Posts Tagged New York

Tennis is everywhere

For two weeks each year, world of tennis is in New York (but only part of New York is all about tennis – that’s what I love about Noo Yawk: rarely a single person or event can dominate the city. My Big Apple has depth).

The Bryan twins

Few of the magazines that I subscribe to have profiles on the players.

Andy Roddick on Time (9/7/09 issue)
Serena Williams on People (9/7/09 issue)
Bryan twins on NY Times Sunday Magazine (8/30/09)
Bryan twins on New Yorker (8/31/09 issue)

Anna K Maria on Maxim (ok, I made this up .. I’m disappointed .. The world No.72 Ashley Harkleroad posted for Playboy last year)

Food & Wine
The Economist
.. ..
I have to admit that I don’t get to read every one on my coffee table page by page – too many. (What was Irene thinking to sub to so many magazines? No wonder nothing gets done in my house and in my life … boooo hoooooo … ) I shall check other mags to see if there are some coverage..
– Food & Wine could write about how the players’ entertain ..
– Money could write about how they manage their earnings ..
– InStyle .. seriously many female players could use Anna Wintour. Madam Wintour has a new movie out, The September Issue
– The Economist .. hmmm .. what angle would they use?

~ . ~

The twins .. by Dewey NicksBob and Mike even share two houses; a car; and a bank account.
~ . ~
I am happy to say that the media has finally come around to cover doubles. Or the Twins’ limelight is due to lack of top ranking American players? In any event, I love to see them play and love doubles game. When will the net work cover more? I would think they would stick around to air Williams sisters’ final at Wimbledon, live not tape delayed.

Serena has a book out, On the Line, when she talked about her depression over her sister’s shooting death in 2003, her weight issues ..

More later ..

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Bye Shea and hello Citifield

Car’s license plate Bye Shea: from a die hard fan?

~ Yankee stadium

Shea Stadium is gone.
Long gone.
In place is the new CitiField.
A nice stadium in deed.
How about the team that occupies it?
The Mets?
How are they doing this season?
Whatev ..
I enjoy the commentating of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling.

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Beijing Chaoyang 朝阳 tennis club in New York

Li Qiang their neat t-shirt

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.

4 some

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.

after a gameDidn’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.

Cheers .. the group came armed with a journalist Tennis World Magazine fm BeijingI 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.

Playing tennis in China is expensive, still considered a luxury sport, as with golf – the green opium.

The Beijing tennis group is very interesting.

The licensing of NRTP.

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?

after lunch .. fr left: couple ... father and daughterA 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.

A sign and sight in New York

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.

More pics on FB
More trouble follows

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50-meter pools

thornden03poolI’m moving to Syracuse: many city parks there have 50-meter pools and they’re not only free but they also have lap swimming in the AM for big people.
Our weekend party @ Syracuse is about to begin. The first truck load of people are heading there soon. I’m planning the Saturday finale (no one promoted me to the post but being thick-skinnned .. ), and suggested to picnic in the park. So I called Syracuse park office at 9:03am. After 1 ring, a young lady pick it up. A few words later she transferred me to the resevation desk.
A young man picked it up on the first ring too.
I can’t reserve any area since all are booked for two weeks ahead of time – I had Thornden Park in mind. However Onondaga park the person mentioned has picnic tables near the swimming pool that we could use on first come basis.
After thanking him
“Why don’t I move up to Syracuse?” I wondered out loud.
“I’m wondering too.” He laughed too.
Nay … I’m tough, love Noo Yawk too much I can deal with it. I’d be bored out of my mind in a week there 🙂

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Oh thy Mets

The Mets broadcasting triumvirate of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are the talk of the town.

New York Observer writes cool articles. Not sure the Mets is cool or winning. But the three add excitement and flavors to the Mets. John Koblin is right that their style of commentating only work in New York. The comedian Dennis Miller should have become the Mets announcers rather than with NFL.

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GKR’s Drinking Game

Are you a Mets fan?

Whether the Mets are winning or losing, there is one constant that makes a television broadcast enjoyable – the announcing of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling. Nationally televised Mets games are usually dreadful because viewers are subjected to announcers not nearly as knowledgeable, insightful, and entertaining as GKR. As a tribute to our announcing trio, I present the Gary, Keith, and Ron Drinking Game. The Mets are causing fans to drink right now, so why not have some fun during broadcasts?

Standard drinking game rules apply, as you should take the appropriate number of sips from your beverage when something on the list happens.

the trio goofy announcers

Here is the JamesK’s Gary, Keith n Ron Drinking Game. Keith hasn’t changed much from his playing days with the Mets but Ron gained a lot of weight.

One sip:

  • Keith uses the expression “second division” to describe teams like the Padres or Nationals
  • The delicious Citi Field food is brought up
  • Self-deprecation by Ron
  • Keith calls an RBI a “ribeye steak”
  • Any reference to Gary and Ron’s Ivy League backgrounds
  • Keith talks about Sag Harbor, the eastern Long Island town where he lives
  • Frustration with the Mets detected in Gary’s voice
  • Keith fondly remembers his days with the Cardinals
  • They are wearing powder blue polo shirts
  • Ron tells a funny story about Sid Fernandez, Ray Knight, or any other member of the 1980s Mets
  • Keith mentions his wife Kai by name
  • Anyone calls Citi Field “Shea”
  • Keith complains about the lack of aggressiveness by a first baseman
  • Gary refers to any single play as a microcosm of the season
  • Keith’s scorecard is discussed
  • Any mention of Rusty Staub; bonus sip if “Le Grande Orange” is said
  • With a full count, 2 outs, and runners on base, Gary says “the merry-go-round is in motion”
  • Keith refers to Howard Johnson as “Haji”

Two sips:

  • Keith uses the word “boner” to describe a defensive miscue
  • Keith tells a non-baseball story from 20+ years ago
  • Ron pronounces “Smoltz” as “Schmoltz”
  • Ron pronounces “mischievous” as “miss-chee-vee-us”
  • Keith tells the viewers to watch David Wright’s shoulder (which is usually “flying open”)
  • Ron breaks down Oliver Perez’s mechanics (which change on a daily basis)
  • Gary reminisces about an obscure Mets game from the 1970’s
  • Ron discusses the latest movie releases (he was quite fond of “Pineapple Express” last summer)
  • Keith says “Metsies”
  • Gary talks about announcers he admires, like Bob Murphy and Vin Scully
  • Anyone says “roughshod”
  • Keith refers to baseball fundamentals as “fundies”
  • Any mention of Endy Chavez
  • The Seinfeld episodes starring Keith are brought up
  • Omir Santos is discussed as if he’s here for the long haul
  • Ron brings up a member of the local media by name

Three sips:

  • The announcers’ SAT scores are discussed
  • Gary talks about the New York Jets; bonus sip if it’s about a Jets team that played at Shea Stadium.
  • Anyone gushes about Orlando Hudson or David Eckstein
  • Gary awkwardly brings up an advanced statistic, like BABIP
  • Keith yawns
  • Gary describes a batted ball as having been “fisted”, e.g. “he fisted it to shortstop”
  • Keith says the word “bulge” in reference to attaining a lead in the division, e.g. “The Mets are in first place in the NL East, with a 3 game bulge over the Phillies”
  • Any reference to the classic college matchup between Yale (featuring Ron) and St. John’s (featuring Frank Viola) when Ron threw no-hit ball for 11 innings before losing 1-0
  • Keith or Ron talk about their fathers
  • Keith talks with food in his mouth

Chug your beverage:

  • Keith mentions the brand name Budweiser
  • Gary uses the double “It’s Outta Here!”

Drink a White Russian:

  • Anyone says the word “dude”

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Ballperson tryout at the USTA

CIMG5210 The tryout at the USTA for the upcoming US Open was held on June 25, more than 400 showed up. It just reinforced my believe that people who run the tennis events are less capable. The event’s scheduled at 3pm:

The registration begins at 3 p.m. and tryouts start at 4 p.m. at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

We arrived at 3pm. Immediately saw a friend of ours.
Go wait on line, out side of Court 7.
The line was huge.
Weather was extremely nice, bright sunshine and the sky was actually blue.
The line didn’t move a bit for the next hour except grow longer.
All I could think was …
‘Darn, we’re missing out on a dry day to play …’
Because New York has been raining a lot lately.
Global warming?
People watching?
check out her fuzzy furry sandals a view bon appetite balls in the water

At about 4pm, the skipper who ran the show walked briskly by. I tried to ask her if the birth certificate is needed (Charlie told me so but I forgot …).
She was very abrupt.
CIMG5172“I can’t stop [walking].” She said and continued her walk.
I shout my question if birth certificate was needed.
She yelled abck:
“No, you don’t need anything to registier, today.”
The registration finally began.
Someone passed a single page of flyer to the waiting crowds that indicating the requirement. 14 years old and up are eligible to work there. Good.
Then why didn’t they pass the registration forms as well?
What they did was … every one passed by the first table to pick up a numbered card and was given a form to fill, then proceed to another row of tables, hunch over it to fill. All those could have been accomplished while they waited on line.
A huge sum of time was wasted.
They were like newbies, as if it was their first time to do so.
There were swamps of media on hands too. The girl in the third pic (unaltered) from left is real, and really thin. American Beauty? More like an eyesore in my eyes: malnutrition. She might born that way but lord don’t send her to a sport event or have her legs covered. She doesn’t project a healthy image. Well, unless you compare to the obsess .. ..
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Ok, I knew tennis is popular and there are huge populace stands at attention to be associated with it. But do they really have to (or want to) abuse fans’ good will?

We were in the middle of the line up. But Pumpkin got a card numbered 425. Clearly it’s a screw up. The twin sisters were there too, and more than 20 spots behind us. One of them had #418.

Many parents were complaining too.

#425 one size fits all waiting at Court 7 after filling forms .... Franklin

They had few pro ball boys/girls demonstrated their crafts. This dream girl did the Center Court – not centerfold. She has the speed which the net ballperson needs. With a strong throwing arms, one could do the baseline.

We ran into many acquaintance aside from the twins.
Peter’s daughter was there.
Franklin was there with 3 of his buddies.

Salute .. the fly overThe two adults evaluator or recruiters took their time with each candidates (about 5 minutes), mostly kids, the very end. you're looking good babe ...
Pumpkin was second to the last, 2nd of the twins. They explained the tasks and conferred with them. The two adults were patient. There were youngsters feeding the balls to the net and the tryouts try to copy what they saw earlier, or what they saw on TV since most of them are also tennis bums.

Having said the above, I wondered if it’s fair for all when the candidate is clearly not going to make it. (So so American, bending backward to be fair ..) I have no intention to embarrass anyone but do we have to watch her trying?

It was a very long day. We didn’t leave USTA till 7:20pm.
Ok, I’m overkilling this post with pictures.
SO … allows me here one more, just 1 more …
The Kodak moment came at the end: capturing my kids in the USTA is priceless ..
Kodak moment: capturing my kids in the USTA is priceless

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US Open 2009 @ Bethpage

We were lucky to have gone yesterday: on a perfect 10 out of 10 day for golf. I went to food shopping after dropping off the kids few hours ago, and stepped in a poddle of water that was to my calf in the parking lot. The next few days look like more rain drops than sun rays.

We parked at Jones Beach and took the coach to the Park. It’s about 20 minutes righe, painless, except the dust. As soon as I got off the bus, I found the first piece of garbage on the ground.

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Michael dropped his sunglasses as we were watching the Tiger roaring. Ben Crane the slowmo came to pick it up. Ben is renowned for his slowness, once his partner walked off without him.
“Keep it.” I joked.
Ben CranHe playfully put it on top of his shades.
Michael took off his cap. Meaning you can have this if you want.
But Mr. Celebrity is so used to autograph seekers, he thought Michael was one of them.
He signed it without asking.
Guess everyone had their mind and eye on Tiger, no one was handing their stuff out for signature for Mr. Crane.
Well, no worry.
There is always an Irene.
Without knowing who he was, I handed him my cap.
I didn’t want to see him standing there, waiting.
An older gentle stood to me left, joked
“He’s just a ground crew.”
Early we chatted briefly. He posed a question or comment on Tiger, then waited for my reply. I looked at him blankly, confessing that I knew nothing about the game.
“Then why are you here?” He laughed.
“Oh, I was kidnapped.” 🙂 I pointed to DQ to my right.
He wanted to be kidnapped too.

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The check points at Jones Beach by the coach were through, like in an airport: empty your pockets and gone through a beeping arch.
No cell phone
No food
No water
No camera case, camera is ok
They provided the phone booth.
It’s kind of cool, for the younger generation who grow up on computers and cell phones.
Dad and Mom used to live this way, make a call from a big machine that’s moored to the ground. Oh, needed to have quarters to make the call.
The famous Nathan Frankfurter, hot dog cost $5
The beer $6
I sneaked in a Trader Joe’s strawberry bar. I must have a tendency to challenge the authority.
A born rebel, I reckon?
There was this huge shopping mall
A gleaming white tent.
CIMG5018 CIMG5022 CIMG5020

Merchandise Pavilion
Gift shops are Americans’ tradition. They need to have their dose of shopping crave filled. Everywhere.
DQ was trying on hat
CIMG4885James Dodson, the author of A Son of the Game was on hand signing his books.

I left my purse in the car, had to borrow money for my shopping spree.
Love the idea that they decorated the mall with orchards.

The mall was packed, humming with activities. It was only a practice day.
Well, golfers are better paid than tennis players.
Even every one can pick up a game of golf.
Count how many pro-am/celebrity golf tournaments are out there, vs tennis?
And pro golfers have much longer shelf live.
Their careers last longer than any other athletes.
The golf pros and tennis pros charge similar fee per hour. But tennis pro most likely has to sweat out the entire hour.

CIMG4882 CIMG5024 CIMG5016

NY Times‘ take on New York fans are on the money. The older gentle on my left was yelling out tips to Tiger on how to swing.
These two cuties were at the middle of the 18th hole, waiting for Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
I sneezed.
“Excuse me.” I said to no one in particular.
“God bless you.” One of them said.
After thanking him, I asked
“Why are you on wheels?”
They both stood as the balls dropped.
“We’re disabled.” They replied curtly.
Mind your own business, will you pls Irene?
CIMG4986 Nathan Tyler Tyler girl friendNathan Tyler has an Asian girl friend -> right.
Behind her were the sponsors – corporate white tents. The big boys would rent a house or a tent or both, to entertain their clients and enjoying the game themselves. Golfer never has worried where to park
or how much a beer cost 🙂
I had just as much fun as anyone would. Thanks DQ.
I’ve heard that I’m slated for the July Girls’ game in Pennsylvania, LPGA.
You got to know the right people 🙂

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Vijay Singh at 2009 Bethpage US Open

My g/f was bit in shock upon hearing my going to the US Open today. She thought that I’m finally converted or defected to golf.
No no no …
I was being kidnapped.
DQ herd the 5 of us there … her golf coach Jerry, her golfing buddy Michael G …

We had to park at Jones Beach and took the coach to Bethpage State Park. We used to go there with the kids biking, then had brunch at the club over looking the black tee off and the 18th hole.

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The future US Opens

The PGA plans its future US Open Championships well into 2015 and beyond … seen at the 2009 Open (golf) at Bethpage

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