The USTA Area Champion 2009

CIMG7000Very happy to report that our Chinamen 3.5 team [guys, pls come up with a cool name], most of them – if not all – are CatsNY members had won their hard fraught title: The USTA Area Champion 2009 last night.
The field to the top was pretty crowded, aside from many other talented teams, there are path-blocker Manhattan and Brooklyn, both they never had beaten in previous attempts.
Elated was an understatement.
They showed the exit to Manhattanites Friday night with a convincing 4:1 win.
Last night they were all fired up, took the runaway match at love:
5:0.
We the groupies did our part, clapping and cheering. I clapped for the opponents as well when they produced a winner.
See how happy and 风骚 this benchwarmer is 🙂 ..
.. we all love u, Lou ..CIMG6990
The USTA League is a nation wide recreational but competitive tennis league. It has four divisions: Adult (19+), Senior, Super Senior and Mixed Doubles. The teams are formed according to the NTRP ratings, like 3.0, 3.5, etc. so every one can compete at their own level.
Play starts at the local level with the chance to advance to an area championship – for our team, the Area matches were played at USTA National Tennis Center, or Billie Jean King. Then move on to district/state – this up coming weekend’s Section/State, is held at Syracuse (for the Northeast) and culminating at national level that held at Tucson Arizona every year.
Last time I was in Scottsdale, I saw the flyer in the hotel and went to the courtside checking it out (did the same at Hilton Head). The camaraderies were just awesome. Nice picnic spreads (Irene always has an eye for food before the balls), some even used real wine stems. Emotions and nerves could run high, and raw. The same goes on at our local leagues. Yesterday we walked by a 3.5 Ladies. Lord, on one court, the four girls were too timid to play, looked like 2.5 or choking artist Dinara Safina.

a happy endingI played in the USTA league once, years ago, and once at town club. Pumpkin’s current coach is also our town club coach who tried to recruit me. I should probably reconsider, and join the fray? The competitive edge would improve my game. The USTA league is just a straight playing but the club has training. I declined in the past due to lack of time. I still don’t have enough time to spare, plus ..

.. not sure this old dog could learn a new trick or two !!

a pitch hitter?The event last night started with a little jitter: one of opposing team’s singles player showed up without check in at the desk, and no one seemed to have seen him before. They worried that the Brooklyn team might bring in a pitch hitter. So I was dispatched to take a picture of him. I don’t know their check in process, whether the players need to show ID. But Peter, our second single player took the match at 1 and 2.
without disrespect .. this isn't the Garfield the catThe format of play is 5 matches: two singles matches and 3 doubles. Each match is best of 3 sets. If the match is level at 1:1, then there is a super tiebreak, first to win 10 by 2 point wins the match. A team obviously needs to net 3 match wins.

Ken and Tom teamed up to play the second doubles. Their opponents wore cool sneakers. As evident in this picture, Mr. Blue Sneakers has good serve motion, and pretty lethal. They displayed really sunny attitude, stayed positive throughout the match, even after double faults or out played by a winner from Tom/Ken. Good couple partners.
the blue sneakersCharlie and Henry played the third doubles. When they miscounted score that resulted in their opponents’ favor. The competitors told them so and corrected it.
This is a sportsmanship.

Okay, lord will forgive me for gossipping here.
Their win did not come cheap.
They had to pay for their first single player to come to play.
Don’t rush to call to report an abuse: Mr. First was on the roaster from day one. But he had a meeting in the west coast during the Area Final.
Isn’t there this unspoken courtesy, that if you sign up for a team or project, it says you committed to it, with you time (in a grass root association, with money too).
Fine, granted, they might not have anticipated making the final. But they did. And with a win so close, they wanted Mr. First Singles to play.
He’s cool about it:
“Sure, but you pay for my air travel and airport transfers.” The transfers included New York too. Never mind that he has a tennis-loving wife, who complained at USTA last Friday by saying it out loud
“三个老爷们儿楞找不到他.”
Three guys went to Newark to welcome Mr. First on Thursday night but failed to find him immediately. When they finally did Get Shorty, crossed the state line back home, it was 3am Friday.
Her hubby made quite an entrance.
I cringed a bit upon hearing 老爷们儿 – old farts. We sure all like to borrow expressions that we seldom use but found cute and appropriated. But 老爷们儿 isn’t one of them, 哥们儿 maybe. It really is older and uneducated people’s usage, very coarse. The most colloquial language or the peasants speaking we used, was like 伍大妈 or 孩儿她妈, Mrs. Eng, with the middle character takes a quick jump over, touch on it lightly; or 儿他爹, son’s father = hubby, etc.
Oh well, what do I know.

Anyway, so the team sprinte into action, running around rising fund.
Some one offered helping hand, to use mileage. But it has one stop.
Ok, I will get a new camera .. eventually“Direct flight only.” Mr. First insisted.
A good team player who didn’t ask to fly private.
I met them a year or so ago (but haven’t seen them around for a long while). Learned that they both from a top notch university in Beijing, and retired in their 40s here in New York for he had made enough fortune from writing codes to build sophisticate trading modules/models on Wall Street (hope my failing memory had it right).
I am not an arbiter but would like to offer my 2 cents here, this is my blog.

I never feel the richer one should pick up the tab at the end of a meal, unless it’s appropriated (let good common sense be the judge), like s/he owes a favor, or wants to treat his family/friends. Don’t we all grab the check or lend a helping hand with less fortunate friends/family members, without hurting their pride or feelings? So having said that, I found this behavior and demand is below the belt.

$1700 was raised.

Not sure the recipient cared to know among the 11 donors, one was single working girl and one was laid off dad who has a newborn, a school aged daughter and a wife to support.
the board game
“We wanted to support the team.” They said.

Having subsidy his court fees each time he played and flown him across the country, in retrospect, the team didn’t really need Mr. First’s service: they beat Manhattan 4:1 and Brooklyn 5:0. All they needed were 3 match wins.
Worth it, to have a player on your team who puts I before T?

The subsidy: Mr. First refused to pay for his fair share of court fees. Apparently there is small cost associated with playing the league, paid by the player who plays on the day – grand sum of US$18.75 – some team wind up with large number of players on rotation, meaning not everyone gets to play every week. When Old Irene played years ago, we only paid when we were the host team. It happened, our home base was at USTA. I still remembered our captain, Sharon Brannon [Brennon or something in that neighborhood] who didn’t play tennis at all, who’s psychologist, who lived in the City (Manhattan), who’s single and talked about it openly even we’ve just met, who had a little Jap sidekick, who wore a pair of yellow latex kitchen gloves !!! Lord, I often felt that she needed a shrink.

Pay to play is only fair.

Early in the year Mr. First had approached another captain indicating his interest to join. Initially the captain was delighted because Mr. First was highly recommended by a few good men. Citing that he was recruited enthusiastically by two other teams, and was offered terms that he could not refuse, plus he can play free indoors as much as he wants hence he asked if he could play for free. The 15-year veteran captain walked away for he found this expectation to be a bit unkosher.

our partial benchwarmer/cheerleaders/groupies watching Jimmy's doublesDo those unsportsmen keep us all appreciative of our decent friends, like sweet Irene who never says an unkind word toward anyone, nor kibbitzer? Oh, you no have no humor? You must be in the wrong room.

I know I need a new camera, and probably pair of eye glasses too. Many pictures came out blurry … Her ankle tattoo is pretty neat.

The reasons that Irene hasn’t replaced her Casio yet was due to

1) loyalty to the old toy
2) Irene doesn’t want anyone to see her wrinkles and 老人斑 oldman specks
3) the pictures are sharp but only Irene’s failing eyes see them blurry
4) I’m broke
5) all of the above

Love to all

And best of luck to our Chinamen team at Syracuse. You go guys and gals … all the way to Arizona!!

World Journal Newspaper reporting

1 Comment »

  1. Brion said

    Congratulations! … I know how much work it takes ..

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