Tennis in Beijing isn’t just tennis. My friend reserved a court at Yifang Yuan 颐方园体育健康城 in Fangzhuang, that comes with a suite: a living room with flat panel TV, a massage room, steam room and two shower stalls. Coincident with Yao Ming’s press conference, announcing his retirement. So before we headed out to court, we watched the little Chinese giant, flanked by his puny American interpreter, fielding the questions from the reports.
During the play, a girl came with a set of tea and fruit plate. I really loved the tea; could get used to it easily :-). More pix on FB .
Went to play tennis at 北京科技大学 University of Science and Technology Beijing. The courts are old and very slippery, cost 40 yuan an hour. Qing and I lost to a couple, 6-2, 6-2. Overall, the players have decent forms, using old old balls, not sure due to high cost or type of balls.
陶然亭是清代名亭，现为中国四大历史名亭之一 Taoranting is the name of the Qing Dynasty pavilion, now a China one of the four historic Pavilion.
It’s just a stone throw away from Xiaoyi‘s apartment. We went there swimming from time to time. King had his yellow bathing suit. The third time we were there, the young eager life guard or door man said,
“I think it’s enough that he should change to a proper bathing suit.”
“Oh, it’s his bathing suit.” I wasn’t thinking straight.
The young man’s face turned red. “Don’t you think I’m a hicky. .. just because you’re from USA .. ”
Actually everyone wore speedo type of swimming wears in China, like the Europeans. Only the Americans who wears large shorts to the pool.
I tried to explain to the young man but he won’t hear it at all. He thought I insulted him. To make peace, I got King a speedo.
“Mom, it’s too small .. ” and he refused to wear it.
A great day: got to swim with Pumpkin!
Due to a conversation I had with the girls at the pool, Pumpkin decided to go for a life guard certificate. The class had began but the trainer said she could join mid way if she passed the try out. While waiting for the try out, I asked her to swim a little, with me. She readily agreed.
“Gosh, Mom, I haven’t swam perhaps since middle school.”
The middle and high schools share one pool and there are 4 school teams. Her middle school girls’ team falls into the same time slot as tennis. So after middle school she decided to give up swimming team for tennis.
Gosh, Love, that’s sad.
I’ve been trying to get them to swim .. don’t even get me started.
The pool was pretty empty so as soon as she got in, there we went. 25 yard, she beat me by couple of body lengths, effortlessly. Back again, she won hand down.
Soon she went off for the try out. For a rare moment, I stopped by the edge of the pool and recall the times .. a little water baby by birth .. I couldn’t suppress my smile. The very first time I took her to swim, she was only few months old. The moment we dip into the pool she maneuvered free out of my arms, just liked the way as soon as I put on a pair of skate, she went off without wasting a moment. As if she knew how to swim and skate, by birth. There was moments at our town pool when the life guard would pick on her height (too short for the main pool). She would tip toe trying to pass the height requirement. There was giggles when I did my flip turns and they sat at the edge: our arrangement that I played with them then they would sit and watch me do laps. Each turn would bring more laughter .. some sweet memory.
Ibuprofen (400mg) must be a powerful pain killer: it almost knocked me out after the surgery. Dr. Moss also prescribed Lodine but I didn’t get it. I probably could go without it.
My team won tonight. Well done kids, Way to Go!
1st: 7-6, 4-2
2nd: 5-7, 1-6
3rd: 6-1, 6-3
Early this week our captain – primary school 中关村二小 cap singed me up to their forum on QQ. Can you image? They just had a reunion on Oct 30 after 35 years. That’s sweet. I’ve been hanging out there often – my Chinese typing is improving. So much catch up to do .. maybe a trip to Beijing is called for? Hmmmmmm…
In September, Justine Henin’s 6th Sense Tennis Academy plans to open a branch at Potter’s Wheel International Sports Center in Beijing. It will join her original academy in Belgium and her U.S. academy at the Mission Inn Resort & Club north of Orlando, Florida. Like her other academies, this Chinese branch will adopt mini-tennis (the precursor to what is now being called QuickStart here in the U.S.) to introduce the game to very young players since this is the way Henin got her start and it will follow a philosophy of treating everyone with compassion and respect, regardless of their innate playing ability.
Watch the video, it’s really heart warming. One’s mother broke down at the party
“Not of joy but embarrassment.”
17 years and they’re still going strong.
Anyway, it’s a gorgeous weekend, hope all of you had plenty out door activities. I played tennis for 3 straight days, today 7-11:30am .. the last set was against Pumpkin in doubles .. .. we or I lost, 6:3.
We hosted the Chaoyang Tennis Association 北京朝阳网球协会 from Beijing today at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. Chaoyang is quasi governmental club, the players’ trip is paid for by the club or the government (not sure if I got this right..). The Sunday game was arranged by the USTA, United States Tennis Association. About week or two ago, USTA reached out to Bill, the 4.0 captain asking if any of the Chinese clubs/players would like to play with them .. so we got involved. USTA reserved and paid two courts at the Island fm 10-12 noon.
The arrangement leading up to the day was bit confusing. I have expressed interest to meet/play with the BJ team since, well they’re from my hometown. But I wasn’t on the list. When I questioned it, the organizer shot back a nasty e-mail to the group ..
can you tell any of these names are females?
Well, I haven’t seen this Beijing list before and now that I’ve seen it I couldn’t tell their gender .. but I did see the organizer put two our girls down for 2.5 .. hence I asked.
What did I ever do to this organizer to deserve being scolded in public? I don’t like the feel of it. Tennis is just a game, should be fun and enjoyable. Few in the group seem to have more spare time on hand, like to play sissy and politics. Can we all act like A MAN, have bit more tolerance? As if Irene wears pants here.
It’s just so amusing, few in the group likes to make a small match-fire into an inferno then come in as a hero or the problem solver, it doesn’t give the person more right to lay claim on this club. This club belongs to everyone. No one should try to stronghold it as a personal guild.
Then the last e-mail informing us that Beijing would only have 6 players on Sunday so our list scaled down to 6 players as well. I was not on the rotation. I understand. No problem. I just wished the organizer would mention if we could go to meet them regardless on the playing list. There was none.
The night before, one of the players I contacted earlier for car-pooling said he’ll pick me up at 9:10am the follow day.
Didn’t he know he’s no longer needed?
He was being cut as well. When I asked him, he paused. Either he or other players received other instructions or they just decided to go.
If it’s the former, it proved the organizer in deed playing politics here. If it’s the later, it shows poor organizing skill, very confusing.
I decided to go knowing well I was not invited and unwelcome.
My intention was to check out my hometown players and also being from the same city that would make them feel more comfortable. It’s beyond me that the organizer failed to see eye to eye with me.
As it turned out, the Beijing team sent more than a dozen.
Our group had more than a dozen showed up.
The CatsNY got two more courts to accommodate the mass.
I have always favored an open forum (vs e-mail) for group activities where it’s easier to keep truck of what’s up and been done (with polling feature), that way can also reduce e-mail traffic. Of course, the big downside, the organizer would obviously lose ‘control’, the ability to manipulate.
I was dumbfounded to hear a tennis rating could be licensed. The BJ players told me that as an individual they didn’t pay to be rated, but the club paid. The USTA even sent a representative to Beijing to do the rating.
“Was there training involved?” I wondered.
They didn’t know.
“Was the person white?”
“Yes. She was.”
“Does she speak Chinese?”
“No .. “ but there was an interpreter.
Why can’t the Chaoyang club read the description and rate the players themselves? Can’t they find a knowledgeable player to do so?
A down payment for a future alliance?? But tennis being so international, USTA certainly doesn’t represent the world of tennis. It’s only one of few major components. There are Wimbledon and Roland Garros. .. with the Aussie in the distance.
One of the members mentioned that the Chaoyang club did consider and decided to reach out to the Americans. The USTA logo is prominently displayed on their site.
I didn’t have complete score but BJ won most matches. Few players ..
Li Qiang 李强 (top .. serving) is a 46-year old PhD candidate at Beijing Athletic Academy, 北京体育学院. He works at Normal University, my mom’s Alma mater. His path to tennis was during his teaching years at Dongbei Nongye Daxue 东北农业大学 Northeast Agriculture University where he was a martial art master, or kung-fu master. When school wanted to start tennis program, they turned to him who knew nothing about Love 40. With innate athletic ability, he learned the game then taught. He was HelongJiang Provincial single champion.
This couple (pic above .. husband to my right wife to my left) work at Beihang 北航, 北京航空学院 Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The wife visited Moscow in 1992 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and brought back two tennis racquets. They both plagued into the sport, and primarily play at Beihang where they work and live.
The PhD team (to my left .. Dad and his girl). Dr. Dad is professor at Beihang’s Research Center for Condensed Physics and Materials Physics – phew .. may I get my PhD degree now ?? after I copied down this long string of alien stuff from his business card :). Dr. Daughter is a life cycle analyst, taking the title of Director at the Dairy Management Inc. in Chicago. She doesn’t play but came down to see dad for a few days.
Wang Jihong is the correspondent. Yes, the BJ club came armed with a 26-year old journalist who writes for Tennis World Magazine.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk to everyone on the Beijing delegate.
We filled three tables at East Buffet in Elmhurst for lunch. It happened the organizer sat at our table who hardly said anything throughout the meal. Speaking the same dialect doesn’t mean you’ll have common language.
This McDonald ad was opposite to the East Manor Restaurant in Elmhurst, New York. Not Beijing .. mind you.
Suns guard Steve Nash showed up in disguise at a Beijing pick-up game over the weekend, hoping to shoot some hoops incognito. Unfortunately, he forgot his fake mustache and monocle.
Nash is in China for the week doing promotional and charity work. After a few three-on-three half-court games with local regulars, Captain Canada crossed over to the nearby soccer pitch to play a little footy.