THE United States Tennis Association (USTA), which hosts the glittering US Open every year in New York where Serena Williams and Roger Federer come to play, also manages a grass roots amateur league in which I belong and this book is about. It gets us out in the dead winter night or glorious summer evening. Over 770,000 bums and weekend hackers register to play on the League for a chance to compete with peers around the country in the Nationals every year. Our journey is no less arduous and filled with gut wrenching moments, and the reward is no less satisfying. (Sans the US$3.6 million dollar prize – Serena’s pay check for winning 2013 US Open – of course and $4m in 2014)

ustaUSTA is the governing body for the sport of tennis in the USA. Reportedly it is the largest in the world. The fifty states on the Stars and Stripes are being regrouped into seventeen geographical sections. Under the Sections are the regions. My local league, Metro is one of the five Regions in the Eastern Section.  Although I can play anywhere but choose Long Island and Metro is due to proximity. Really, the world is your oyster. Indeed, I have mates who traveled a great deal to be on my team. One shuttled from Chicago, anther commuted from Seattle on the west coast and one journeyed from Hong Kong.

Each region runs by a Local League Coordinator with program catering to varying ages groups and genders. The mixed doubles dominates the winter season and men and women are played out in the spring and summer. For Metro, the LLC sends out a Call for Captains email in September for the mixed season, which effectively announces that the advent of a new year has just begun.

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