He makes me feel so normal ..

Leagues with 8 or more teams with 3 divisions: the 1st place team in each division, and the 2nd place team with the most points (amongst all the divisions) will advance to playoffs

The first place team from each division make playoffs (3 spots). The 4th playoff spot is determined by the team having the most points amongst all 3 divisions.

As we were approaching the exit 9P on the Grand Central Parkway from the East to the National Tennis Center, there was a parked car. I kid you not. It’s dark and we were dumbfounded. It’s not the highway shoulder for Pete’s sake. What’s more? The male driver opened his door without the slightest regard to the traffic and fellow drivers. And he got out. By then, we were exited already so I didn’t know what happened. Hopefully all was right.

It’s first round of playoffs for the Manhattan League 3 divisions. We faced the strongest team in the 7.0 mixed doubles flight: they won 122.5 points out of possible 130. The matches were scheduled at 7pm but we were advised to get there 30 minutes prior. In fact, our first and second doubles teams were called to work at around 6:45 as the courts became available. Kai and I was the third doubles, didn’t get on court till 7.

The USTA roving umpire came over performing the coin toss with a nickle. Not a quarter? Guess the economic downturn has severely affect the game as well. He’s new or I haven’t been playing the league long enough to know everyone. He asked each of us where do we live: the farthest got to call head or tail. Although I’m only 10 miles away from the NTC but I got to call because the ump deemed the Bronx where our opponents live is farther. I called head and the head it was. We decided to receive.
The guy looked very neat and composed, Rafa Nadal’s neat. He wore a short that’s more office than court. The trousers has two darker strips lined the inside of the thighs – adductors. For a moment I thought he wet himself. Then his 100+ mile per hour second serve took my mind off his pants. He has the best serve I’ve played so far on the league. Some male players would soften his serve when poor me was on the receiving end, so I didn’t get to experience or handle the real forceful men power .. until this Saturday. I wasn’t intimidated but I just couldn’t get to it -:). He aced me left and right. (AT this writing, the new world record of serving is set by Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic: 251 kmph or 156mph.)

Then couple of shots later when I finally managed to return his serve .. no .. actually it’s when I finally was able to barely get my racket on his serve. My return landed in the mid court. He rushed in for a deadly kill with a loud grunt, and felt on to the ground. The ball went out with a menacing speed, hitting the blue panel with a deafening thud. However, his grunt was very eerie, like a wounded cub or toddler whose favored toy was being taken away; almost girlie. Very contradicting from his tranquil facade.

I have always disgusted by my ugly grunt and wishing if I could trade any stokes for it. I think I’m ok with it now -:) He certainly made me feel my grunt isn’t as ugly as I thought before. SO .. thanks a ton!

Throughout the match, he aimed at Kai all the time, which was often since lovely Irene knows how to set up her partner up. Sight. I did ask Kai if there were marks left from the battle. He just laughed it off.

I were to serve the second and surprisingly held my serve till I was serving for the first set at 5:4, and at 40:love. You’d think Irene can rise to the occasion.

Think again -:(

We lost first set at 7:5. We got swept. Totally.

My Big Bro was there too and he offered similar observation on our opponent. He’s going to go back to Beijing in about three months, permanently. Happy relocating Big Bro!

I took a shower and came out finding my chauffeur and his wife were waiting, to whisk me to dinner. Guess they weren’t too mad at me for losing the match as to abandon me. They even tipped me! Being captain does have it perks. Oh well, hope the league isn’t going to find out about this. I didn’t ask for it !!!

So… we are done with Manhattan.

So I’m happy: being chauffeur to the matches in lux; having good time playing with my kids mates..

So life is good.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the team, for your consideration, cooperation and tolerance (of me). I really appreciated your support. We’re a team and we had good time.

The End.

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