Archive for April, 2010

Harry Barr Memorial Meet 1999

Took place at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point on April 24 and 25, 1999. My first swimming race ever meet! I was thrilled. Roberta and kids came to cheer me on.

I participated in three heats, and the results were:   

  • 50 Free sprint at 39:04
  • 500 Free at 8:42
  • 1,000 Free at 17:47

Yesterday I went to swim, with little disruptions here and there (wasn’t too crowded .. but there was this old man just won’t go away .. ), 40 laps came in at about 25 minutes! This timing seems to be my new record. It’s mere 11 years but ..
Couple of years ago, I could do 40 laps within 20 minutes frame and 50m under 50 seconds.


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Are we being toyota’d?

The fact that Toyota has over taken the three musketeers de Detroit becoming the Number One has not lost on any of us. The fact that Toyota soon was engulfed in the massive recall of its cars, competed with drama on the freeway (my heart goes to the San Diego family) and in Washington DC. Is someone not playing by the rule of fairness? I hope not. But my friend who’s lives in China is an engineer think so. She said there is NO perfect car, all cars have fault, some big and some small.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
Although we were on the phone over the Pacific Ocean or oceans that I don’t know how the waves/cables are routed, I could see her rolling her eyes in resignation.
So many (can’t say the rest of the world since I haven’t had the chance calling every nation ..) have believed US isn’t playing nice and fair. I never ventured toward that corner over Toyota’s recent happenings because I thought better of USA.

The steep price comes with being number one, or my team being the new kids on the block having a perfect season?

Lost out to the little Japs? Then change your business models, innovate, cut down the fat. This is the flat world now. Holding on to your old winning formula is only digging your own grave deeper.

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The art of lineup

During regular season, captains are required to exchange their lineup 5 minutes prior to the start of the match. The peeking order should be the strongest pair anchors the first doubles and on down, to ensure a competitive game. Each match win carries different points:
First doubles win is worth 6 points
Second doubles win 4 points
Third doubles win 3 points
Stacking will still work (like putting your first to play third) if you think you would loss all three matches. But in playoffs since only the winning match counts, so you would want to place your weakest against their strongest if you feel your first doubles isn’t going to win.

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USTA 2010 rates

2010 indoor Rates:
10pm-12 midnight ….$38/hour
(Junior & Senior “walk-in” rate prior to 4pm) …$20/hour*

*All guests must be juniors or seniors in order to receive special walk-in rate.

Weekend Rates:
Saturday, Sunday (& Holidays)
Saturday: 6am-12 midnight
Sunday: 6am-11pm
6am-9am ….$38/hour
9am-4pm ….$62/hour
4pm-12 midnight ….$38/hour

Outdoor Rates:
4pm-12 midnight*…$30/hour

Saturday, Sunday (& Holidays)
8am-12 midnight*…$30/hour

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We took Queens!


They cut us off at the knees and we still prevailed!

Yap, we won. Despite two last second complaints that hit us few days earlier, that restricted my team to the bare minimum. Four of us, out of 14 team roster were bumped up from 3.0 to 3.5. So six male 4.0ers are vie for one 3.0 (the only lady 4.0 is left out without a partner to play). No, 唐伯虎点秋香 .. .. six guys are sitting pretty waiting to be the chosen one. Simon joked that he’ll stripe naked to try to get picked. Other 4.0ers said they could offer massage .. .. ha ha ha.

It’s bitter sweet.

Before the first match about to start, Cap Foo mentioned us to form a circle by the soda machine at the corner and said in a visible emotional tone,

“.. .. Let’s go out there and kick some tails!”

Consider his normal very reserved manner, we all got the message, loud and clear.

The first and second doubles started on time at 6pm on the second floor. The third doubles had to wait till the 8.0ers finished their business at court 12. There wasn’t much lobs going on at court 12.

“You’ll get crushed in that level of play.” Simon told me.

Dingy .. I just began to utilize/appreciate this tool.

the lineup wizardThe pretty little lineup wizard.

I knew it. Bill couldn’t have done it right 11 times in a row .. now extended to 13. He probably dumped our names in a hat and had her to pick each time.

Hey, Billy, buys her a pair of high heels .. maybe she could pass as a 18 years old 3.0?

I walked face to face with a captain whom I met once and liked on the balcony who looked down immediately. My first thought was .. the complaint filer? Then second, oh, got it, I’m radioactive. Perhaps they were all sorry for my plight.
It might be USTA’s policy to shield the plaintiffs, but it felt sneaky. Few of my teammates have been playing in the league for nearly a decade or longer and knows almost everyone. A big happy family? Should be but with the anonymous complaints .. not so sure. My vets assured me that truth will come out eventually. Not that I care.

The first match against the Division 1 was succinct:

1st D – 6:2, 7:5

2nd D – 2:6, 1:6

3rd D – 7:5, 6:3

Two sets each and it was over. The third doubles, the deciding one finished the last since they started late.

DSCN6001There were two USTA officials. They came to measure the net and adjust the score-poles. They gone over the rules briefly and specifically on foot faulting ..

” .. even if only you touch a little,” he demonstrated with his right foot that kissed the out side of the white line, and then said in a firm tone:

“I will call it .. ”

Good policy.

The officials also performed the coin toss; the league provided bananas, raisins and crackers. They’re retirees but are USTA paid staff not volunteers.

One of my girls got cramp after the first match. Great that we had such a strong team of masseurs in waiting. But it was Lum who voodoo the leg and arm back to normal, then sent her to take a hot shower. As time approaching to exchange lineup, we had runners going between Bill and the locker room.

We had such a skeleton group that four players (including the cramper .. with Kai they serve a bagel .. brave girl .. errrrh… although I am opposing bagel/egg on court but under our dire circumstance, my little glee was justified.) had to play the second match after about an hour of resting. My partner and I were on court 8 sandwiched between 7 and 10. Sean and I had never played together before, we only got to share the court once for a set early afternoon on that day. For some reason, we got to a great start leading 4:1. DSCN6004Then the opponents began to figure out our weakness and game and pretty much demolished us from there on. We only managed to win one more game in the second set, to escape an bagel. Wah later commented that they’re far better players and were little confused in the beginning. There was a one questionable call made by me, to the far right. Seas was trying hard to chase down while I was guarding the left alley. It looked clearly out hence I called. Mike the opponent immediately protested. An official who was watch Paul’s game turned toward us. The lady asked what’s Sean’s call.

“I didn’t see it.” Sean replied.


The official said .. not matter what, it’s their court hence their call.

The game went on without a hatch. I remembered them from my first match when they played against Sandy and Paul, and were frustrated by Sandy’s lobs. Being smart, I began to lob too. The only problem? He got every lob back, deep to the baseline. Few months .. someone had practiced it hard and was enjoying the fruit. Without a talking head besides me, I was totally lost.

DSCN6020In any event, the game was competitive and enjoyable. Bill told me that at the end when it was over, as he was signing the captain’s scorecard Deb-Rose said that our opponents commented to her it was very friendly match and “a pleasure to play against Sean and I.” Sure it’s a pleasure, we could only get 4 and 1 :). Ok, honestly, they were better pair. I much prefer the friendship over competition. Perhaps that’s why I’m not able to win more .. (good excuse). After the matches were over and the blue towels (big prize .. worth the trouble to file complaints?) were distributed, Mike came over and sought me out from the crowds and congratulated me with a firm hand shake. Chivalry .. that’s really nice of him. And meant a great deal to me. People could be fierce competitors/adversary but at the end of the game or day could also share a drink, rather than being sour grapes.
We the second doubles finished first. Looking at the score poles, both my teams were winning comfortably in the second sets having took the first. So I went to shower. What was I thinking??? As I was dressing, Rebeca came ..

“Kai and Anna won; Paul and Mary are in super tie break ..”


I bolted for court. Mind you, fully clothed..

DSCN6026 - CopyIt was 8:5. The NTC by then was deserted except us, the two teams. Two more points to go, come on .. It was a comfortable lead and thank lord, after an error our pair clinched the deal.

We cheered loudly and wildly. There were hugs and jumps .. and one of our teammates enjoyed assault ..

That [Person X] did a full frontal and squished everything on me. I was in shock. [Person X] took full advantage of the situation and I felt violated in public.

Oh boy .. oh father .. Catholics are coming? Apparently my kids are bonding with one another so well over short few months. I shall take full credit .. wink .. wink .. wink ..

Two girls in the first doubles had played once during the regular season and had controversy about being quick served. After the last night’s match, Paul mentioned that the girl was quiet nasty. She blurted the F bomb after Paul drilled her guy at the net. It was downhill for them thereafter. Fortunately her back was to the net (facing the balcony) so the ref didn’t hear it (it’s a point deduction). But unfortunately the spectators on the balcony heard it clearly. Our Miss Lineup Wizard was totally shocked when “F#%* them” was muttered. .. For the love of the game, we should be able to behave?

1st D – 6:4, 5:7, 1:0
2nd D – 4:6, 1:6
3rd D – 6:0, 6:4

playoff1 Queens playoffs on April 11

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All about the NTRP

National Tennis Rating Program Guidebook defines each playing level (1, 1.5 .. to 7, total 13 levels) on page 10 and 11 in great details – see the chart below.

guidebook poster

In an effort to avoid disqualification when players are rating themselves and they question which level they should play, they should place themselves in the higher level of play.

USTA emphases on Players must rate themselves in accordance with the NTRP. Leveling the playing field is absolutely vital but at the same time, does it get abused? How do they justify the above level playing allowed in the league?

Players who are good athletes and intend to spend a great deal of time taking lessons and practicing should be aware that their improvement may be significant enough to surpass their original self-rate level.

A question: Jane is a new player who picks up a tennis racket and self rated herself and joins a league. Then she finds herself in love with the game or talented, takes lessons and improved tremendously in just a couple of months. Instead of waiting for complaint to come she goes to the coordinator and asks to be placed at a higher level while the season has not ended. The league grants her wish. Now do the matches she played stay or being reversed?

Some helpful links and musings..


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Wheelchair tennis

Last month the NTC held a fund raising night for the wheelchair tournament that’ll be held in second weekend of June. About two dozen pedestrian players showed up plus three wheel chair players. We mixed and matched with different partners thought out the night. At one point, I teamed up with a dude who looked like never seen the tennis court in his life but we ended up won 6:1, beating a some kind of pro. Unreal.

DSCN5683 gd DSCN5683 gd

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Protected: ntrp Grievances

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USTA rating

USTA used to offer rating session at NTC but no longer did which’s a shame; inconvenient many players who would rather be ‘certified’ by a NTC pro to ride doubts and whispers.

Sandy said 10 years ago she joined the league and was desperate wanted to be a 3.5 to play on the 3.5 team she desired. But unfortunately the pro would only issue her a 3.0 card. Couple of years ago, one day she was cleaning the house and saw the card again; debated as to keep it or toss it into the garbage can. No she didn’t remember which way the card went: up in the shelf or down in the can.
Self Rate Guide
Usta Self Rate Guide

Self Rate Questionnaire

USTA Self Rate Questionnaire

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The Tiger Bubble

Tiger made the PGA tour; brought lot$ of $$ to the tour; benefit many journeymen but at the same time, stiffen the competition. ..

A friend said Tiger is his idol. I thought he’s so pugilistic and cynical. .. .. Why? .. His reason is: Tiger is the best golfer out there who tried to have sex with everyone. Ok, that explains it.

Apparently Tiger’s huge sexual appetite is inherited from his father, Earl Woods. Vanity Fair went the other way, the sexier way. Talked to his mistresses. A loveless marriage?

Watching him play, it really is an enjoyment. Effortless. Gracious. Elegant. Mustn’t we get into his bedroom? This tiger is being hunted relentlessly.

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