Archive for March, 2013

The Manhattan 7.0 final

The final was played the day after the semi.

Availability or timing is as vital as having an ace player. Actually it’s more important: four of my girl marquee players are global trotting when final came.
A few pix on FB

my score card

my score card

I did this Manhattan team more for the players than my own desire so I played only two matches to satisfy the playoff requirement just in case. And I was glad because I was needed to play even I didn’t want to. The playoff opportunity should be given to the mates who played a lot during the regular season, when the matches are less predictable and sometimes can be boring. Let’s face it, the competition and excitement is just so much more during the playoffs.

A draw back for the local playoffs is the dates are set after the regular season has concluded and usually within a week or two of notice, which leaves planing almost impossible. Maybe this itself is part of the fun playing in the league, the unpredictability.
Quarter final vs Fred Derman, 2-1
Semi final vs Lawrence, 2-1
Again, we played on Court 1-3. Jerry and I were the third string on Court 3, vs the opposing team’s captain and a 21 years old kid. Dawes, the opposing captain came on to the court and then disappeared for a good five minutes. I was bit bewildered.  A first.

my Manh final squad

my Manh final squad; by Hazel

They won the toss and elected to serve.
Boom .. a 100 miles per hour serve that took my breath away. Throughout the match, I had to stand at the court end, with my back almost to the blue curtain to be able to handle his booming serve.
I knew the captain who is a 3.5 so the kid has to be a 3.5 too because Queens uses the year end rating. But that serve was more of 4.5. And he has other weapons too. Like, he can dash from left to right in a blink of an eye. Like, he could hit a forehand Federerish. Like he can swing a Nadal back hand. The girl was solid. Within a few minutes, we lost the first set at 2.

The second set started out against us too. But my partner has played so well, impressive and inspiring, he got me running mid way in the second set. We fought one point at a time; arrived at the tie break. We played the tie break so well, we won it convincingly. By now, court 1 and 2 have concluded. Before we started our third set tie break, the referee came over to say the match has decided. We lost.
Jerry was on a roll and wanted to play out. The girl agreed.

by Hazel

by Hazel

The ref:
“Have fun.” and left.

Our court must be the last match of the night because the lounge were filled with players. We don’t get spectators during our regular season matches because, most matches are played on weekday nights. Many clubs have no viewing space. Matches at the NTC are usually get a few because they have great viewing areas, plus the complex is large, there are other people around.
Much of the second set, I thought the kid took his vacation time. Now the match have decided, he seemed cared even less. However, when the score was even at 8-8, he came back fully charge. If I have to give an educated guest, it must be his inner competitive edge got better of him. Thought-out the match, he could dictate the match whichever he wanted but when the situation heated up, his competitive edge set in. He wanted to win the match that was in his pocket from the get go, now he had to work hard to win it. The last eight points were hotly contested. I had the match point but was unable to close the deal. Needless to say we were very happy when we won at 13-11.

2-6
7-6
1-0 (13-11)

UntitledOur team lingered in the lounge to socialize and also to celebrate Dan’s birthday. Mike although played thoughtout the regular season, did not play tonight but came with his wife. The social time during the playoffs are very enjoyable because during the regular season the matches are mostly on weekday nights, we went to play then parted after the match. Many players on the team have the attitude to labor through the regular season, hang out and wait for the playoffs for the real match, which are always more competitive.

The following day, the emails began pouring in ..

.. that team is made of college players, tennis instructors, career USTA nationals players. This is my first year captain and I have heard too much about it.

A few spectators in the royal box saw the signal instructing the kid to lose the match, in order to protect his rating.

I’m sorry your team lost, but we’re dealing with career ego team. This is not a reflection of our tennis, it’s a reflection of the length they take to “win.”

Someone from another team wrote to the league ..

.. Playing against an opponent who is falsely rated well below his skills is not enjoyable. Furthermore, this questions the validity of your entire league. People pay good money and give their time and captains give a tremendous effort to help make your league successful. This problem needs to be corrected immediately to ensure that this never happens again.

This problem, persisted for a good few years. The funny part of it, they never won a National. This also tells me how deep the other regions are.
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The Manhattan 7.0 semi final

IMG_5203Exchanging the lineup .. pix on FB
.
Mere three day after our quarter final, we played the semi final at the NTC where the US Open is held every summer. The referees came but Metro didn’t. Deb was there, in skirt, looked like she’s playing. We were facing the team we played first (on 11/19/2012) in the regular season, with a bit of contention and tension on one of the courts.  I did not go that day but got an earful shortly after the conclusion of the match. One of my boys who was rated at 4.0 stated that the opponents were super-players who volley back his lethal shot like nothing, and more.

[the rating]

This is the 7.0 league which means the combined rating of the two players could not exceed 7.0 nor below 6.5 and the gap between the partners could not exceed 1. If my math is still working, figuratively, level 4.0 would be the strongest in the 7.0 league.

During the match, he confronted the opponents, questioning their rating. I was taken a back at his action, feeling he went over the line so I apologized to the captain the following morning. The captain replied amicably in a timely manner. I was relieved. Should I have been at the court I would not have known how to handle it: my teammates were my priority. I would not have known how to defend my mate while apologize at the same time. Good it was done electronically. I was grateful that the captain was calm and did not make fuzz out of it.

Jiawei and I drew the super-player pair for the night. Whatever happened last time didn’t seem to repeat itself. Our opponents were gracious and we didn’t have a single disagreement on line calls, not even a second look. I dotted my Ts and Ps; made generous line calls and applauded their every winners. I have a habit of congratulating winners made by my partner and opponents (if they are not out right jerks). This habit has nothing to do with tennis being a gentlemanly game but everything to do with being appreciative to the talent and drive to make that unbelievable shot. I guess it’s geniuses recognize one another 惺惺相惜. They reciprocated. The match went beautifully.

Most players I played in the League are generous and fair. We want to give our opponents their due. The comment I saw from my teammates after a match “they’re so nice” were pretty often.

We won the first set at 4. I looked over to Court 2 and 3, saw the score poles indicated my mates all won the first sets (the scores showed otherwise .. ). Thinking about my 8.0 team’s last match when our 3 courts lost first set, I said to my partner: “Let’s continue .. don’t give in .. ” IMG_5204However, before I could finish my sentence, we were down 1-5 in the second set.

Jiawei said, “Looks like we’re heading to third set…” Didn’t know why we won the first and didn’t know how we lost the second, I replied: “No, let’s try to catch up… ” We lost the next game, and the set.

Tennis is as physically demanding sport as mental. It rewards those who prepares. However, many times in life, we do not get that opportunity to prepare for what is coming at us. Or even one does painstakingly prepare but when life throws you a curve ball or your opponent serves you an ace, you just have to learn to cop with it.

The super tie break was close but we managed to win it at 4 (10-4). It’s all Jiawei throughout the match.

Our court 2 lost 9-11 in the third. We started at 9pm. By then, all other five courts were empty except our third double team (3D) on Court 3. They were in a fierce battle for the match, and for the semi victory. This indoor facility has total of 12 courts. The area we played is the largest with 6 courts. The layout of the house is 6 and 3 courts in the ground floor with a lounging path above that lead to another 3 courts, tucked away on the second floor. We moved over to the second court, joining our mates and foes to watch the last court. Many spectators were on the lounge path above. The vacant hall feeling a little dead. Each steps and breath could be heard clearly. My girl was new to the league but she enjoyed the limelight and played with composure and gusto. She and Dan sealed the final for us, in the third set tie break.

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Another sweep

My first match in the Queens team last night; was scheduled to play the third string but Jenn said her leg hurt so we moved to the 2D. Erwin was waiting for one of his players, so we didn’t exchange lineup after my teammates all took their courts – kind of at disadvantage – the opposing team could alter their lineup accordingly but I knew Erwin won’t cheat.

1D has it easy (just kidding), and I saw some really great rallies, esp when Jess was at the net. 2D and 3D both won 10-3 in third.

Guey and Hazel played with me over the last summer, almost every weekend. She has improved a lot and hit some amazing down the ally shots on my expenses. Guey served and played well but unfortunately double faulted in the tie break, I think at least three times.

Thanks Ricky for carrying me; he kept reminding me to stay behind the baseline when receiving Guey’s serve and stay there for his returns. Wah also told me plenty of times (so did Simon..) to stay behind the baseline .. boy do I have a brain!! Over all, I do better with a talking partner -:)

We’ll play them again this coming Monday. Two courts only. Hazel is texting me about ‘revenge’ now -:).

Hope all the global trotters have arrived their destination safe and sound.

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The hand paddles

Thursday, 2/28/2013 at 11:21am

Thursday, 2/28/2013 @ 11:21am


The parking lot at Great Neck’s Equinox.

A nice sunny day, I walked to the club. The parking there is always hectic. At near noon, this is considered mild. One of the chatters in the locker room is on parking. A few complained:
“What’s the point of calling me to join when the parking is so difficult?”
“I’m paying so much I don’t want to park across the street” .. don’t know there is a parking lot across the street, unless they’re buying the lot by the park.
It’s annoying that I need to spend more time parking than driving there.

Feb 27, 2013

Feb 27, 2013

Yesterday I shared the middle lane with the mandarin ducks. They were there when I arrived. Yes, the bald one asked me to swim elsewhere. Funny, they never wear caps. Yes, there was overly aggressive passes; and soon they began to use the hand paddles/swim hand fins, which was pretty scary, given the large size.
Should they ban the hand paddle altogether?

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A dispute

the score card

the score card

This morning I got an email from the coordinator asking for confirmation on a disputed score of the match I entered last night:
6-3
6-3
This is according to this score card.

But the opponent insisted it’s:
6-3
6-2
Without consulting with my teammates, I ok’ed:

on iPhone app

on iPhone app

1. it’s not curial
2. don’t want to waste anyone’s time unnecessarily

I hope this is not going to bite me in the future.

A couple of teammates asked about it after seeing it. They are as bewildered as I am.
“What’s the point?”

Well, the disputer may feel:

on usta league site fm my laptop

on usta site fm my laptop

May truth trumps all?
At any cost? It would involve
.. his captain needs to write an email ..
.. I need to reply ..
.. the coordinator needs to actually make the correction

All worth a while?

Well, beauty worthiness is in the eye of the beholder

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damages

Just finished watching Glenn Close’s Damages, got Wai’s text. Congratulations to his mens 4.0:

We just beat undefeated Derman 4-1 matches (18-4 pts) it was tough. Derman told me the 3D girl cried all night yest.

Derman 7.0 3D lost to us the night before (2/27), after took the first set at 0; we won the match 10-7 in the third. Our Manhattan team advanced to the semi, playing this Saturday.

The players make a team, and I’m definitely the most fortunate captain in the league because of you. I’ve fun thus far, my game has improved, I meet friends, enjoying the camaraderie, and we make the playoff all the time (except once). I’m grateful, thank you. There are 20+ years veteran captains who never made into playoffs.

At the very beginning of tv show Damages, when Glenn Close’s character Patty Hewes recruits an associates Ellen Parsons, the interview falls on Ellen’s sister’s wedding day. Ellen chooses to attend the wedding. Patty goes to the party, uninvited, to deliver “you got the job”. At a later season episode when Patty recruits another female associate, when asked what if the interview falls on her wedding day, her reply’s “I’ll come to the interview”. If you must know, she’s hired but shortly after receives .. you’re fired.

Ok, this is a fiction. But life has many unexpected turns, as in fiction. Some predictable, like our regular season matches, come out early so you can plan accordingly. Some aren’t, like the playoffs dates, which always determined at time that’s very close to it, leaving little maneuver space. I’m sure there are players who cancel their prior commitments to play but I’d rather treat the league play as the league play, recreational and secondary, or thirdly.

A few thoughts on the upcoming playoffs (..Schenectady 5/31 – 6/2):

Regular season matches are out early that allows planning but the post season schedule isn’t. Derman 7.0 has 9-1 record, we’re the wild card. When I began to assemble the semi lineup for this Saturday I found out, just on my girls side:
One is going to Atlanta
One to Hong Kong
One to Chicago
One to Houston …
(I’m talking abot availability here, tennis should always be your hobby.)

My 2 cents is:
– you can have a great team but lose easily in playoffs due to (one of the reasons) unavailability of the mates
– you can have a strong lineup but still lose due to complacency (I think .. ), etc.
– you can hand out a bagel (esp in the first set) but still lose in the tie break (our Saturday opponent’s 2D also received a bagel but won in 3rd)

We always sail through the regular season easily. The competition kicks up in the playoffs, and because it’s single elimination, the stake is high. Jerry kept reminding me during our win two nights ago after getting a bagel in the first set:

Treat every point as the big point.

He’s so right. Treat every game/match as the deciding game/match. Jerry played brilliantly, and it’s motivated me to dig myself out of that un-competitive dark hole. Thanks partner.

 

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