Archive for December, 2011

The new caste

For those who doesn’t know USA, often say Americans aren’t class conscious. True they don’t have a monarchy or royal lords like many old Europa but the Yankees have been creating new kind of classes everywhere. I saw this Islanders pass access at the Coliseum:

Call it economic caste or whatever, it is everywhere in USA. The other day, I saw Cathay Pacific is promoting their premium economy class: first few rows of the mass seating section. For those who couldn’t afford Business but willing to pay little extra?

Anyway. We played our first re-scheduled match (3D rescheduled):
1D: 6-2, 6-1
2D: 6-3, 6-1
3D: 3-6, 5-7

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Protected: Queens 7.0 mixed 2012

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The Queens 2012 captains’ meeting

It’s my 4th captain’s meeting (2010 Queens, 2011 Manhattan and Queens, 2012 Manhattan) and the most combative one so far.

The girls Pam and Deb addresses few issues that concern me.

  1. Reschedule. One captain at the meeting forcefully complained that the league never consulted him for the given [new] date that might put him at disadvantage. Few captains voiced the rule .. that should you couldn’t make it, the initiator will forfeit. The forceful captain said, “.. then what IS the point of making every one work extra?” Why didn’t they forfeit the court to begin with?? I couldn’t agree more with him. Deb said, if you want to do away with rescheduling, we’re happy to oblige.
  2. Money. The economy isn’t good and it affects the little tennis community too. Pam the treasurer said she’s seen the teams’ pay record with entries like $30, $60, .. she stretched out her two arms, one over her head and one was below her knees, to describe the difficulty some teams face in collecting payment. This is totally new to me. I think I’m fortunate in that regard becasue my mates were and are very cooperative and never needs to be reminded for payment. My way has been asking if anyone wishes to pay on their own as soon as the online pay begin or pay me at each match. I’ve been paying the balance. My preference is they pay online. But my attitude is, I’m a near poor but short of $30 won’t set me poorer. SO, if the mates remember to pay, it’s great. If they forget, no big deal – I trust people. The 2012 Manhattan league has few new players and they all paid online long before the first match. SO I’m fortunate and grateful.
  3. Referrals. The league refers players who are looking for a team or two to join, and the league expect feedback. IF the player is new or unknown for problem, they will be refer to us. There are players who bug them often but never actually join, or they always give captain a hard time, they don’t get referred. This league is really a small world and people talk to each other. I made friends and look forward to seeing them on court or at the meetings.

Pam also mentioned that economy isn’t good but the tennis clubs are doing great (How could that be? She didn’t elaborate. Perhaps doves of Petes, Andres, Serenas and Venues are in training?! OR unemployment rate is high .. .. so the stay homers go to play tennis. I are really smart!), that’s why the increa$e of court fee from 2011 $29 to $30 in 2012.

Talking about money: there are couple of players we wanted to have. But ultimately it’s the court fees that prevent them. The husband said it costs him only in single digit to play at NTC. So no to the league. Never mind the league is more about team work and camaraderie than dollar$ and cent$.

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I’ve my first postponement request this year two weeks prior to the December match. The league granted it and rescheduled it a month later.

I already know I am short one guy for this match. Already begged all the guys on my team, they are 100% busy/committed.

The intend is really for the unexpected event like injury, not for some team that couldn’t field a stronger pair. We’re all busy during the holiday season! The rule states:

Rescheduling Courts: Each team may request the re-schedule of a maximum of 3 courts per season. NOTE: You can only re-schedule one court per match — 3rd doubles. All re-schedule requests must be submitted no later than January 15, 2010. One date will be given for the re-schedule. If either team can not make the re-schedule date, the requesting team must forfeit.

My first thought was, why doesn’t the requesting team consider to forfeit instead? Rescheduling a match involves three parts: the requesting team, the opposing team and the league. The later two have to work additionally just to accommodate the first part, the requester. The league has to weight the availability of the club, as well as both teams’ schedules. The league will not consult either teams when they grant a new date. Is it worth it? Besides, the new date might put my team at disadvantage, and I certainly don’t want to my team to be viewed as uncooperative becasue a No/can’t make it from us means forfeiture for the requesting team.

My team has always been small. One of the season we navigated the entire season with only 10 players. Not a single match was re-scheduled. No sweat. Some players had to make sacrifice (i.e. job) for the game. Maybe other teams should try a little harder before troubling two more parties for the sake of their own? It’s the third court, counts only 3 points.

However resentful, I think most team would try to accommodate the request however unwilling. Because deep down we all try our best to be courteous and want to win fair and square.

Will someone/team abuse the system? Of course. But that’s life, chill.

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The Coliseum

Golfer has his play off match at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum immediately after the Islanders game. That’s in conflict with my fourth match: we’re short of woman and must win IF we want to stay in the race. After begging and weighting to be a supportive wife once in a long while or not letting my team down (actually its quite a let down by losing 1D matches, twice). It’s my team in the end.  Golfer was very supportive, saying no worry .. they’ll play at the Coliseum again. My plan for the night was: try to finish the match as soon as possible and rush to the Coliseum be the groupie. Got a chance to roam around the back but didn’t get to see the players’ locker room: pix on FB, on youtube.

I love ice hockey (and football): so much grace, speed and drama. I always wondered why ice hockey isn’t as popular as other major league sports: über unfair. Also wondered why the heck they say no to Wang’s new stadium. The Coliseum is so old that it may crack any time if the wind blows bit harder.

Back to tennis. I was running late but thankfully got there by 8:30pm. Our court: our opponents were very experienced, nice and enjoyable to play with. I made a late call for a wide shot, they didn’t flinch. We missed a clearly out call in the second set. Oh well, too bad, our fault. The lighting was poor. The tall guy has a mean forehand but he never hit hard at me or to me. The lady has trouble handle Ron’s serve but is experienced who hit quite few cute shots that were deadly. Toward the end, she asked Ron who’s Irene becasue I romanced few girls for recruiting before the season started and she was one of them. But guess I’m not too charming: need to hone my pick line -:)
One court:

Had one of the most exciting match last night. We were down the entire time in first set (either down a break or on serve) until we reach the tiebreak. We won the tie break 7-5 or 7-4 on a defensive lob. In the second set we were down again 0-2. With time running out, we basically try our best to fight for every point. Irene held serve to make it 1-2. Then we were down 40-0 again. We came back and won that game. That was a significant game bc that would be the last game due to time and if they won, we would have split. We won… I think I hit the guy with a high forehand volley. Oops.

Another court:

We went 6/4, 6/2 but we had been up 4/0 in the first set and they clawed their way back up to a tie grrrr. The second set we were up 5/1 and let them win one more to get to 6/2

I think we played the captains and he was a decent guy decent player but the woman was sneering ready to pick a fight from the get go. She yelled at me for swinging body waiting the serve to her as it was too distracting We called a ball out that was clearly out with the mark to prove it. That got her really going and every point got an argument or sneer. .. Then we were near the end of the 2nd set and she hit what she thought was a down the line winner and it was out so I called it out. So she said
“You’re not actually going to call that out are you ?”
And then Larry said it was out! Then she accused us of calling every ball out and that got Prince Larry going..hos lip curled and he gave her a “what for ” about how über -fair we were being throughout and even called very close ones that were likely out, in and In their favor and shut her right down and then of course we went on to win the set.

Particularly when losing so badly – being nasty on top just doesn’t make you any better or any more likeable .. and in fact makes you want to call their balls out even more!!! Im happy to play anyone and compete fair and square but there’s just no rationale for that kind of behavior.

1D: 7-6, 2-2 (timed match)
2D: 6-4, 6-2
3D: 6-3, 6-2

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My pick up line sucks

This morning I saw a slim and small (like a kid) lady playing on the other court, with nice back hand and fore.. so after trying few pick up lines, I settled on ..
“Are you on a league?”
“Oh, I’m from Florida.” She replied. Not what I asked.
“Oh .. you play really nice.” I complimented her.
“What league ?” she suddenly asked as I was turning back to my own game.
“Oh I know. Are you on the 3.0?” She asked. (You hear USTA? I’m really not a 3.5 !!!)
My dim mind began to work fast … 3.0 could be on the 7.0 .. maybe she loves me tennis so much that she’ll extend her New York stay …
“Yes” I replied; my hope surged, fast.
“Oh, I’m, like, a 4.5.” She spitted out while hitting a nice deep backhand.
Ops, a flat tire.
I needed to have my rating re-evaluated to 3.0, no matter what.

Back to our 3rd match at Roosevelt Island. The opposing captain dressed like a Japanese cartoon super hero (my kids enjoyed reading them and I have huge amount of it at home..), white outfit with a read head band holding his glossy spiky hair. Really neat. He handed me a neatly printed sheet .. I only have a hand written one to exchange.

I’ve been on the losing side for a while lately but no one else was available for this match. Poor me had to go to work. Actually we needed a guy too. So instead of asking for re-schedule that would trouble everyone I simply recruited one more player – our last player by the deadline. Every team should deal within: I don’t intend this as a complain or critics of teams that do ask for postponement.
Ron and I took first set at 3. Our opponents were nice especially the girl. The guy was odd, never looked up or at us, keeping his head down all the time. The girl is really cute, with a tattoo on her back. During the change over,
“Is it a bird?” I asked.
“Yes. Do you know what kind it is?” She invited me to guess.
“A phoenix?” I tried.
“Yes.” she beamed.
Yes indeed, she ended up beaming all the way to the tie break and beyond. She’s a great competitor, hanging in tough and won couple of long deuces games.

During a point in the second set, the guy signaled Ron’s serve out by raising his hand hesitantly but the girl played without a pause: either she thought was good or too concentrated at returning. I was not pleased but said nothing. (I didn’t remember who won the point.) Then a couple of games later I heard the guy calling a deep loop from Ron OUT so I stopped but she continued.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
I said “you called it OUT.”
“No I didn’t.” he insisted that he called it bounce. The point stayed they won. (Later Ron confirmed it was a bounce. Ron would confirm AFTER the match was concluded. I was totally wrong, very sorry, my sincere apology. My teammates suggested that I begin to wear hearing aid. I think not only hearing aid, perhaps a new brain?)
We were leading two to nothing. By the out call, it was 2-2. After the out call, they won the next three games in a row leading 5-2.
Eight minutes left on the clock at the change over.

Due to the prime real estate of Manhattan, to keep the court fee manageable, the matches are shortened to 90 minutes long as two hours for the rest of the leagues in the tri-state area, perhaps the entire country. By the time I joined in 2009 all of matches are played out side of Isle of Manhattan – actually in the adjacent borough Queens except Randalls Island, which is a tiny island (2.09 square kilometres or 520 acres) separates from Manhattan by Harlem River. With the mandatory warm up that usually lasts fifteen minutes, unfinished matches are prevalent. The League terms those as timed match and has sub set of rules. The most important rule is Five Minute. An unfinished match is over by five minutes prior to the end of the scheduled time (85 minutes). The winner is decided by the among of sets and games won. Winning first set and is on serve in the second set, wins the match, otherwise split the match win.

Judging from the clock, unless we win the next four games in three minutes, which was impossible, we would have to split the match, earning only 3 points out of 6.

How did it get to this state? I asked myself. We took the first set without much resistance. And we were up two to noting in this set. It seemed we were about to steam rolled them to an easy victory.

Mad at myself for trotting the familiar mistake and fuming at the out call, my desire to win the match suddenly grew strong. During the change over, suddenly an idea popped up. I suggested to Ron,
“Why don’t we lose the next game (hence the set)?” I pointed to the clock, “so we can start the tie break before reaching the five minutes.” I was so confident that we could beat them handily, so I was willing to risk the 3 pointed we were sure to get for the possible 6. Ron agreed. Like most guys on the team, Ron is a gentleman who showers me with respect (even I know little about tennis) and always cooperates. What’s the point to argue with a woman?

I have a habit of forgetting that if it is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9 out of 10 times it will.

Often times after winning the first set hands down, I would loss the second set and many times the match. Although I constantly remind myself of the peril of an early win but I think subconsciously I relax and become complacent. Not quite the tortoise and the hare race but it seems illuminating my tendency to allow mental weakness takes charge. The wrong line call or disagreement on small thing during a match, never bothers me much, except when I am in a downward spiral.

I double faulted a couple of times to lose the match to race to the third set super tie break. The momentum was not on our side. Little by little, we fall behind. The more behind we were, the more mistakes I made. The butterfly began to dance in my guts. The first double worth nearly half the total points. The next thing I knew our opponents erupted into cheer and high five each other.

We lost the match.

Later Ron confirmed it was a bounce. I was totally wrong, very sorry, my sincere apology. My teammates suggested that I begin to wear hearing aid. I think not only hearing aid, perhaps a new brain?
1D: 6-3, 2-6, 0-1
2D: 3-6, 6-2, 1-0
3D: 6-3, 5-3 (timed match)

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Bounce instead out

Three matches among 4 teams in two hours, first to win 8 games by two, no deuce. We were expected to win but came in second. The second match Kai and I were playing a couple. The wife has heavy spins and the husband was good too. It’s evenly matches. They were leading lightly then we caught up once we or I got use to their spins. I lost my serve at 5-3. The husband held his, 5-4. .. Nearing the end (each match allotted 40 min), we were leading 7-5 when Kai called one of opponent’s lob OUT, which was very long.
“You can’t call my ball out when it’s still in the air.” The husband complaint.
Kai went to the net and began to explain.
I felt it’s unnecessary: I’ve been hitting a lot of out balls due to laziness and or misjudgement. So his out call really meant – pls don’t hit. Maybe bounce would be better here.
It’s a good point to remember: call it bounce instead out.
Then the husband moved on to interference issue. I felt that he’s picking bones among eggs. The ball is on our court .. !
In any case, time’s up.
More pix in the gallery.

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