Archive for January 7, 2010

I wouldn’t worry about ..

One of the 9 teams in our group (region?) played its season opener on Wednesday without surrendering a set and only donated 15 games. Wow that’s a fantastic start.  So I wondered out loud to my team .. and .. got an earful. Among lectures, I found this one reassuring:

I wouldn’t worry about the other team so much. I’m only worried about our women as they are the weakest links. [hey isn’t that my line??] I’m still playing in 3rd gear and will step it up only when the male opponent steps it up. I don’t want to be hitting any hard shots at the women unless they start first.

I have a staple of beautiful girls. Me worry? Are you kidding?

As I was playing my first league game after long hiatus on Tuesday, I found my legs weren’t mine, plus loaded with lead. I thought I don’t get nervous. I hit a lousy shot followed by another one .. one more .. double faults .. 3 in a row!!! I never knew that I was capable of that! I felt terrible and sugarless when my man put his head down after the lousy point or better yet, he didn’t even move, just let the ball screaming passing by.

Me worry? You got be kidding.

We were the second fiddlers. Two teammates were playing the first doubles and two to my left were doing the third 轰轰烈烈. The thought that they’re my responsibilities plus the partner who shared the court with me suddenly loomed large. I must be nuts: all those five players are better at tennis and knew what’s going on. It’s me who’s clueless, the weakest link.

I brought V8, water, snack bars and seaweeds .. .. just in case any one feeling Hungary or thirsty. I swear to lord I’ve never done such thing for my own kids, and pray to lord they are not going to read this.

Some clues.

Looking to my right, Lum was playing 热火朝天 with her guy. 我就有点气不打一处来: I had to blame them for my own sorry situation. They must be eager to show off their improved partnership (It’s cute that Wah could never beat Irene on court), so egged me on. Why don’t they volunteer to be the captain? Barack Obama wanted to show off his wife’s arms to the world hence he ran for the skipper. Booo hoooo .. .. no love them no more .. I’m the least connected and talented in this tennis cosmos. Never wanted to be in charge of anything or anyone. Most girls I knew all have strong tennis-playing husbands or significant-others, or patrons to look after them. I’m totally alone out there. Poor me .. cry.. cry.. cry..

Alright, let’s move on, shall we?

The opposing team’s captain stoically stood by the revolving door, watched. I like her: responsive, able and professional. Very pleasant to deal with. She wrote neatly on the sheet and even indicating which court the team would be play on. When we had question regarding the tie break in the first set – if to play regular 7 points tie break or the Coman rotation which is 10 point: teams switch sides after the first point, and then after every 4th point (after 1st, 5th, 9th point, etc.). She came over quickly and explained precisely. It’s regular 7 points.

We were leading 3:1 in the first set but lost in tie break by a fair large margin.

I’ve been playing mixed doubles for too long and been taken care for for too long. I’m used to carry about only 20-30% of the load. Come to think about it, that’s why I can’t play with the girls where equal partnership is required. I become lazy and especially after serving, I’m always kind of expecting my man to put the ball away for good. Or wander into the no man zone, taking a break there :). I think I install my sofa in the no man zone permanently.

At beginning of second set, I thought about winning the match but felt very daunting. The mountain was just too high to climb over: we needed to win the 2nd set plus the tie break.

Why was I there?

Thinking hard, I calmed down:

I felt guilty that I let my team down, especially the few good men. The handsome 4.0 boys would never even look at my direction if were not .. .. There’s pair of veterans, a 4.0 girl no less; a pretty woman .. ya ya .. I’m corny, low on self-esteem and a shameless promoter. In any case, I don’t think I’m allowed any error – they might kick me out of the team (I’m only the airhead prop) or form some sort of committee [ha ha ha hhhmmmmmm ..]. Those fears chased my anxiety away.

As we were enjoying a healthy lead in the second set, the tall guy on the other side had a cramp. He asked for a time out between a deuce. Not knowing the protocol or rules – there are many (which is good), we just waited on our court. After about 3 minutes or so, we walked over to the net. He said he’s fine so we resumed the play. We took the set at 6:2 – they insisted that we won 6:1. In the super tie break, I did relatively well. Remember, in this level of play, your opponents are just as nervous as you are. We took the tie break at 4 or 5. It wasn’t close. Looking back at the scores:
6:7 (3:7), 6:1, 10:5
I don’t think I perform well under pressure. Need to learn to deal with mental game as well.

The girl failed to return a shot that ended the game. I felt so relieved and happy that I won a match on first outing, sort of. I knew, as usual, it was more of Wai’s doing. But what the heck. A win is a win. I could have screw it up big time. I must have hugged Wai, Irene and Wah were laughing. 投怀送抱 -:) Ewwwwww .. what a desperate house wife Wai must have thought.

Wait, did I really hug him? Or they made it up? Whatever.

Sleep tight Irene. It’s only a game.

1st doubles: 3:6, 6:2, 10:5
2nd doubles: 7:6 (3:7), 6:1, 10:5
3rd doubles: 7:6 (?), 6:1

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Ruby Tuesday

Tuesday was my first league match day. The only agenda on my schedule was a lunch with another group of tennis lunatics. But my little crackblackberry gone mad the night before, refusing to wake up no matter how loud I yelled and how hard I shaken it. When the phone carrier told me that either wait for them to mail me one or go to Hicksville to pick up one. I opted to pick up. Can one live without a phone for a day or two nowadays? The replacement of the crackberry wasn’t new nor whole: they used my old battery and old cover. Lord, they’re cheap but I was thankful that I have something in hand.

Tuesday should have been a relaxing day before the night match. When I rushed to the buffet restaurant after picking up the cracks few players were already seated and eating. Among them was someone I wasn’t expected to be seeing. Ok, someone I didn’t want to see for we broke up in an ugly fashion more than two decades ago. I marched into the small alcove and sat at the larger different table and immediately engulfed with my buddies. In between bits and chats, I managed a few words with my buddy about my old feuds. Next time I looked, my former roommate was gone.

Our relationship started off fabulously. I shared my friends. When we cooked too much for dinner, Eric (my pseudo brother) would be called. Our little dingy apt was often packed with orphans like us – Chinese transplants. I learned how to cook 白切鸡 from her – just dip the bird into the hot water!! We had fun.
When Golfer called for the first date, she was next to the phone.
Golfer: “.. let’s go to a light show after dinner at amnh ..”
“Ok, we’ll go to the live show.” Light into my ear, after the processor it became live out of my mouth. I thought I said light. My language skill has always been superb.
Then I saw her eyebrows rose up considerably.
After I hung up she said in disbelieve, “this is the guy you met .. but you said he’s very nice ..”
Still had no clue, I defended him, “Of course he’s nice .. ”
“Do you know what a live show is?” Light or live, it beats out the chess club outing by large margin. Oh well, this blog isn’t about my dating ..

One winter day she was sick with flu and overworked so I made chicken soup for her .. few days later she took us out for dinner to reciprocate. Those kind exchanges happened often between us. Personally I did it for the joy of caring for a friend. At the bill time, she insisted to pay for it, citing she had few comps from work from overtime, would expire if unused.
(Later when things didn’t go well between us, she would telling everybody that she not had to buy me dinner but my boy friend also. This, did NOT sit well with me. Golfer isn’t a free loader .. ..)

Around that time, she decided to buy a house and asked me to lend her money for down payment. She also asked Eric. Although I could only fork over a meager amount but I was more than happy to help her out anyway I could.

One day she sat in the living room red eyed. It turned out the land lord was giving her hard time for moving out; withholding her deposits unless certain conditions were met. It was the clueless Irene went to bat for her, telling the landlord she was wrong should refund my roommate’s money immediately. ya da ya da ya da “Mom, don’t bother with her, I’ll call the policy .. ” The old woman’s daughter threatened me.
“Go ahead.. ” Guess I was a raging bull. The old woman told me to get lost and shut her door on my face. I often dumbfounded by my own little heroic doings for I neither possess the size to intimidate nor the oration to negotiate.

Anyway, it went without saying that we (another friend Alan and I) would all move to Bayside with her, regardless the inconvenience of transportation, etc. to help her out as renters. Once she became the landlord, things changed drastically. Our rent didn’t include electricity. In the winter, she won’t supply enough heat. The remedy? She bought electricity heaters for each room. On top of the over charged rent. I didn’t find this out until I moved out that Alan checked around and realized the rent in that area was far less for what she was charging us. He soon moved out too.

I didn’t remember what prompt our blow out. Perhaps the built up over the months. The following day after our fight she came home and returned my money.
“Irene, here is your money, with interest.” When she saw my distort face, she asked,
“You don’t think it’s right?” She arrogantly pointed to numbers listed on the piece of paper:
“I checked money market interest rates over the past few months. I’m repaying you with interests.” Then added,
“If you don’t like it here, feel free to move out.”

I was mad and hurt. It was like you handed your heart out on a plate but the receiver knocked it to the floor without any appreciation. I didn’t lend her money to earn the interests. The bank paid far better interests. It was really out of friendship.
On another thought: if she could secure the money from the bank, would she have borrowed from friends?
Beside being belittled isn’t a nice feeling. She knew I wasn’t fluent with financial terms and she played the
sophisticated banker, toying with a FOB.
Eric told me quietly,
“Take the money.” Then wondered when could he get his money back now that his wife had arrived. He eventually did get his $5,000 (?) back.

I forfeited my deposit, moved out that Saturday without giving her a month notice. I’d rather saved the friendship than have a last laugh, and I’m not sure it was the last laugh. Losing a relationship is always hard, more than any one willing to bear.

We ran into each few times in Flushing. Once was weekend in a restaurant, she was clad in a white fury short coat with a man who looked very provincial. Another time on the street; then we both boarded the LIRR. I had the feeling she was following me. As the train rambling on, I debated if I should say hello.

No one is perfect, that includes myself. I’m simple and straightforward, appreciate the fundamental quality of fairness, honesty and consideration in a person, regardless my friends or foes. What got to me most was the fact I helped her to fight her landlord but in return she treated me just as bad and unfairly as the landlord she loathed.

In a way, I always felt she needed me to be her friend and protector. She lived rather solitary life, dating a boy friend who lived in Toronto with a wife in China. Then the feuds over come the caring or whatever was left of our once close friendship. As the train pulled into station, I got up and left.

Do I hold grudge? Not sure. Probably not. I think time has grinned any hard edges off that parcel. But whenever I saw her, it brought back the hurtful feelings .. and my naïve .. that I’d rather not to experience hence I don’t want to see her.

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