Prologue

Game, Set and Match  or  Why Do Sports Have Rules?

没有调查研究 就没有发言权
No investigation no right to speak
By Mao Zedong

_______________
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“Lay on your back. …
Legs up. … Open your legs. …
Put the ball between your thighs.  …
Sink it low. …
Squeeze. …
Squeeze it harder. …”

Jonathan’s deep voice reverberates in the air and moves closer and closer as he speaks.

“Honey,  you can’t play by yourself here,” he says to me.

I look up at him with resignation. I so want to obey but I couldn’t because my lower back hurt terribly. The thought of lifting them up, even an inch sends chill down my spine.

A cougar lusting over a handsome yoga instructor, is not. Actually I wish it were for sex. Easy. Private. Painless. And free. Instead, I am at Equinox’s yoga studio laboring hard at an hour long yoga. Or is it Pilates? I get confused between the two in the beginning while discovering that going to gym is not a cake walk; beside, it cost me an arm and leg.

Jonathan’s soothing voice send the thrill up my head, not for the impending orgasm but my realization that my long battle back to health might be shorten, if I follow his instruction.

Joining a health club is a surprise, if not a desperate move for me because my long held misinformed stance about gym has always been that it is for sissies. Real men do real things for fun, like tennis, cycling or swimming. When storm Hurricane Sandy left us without electricity for nearly two weeks. I took refuge at the club for the hot shower and to recharge my phone, using their week long trial membership. When staff approaches me at the week’s end, my inner voice, laces with guilt, urges me to join, in an effort to repay the kindness the gym has extended to me. I have a weak spot for the Americans and their ingenuous capitalism.

My ulterior motive to join is that my back was in pain from overdoes of tennis and the new tennis season has just began. At that point, If one tells me that he would sell my the Brooklyn Bridge, I would have gone to raising fund. Twisting torso in order to see my side thigh although is only the beginner’s pose, but I already find it difficult to emulate. However, the tennis bum in me urges, if the yoga or Pilate could nurse [rehabilitate] my back health enough to step back onto the court I am even willing to turn 180 degrees to see my own butt.

 

I am a total tennis bum if you have not figured it out by now. Since 2009, I have captained nine recreational United States Tennis Association teams and made playoffs eight time when an outright discrimination against me happens in 2013, that prohibits me from participating. It left me outraged and confused. And two subsequent unsuccessful appeals are the last straw to break the camel back.

The injustice the League meting out is in such stark contract with what this country stands for and aligns with the country I fled. This was the fuse that stuns me and stings me the most, because I thought I had buried my past. It is painful to remember the painful past.

Initially I write an essay trying to right the wrong but could not get it published on a newspaper.

What’s the big deal? Find another league to play!

It is very true but it only solves half the equation. To be very honest, I am surprised at my own anger over such a trivial matter too. I could not adequately articulate my own anger. Then, at each subsequent revision of the short essay, I dig a little deeper, to examine myself more, evaluate what I had been through and expand the essay longer. I realize the discrimination is mere an igniter [fuse 导火线] to the larger problem. It strikes my core where it hurts the most.

I was abused as a child by my relatives when my dad did not come to my rescue. I had no one to turn to, feeling vulnerable and abandoned, very much like the tennis situation. My tumultuous childhood left me depressed. I have trouble holding on jobs and maintaining relationships. But the Chinese in me, I never wanted to admit that I suffer depression and I did not want to talk about my sorrow past. It was my double faults.

Decades living in New York, had taught me that each of us has right, has a place in society and is protected by the law. It also gives me an understanding that USA is great but at times, it commits unforced errors just like we all often do on the tennis court. There are bad apples even in the Big Apple.

In the end, the double fault compounds with the unforced error, that one page essay evolves into this book.

I share my journey candidly because it is therapeutic and cathartics. If my experience could help a teenage too see their future or an adult not to give in in their predicament, then my suffering was not in vain.

I have not attended any schools in the USA, except a couple of ELS classes. Not writing in my native tongue is just as a challenge as my self discovery journey, I am determined to tackle both and win.

This kind of discrimination is not uncommon in the USA. I immigrated to this country because I thought it prizes on meritocracy, advanced technology and human right. Quite often I see otherwise. America, please give me more reasons to defend you righteously. 理直气壮

 

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