Posts Tagged Hilton Head


Word of the day: NTRP, The National Tennis Rating Program is the widely used tennis rating system to ensure each participant is play at the appropriate level. Even China is importing it.

The NTRP has 10 levels, starting from 1.0 for people who just starting out to learn to play the game, to 5.5 for those who could hit lethal shots in stress situations. 6.0 and 7.0 refer to professional players, such as Roger and Serena.

Amateur ice hockey league has their own raking system for the same purpose.

I started out playing tennis in 1986 and went to USTA got myself rated in 1989. Either I heard it wrong or the rater was blind, I got a 3.0. When we went to Hilton Head (South Carolina) in 1996, I abandoned my family, letting them spent the day on the beach while I sweat out on the court.

HH is one of my two favorite places in the USA, the other is the Berkshires in the Western Massachusetts. When I went to the tennis club to sign up, the coach asked me what level I was at. Hmmmmmmm … let me see: in the intervening years since the rating, I played [forgot how little] and even joined a Lady’s league.

“4.0” I replied without blinking.

Ok, 4.0 it was. Once on court, the balls went back and forth so fast and precisely, and always passed me by – other players were so skilled to keep the ball away from me because they were sicken tired of me hitting it out. After a couple of games, the nice coach pulled me aside,

“Honey, I think you may enjoy more with that group.”

She ushered me out of the 4.0 court. She did not want to traumatize me so didn’t mentioned the rating of the court I was to join: 2.0. I had better time there, in terms of getting a decent play. But still found myself being out-played.

Anyway, the delicate way she sounded and handled it, made me realize just how big a deal the rating is. No big deal indeed. Few years ago, I was still harboring the dream of reaching the elusive 4.0 in my life time. Ha ha ha … never hurt to have a dream.

Last time we were at the Hilton Head, actually every time there I played .. thinking I’ve been actively playing, day and night, plus lessons for all those years, I ought to improve someway? Never won a match at the HH. Ok, Irene, make sure you could manage to retain the 3.0 rating for this life time. Got it? Good.

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Walter Lure & The Waldos

waldoWaldo’s 3rd world tour [Kalifornia] is coming up ..
– 8/27 at Hollywood
– 8/28 Huntington Beach
– 8/29 San Diego

Hey, Waldo, are you going to fly us out there to attend? I’ll get my red carpet dress ready 🙂 and be sure to say that I like rock n roll and can rock too
.. So no 4-some that weekend? no singles either, I take?
Longevity comes to mind, because most rockers either died of overdose, or died drunk and overdose ..
I think Waldo even quit smoking.
Hey, W, come out to play with us at the park near you on Friday evenings. I need a partner since all the 3.5 boys are off to Syracuse.

I’ll have to admit that many wives just have it sweeter and rosier than Irene. Like the couple I mentioned earlier, the wife never stops criticizing her hubby, while he’s in action and off the court. Once Simon couldn’t take it any more, told her to be quiet because
“Your husband had tried his best .. give him a break ..”
And the hubby still plays tennis. With her.

I hand Golfer his sleepers when he comes home
Takes his briefcase
Make him his favored martini, dry with three olives
My eyes were always cast down when I speak to him
I’m always so humble
If he wants steak for dinner, I wouldn’t dare to even look at pork
If he says north, I don’t dare to even venture toward northeast
I never muttered a word on or off the court
about his play …
Golfer has defected to golf for the past countable years and never once picked up tennis .. ok once in Hilton Head, out of pity, he played on the Center Court at Sea Pines ..

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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:
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
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

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The seagulls

It rained over night. Waking up to a cleaner earth :). Everything’s just so fresh. I did 15 minutes in the pool: can’t stay too long: the water is too warm for swimming and it’s too small. The endless turning just bores me – I’m grateful that they have a heated pool, because out door is always beats the tiny ones indoor.

The clay courts would be ready to play at 10am. So I rode to the beach. When I returned to the club, there were 4 players. Yapppppy. A couple and two singles. The drill was more interesting than just me and Dana.

Looking out the window, there are more golfers on the course ..

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Port Royal Racquet Club

The tennis club at Port Royal is part of Port Royal Golf Club. It has an USTA league or leagues. Today lady’s senior (50+) 3.5 played at the club – season opener. We watched a bit after our games. They were gracious in manner and generous with line calls, the southern belle’s hospitality? Their tennis bags are all frilly and pinkish. .. however, Hilton Head strikes me as more cosmo and sophisticate than many southern cities ..

Pumpkin asked if I would join a league, I first said no, that I have enough tennis groups to play with. But then I said that I won’t rule it out in the future – I did enjoy when I was with it. NY’s USTA leagues are definitely a different bred, with NY attitude, I can deal with it. The league play provides the competitiveness that I don’t find within my buddies.

The cat was cute. Always trying to find a way into the pro shop.

Quickly I found or formed my routine: swim 15 minutes then head to the drill (more of hitting) session with Dana, the Lion who reminds me of Todd Martin. He commented on my backhand that I was slow in bringing back the racquet. It registered. So this afternoon when I played with Pumpkin, I hit lots of backhands. It felt good. A process. Work in progress. We’ll see at beginning of the summer if my game has improved.

We left before the ladies. The cars at the parking lot are all premium brands. The setting of the island is very subdue and subtle. There aren’t loud facades or gates. If you come for the first time in the night, finding your resort can be a chore. There are riff raff on the island but I just don’t see them often.

Dana asked if my right wrist still hurt. Well. It does, feeling tender. Would not use it unless I have to. But it doesn’t feel hurting more. I ran more to hit a backhand than taking it forehand. My right ankle is hurting too. I should have sued the parking lot. Shheeeshi.

The golf course at Port Royal isn’t as nice as in Sea Pines. I found Sea Pines is the most desirable area of the island. King had a great day on the green. The weather was bit cloudy and rained briefly couple of times. So Golfer said they had the course to themselves and King got to play out all his rounds.

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Popied in Hilton Head

And it’s only 11am.

The Dow is going down the tube. All the talking heads are, well, talking. Hey, talkers, we’ve seen the triple digit ups and downs all the time, pls don’t make big deal out of it?

Got up early, did few laps in the out door pool and biked to Port Royal Racquet for the 9-10am hitting session. Yesterday when we played, the pro who looked like a fisherman with the umbrella shaped hat came out inviting us to join his drill. I couldn’t get Pumpkin up in the morning – I tried but unsuccessful. Ended up I was the only one there. The club has 10 clay, really har-tru and 4 hard courts. They used to have a grass too. The pro, ok .. he’s kinda cute, bad teeth with a grunt I’ve never heard of on court .. kinda like a lion about to jump off or being mad to catch his prey.. 🙂 ..

I hadn’t had a lesson for over a year and it’s very hard for me to keep up with him. He only did 30 minutes since I was the only one.

When I got home, everyone’s sleeping. Lord, that’s some life.

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Tennis elbow

arm.jpgI wasn’t bragging when I said tennis elbow never glanced at my direction.  Perhaps too much tennis at Hilton Head, I felt sharp pain on my right elbow when I served.  It’s a new sensation, and didn’t go away.  Now three months after, although I played from time to time, but only get by with backhand.  I googled tennis elbow symptom, realize that only 17% injury is stemming from playing tennis.  My new found lefty badminton is going well becasue of this.  Lossing mostly, but I’ve won two sets last night.  Last time playing with William, he said soak in the ice water for 8 minutes.  I tried immediately.  It’s hurt not as much as he warned.  I even thought about the winter swimmers, why would they do it: the icey water turned my skin into dark red, but it actually felt good afterward. 🙂

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The Center Court

sea-3.jpgWe played on da center court at the Sea Pines! The only bummmer was there wasn’t a single spectator or linesmen, :). For whatever the reason, the girl (who’s from Kings Park, LI) at the club house decided to indulge us the center court to play.
Very cool.
sea-1.jpgWe played with a couple from Atlanta, the hubby was a former college player.  They watched us play the day before, hence the doubles.  The wife is typical southern belle, a little uptight but good looking, with tanned long legs and good manner on court.  I was taken aback when the hubby started inviting us moving down to Atlanta for the warmer weather.  Looking at his wife who said she plays year around, I got the picture that she’s probably running around with all those charity balls too, :). 

sea-2.jpgRalph the hubby even went out of his way to say the living standard in Atlanta isn’t as high as in NY, so that after selling our house (how on earth does he know where we live in New York or even we live in a house or own/rent?) we could buy in cash in an upscale community .. I was amused.

I’ve been lucky in terms of not getting tennis elbow.. .. till now.  For the past few weeks, my right arm felt funny, sore, hurtful but I managed to continue play without missing a beat.  But today as I served out the match, I felt the pain is screaming loud and clear at me.  Is this the all too common tennis elbow???

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Widowhood 孤儿寡母

pga.jpgX’mas day at the Hilton Head, played exhilarating tennis with Pumpkin, biked, early morning walk on the beach .. .. in the afternoon, I wanted to take kids for a hot chocolate while waiting for Golfer finishing up his golf. It turned out, nothing opened. How could the caddies work but not a single coffee or food har.jpg store operate? We sat in the rocking chairs looking out to the vast manicured lawn of Harbour Town Golf Course – PGA Tour Golf Courses – which is ranked #2 in the US and #5 in the world, not a single soul was around. Some Christmas, never experienced it before. Talking about dedication. Golf widow isn’t exaggerating and I’ve got two orphans on hand too, :).

This light house that you’ll came up to on the 18th hole is the famed symbol of the Harbour Town golf course, at the tip of the Sea Pines Plantation.

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