This post has nothing to do with the Super Bowl.
Yesterday was the Cursed Emotional Holiday Tennis Tournament, a mixed doubles tournament in which I participated thanks to coercion and a general lack of awareness.
A few weeks ago, this charming lady in her 70’s invite Holly and I to play in the Valentine’s Day tournament.
“Sure!” we say.
“Great! It’s a mixed doubles tournament–”
“Oh…” I cut her off. “Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I”ll be out of town that weekend.”
“No, no, no. It’s February 5th, the weekend before Valentine’s day,” she clarifies.
“We can assign partners for you if you can’t find one.”
“I don’t know,” Holly and I say. “Doubles isn’t really our game, unless we’re playing together–and even then, that’s only because we’re both part of the No Strings Club and have low expectations of winning.”
” There will be an A team and a B team,” she says. “I’ll email you.”
THE NEXT WEEK
I see her again. “You know what?” I say. “There’s a race that day that and I already signed up for it. I guess I cannot play.”
(A look of crushed disappointment)
“…But I should be done by the time the tournament starts, so if you absolutely NEED another player, I GUESS I could do it.”
“Okay, I’ll let you know.”
I don’t hear anything for another week.
Holly shows me an email that has me on a list of names registered to play, and tells me I owe $25. What?? I’m signed up after all? The charming lady magically appears. You’re on the C team, she tells me and Holly. Let’s hope for good weather, she adds.
First of all, the C team?? The B team, definitely. But the C team? In all honesty, though, I was not so much offended as hopeful for a chance to win, considering I was part of the group of players who had either never played before and/or were crippled. C stands for crippled, right? (in short: I wish)
As for the weather, well–despite sunshine and 60-70 degree weather throughout January, it happened to snow a few days before the tournament. As a precautionary measure, the tournament was delayed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which meant that the weather was sunny and beautiful and warm UNTIL 1:15 p.m., at which point the wind picked up and the sun disappeared behind dark, ominous clouds. We played the entire tournament in the wind and cold.
I was paired up with a man named Glaze, and I have to say, I couldn’t have thought of a more awesome name for a guy if I tried. GLAZE! It’s like BLAZE, which to me screams “superhero”. Or one could think of that lovely coating on donuts, or that stuff you put on pottery to give it color (despite the inner fat girl inside of me who urges me to eat all things made of sugar and chocolate, I somehow thought of the pottery thing first). But Glaze had mistaken the day of the tournament, so he was late. And then when he showed up, he ran to the wrong court and had to be ushered back to mine. This is definitely the perfect partner for me, I thought. We just scream: winning team!
Well, hands down he was probably the nicest partner I could have asked for. He was an older gentleman with a good sense of humor and a slight southern drawal, and he showed immense patience when I was incapable of making contact with the ball for the first 8 games. The only thing I had going for me was my serve in the first match. From there on out, I sort of remembered how to play, but I still had relapses of total hand-eye coordination deficiency.
I had one game of pride in which I served four non-returnable serves, two of which were aces. My moment of growth, however, was at the net. I actually hit some volleys and got a couple points at the net, which is a huge thing for me because of my volley-phobia. (I have a fear of volleying that began even before I got a bloody nose during group lessons with the kids that one time. I think I must have poor instinctual reflex reactions.)
My favorite opponent was a guy named Joe. He sounded like Foghorn Leghorn and would say things like, “This one’s for ALLLLL the marbles!” He was also loud: I could hear him even when he wasn’t playing against us, which made it even more humorous (not to mention, difficult to concentrate on the game at hand). And his partner Eileen was equally funny because she had the perfect inflection when she said things like, “Well, that was awful” and “I can’t believe that just happened,” phrases that exactly matched the thoughts I’d been having all afternoon. It was like my inner voice revealed.
The “Cupid Cuties” aka the C team finished at around 3pm, so I came home and drank a lot of hot chocolate before our tennis dinner. It was at a Mexican food place that I’d never been to before, but I was so starving that even the solid ball of dough posing as a sopapilla tasted great. We all got prizes for participating (Holly and her partner won in our division!! We can now tell who the handicap is when Holly and I play doubles. Ahem.) and I got a mini-journal. I guess word is spreading that I’m a writer (I use the word “writer” loosely), but little do they know, I am posting my experiences on the World Wide Web. mwahahahaha