the rating]

This is the 7.0 league which means the combined rating of the two players could not exceed 7.0 nor below 6.5 and the gap between the partners could not exceed 1. If my math is still working, figuratively, level 4.0 would be the strongest in the 7.0 league.

During the match, he confronted the opponents, questioning their rating. I was taken a back at his action, feeling he went over the line so I apologized to the captain the following morning. The captain replied amicably in a timely manner. I was relieved. Should I have been at the court I would not have known how to handle it: my teammates were my priority. I would not have known how to defend my mate while apologize at the same time. Good it was done electronically. I was grateful that the captain was calm and did not make fuzz out of it.

Jiawei and I drew the super-player pair for the night. Whatever happened last time didn’t seem to repeat itself. Our opponents were gracious and we didn’t have a single disagreement on line calls, not even a second look. I dotted my Ts and Ps; made generous line calls and applauded their every winners. I have a habit of congratulating winners made by my partner and opponents (if they are not out right jerks). This habit has nothing to do with tennis being a gentlemanly game but everything to do with being appreciative to the talent and drive to make that unbelievable shot. I guess it’s geniuses recognize one another 惺惺相惜. They reciprocated. The match went beautifully.

Most players I played in the League are generous and fair. We want to give our opponents their due. The comment I saw from my teammates after a match “they’re so nice” were pretty often.

We won the first set at 4. I looked over to Court 2 and 3, saw the score poles indicated my mates all won the first sets (the scores showed otherwise .. ). Thinking about my 8.0 team’s last match when our 3 courts lost first set, I said to my partner: “Let’s continue .. don’t give in .. ” IMG_5204However, before I could finish my sentence, we were down 1-5 in the second set.

Jiawei said, “Looks like we’re heading to third set…” Didn’t know why we won the first and didn’t know how we lost the second, I replied: “No, let’s try to catch up… ” We lost the next game, and the set.

Tennis is as physically demanding sport as mental. It rewards those who prepares. However, many times in life, we do not get that opportunity to prepare for what is coming at us. Or even one does painstakingly prepare but when life throws you a curve ball or your opponent serves you an ace, you just have to learn to cop with it.

The super tie break was close but we managed to win it at 4 (10-4). It’s all Jiawei throughout the match.

Our court 2 lost 9-11 in the third. We started at 9pm. By then, all other five courts were empty except our third double team (3D) on Court 3. They were in a fierce battle for the match, and for the semi victory. This indoor facility has total of 12 courts. The area we played is the largest with 6 courts. The layout of the house is 6 and 3 courts in the ground floor with a lounging path above that lead to another 3 courts, tucked away on the second floor. We moved over to the second court, joining our mates and foes to watch the last court. Many spectators were on the lounge path above. The vacant hall feeling a little dead. Each steps and breath could be heard clearly. My girl was new to the league but she enjoyed the limelight and played with composure and gusto. She and Dan sealed the final for us, in the third set tie break.

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