Saturday, April 29, 2006


Reality Check

Order was restored to the tennis universe today, when I was crushed my a guy fifteen years my junior. His name is Ashlesh, and he was pretty decent, but I threw away literally dozens of points attempting to return his relatively weak second serve. Indeed, any short ball he dinked back to me gave me trouble. I chipped them, I ripped them, but I could not keep them in the court to save my life.

In summary, I think I'm in the right division. I believe I can be very competitive in the men's 3.5 singles, but I have a lot of work to do, both on the court and in the gym, to make that happen. My back didn't lock up on court today, but I can barely stand up or walk now. My everything hurts.

Back to the gym tomorrow.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Dodging a Bullet

I checked my tennis tournament's webpage this morning, and found out my first-round opponent had withdrawn. This saved a great deal of wear and tear on my aging, flabby body, which would come in handy later.

I arrived for my 6:00 match at 4:30, with a jug of Gatorade and a candy bar. I was loaded for bear. The skies were low and threatening, and the wind howled. My opponent had also arrived early, and we were happy to start our match early. He was an ex-Marine; older than me, but extremely fit. Fortunately, his racket skills were no match for mine, and I know all there is to know about playing in the wind. I won 6-2, 6-1 in about an hour. There was some bad news: my back hurt, bad, from late in the first set on. Some days are just worse than others, and hopefully it won't be as big a problem tomorrow, when I have to win twice to make the final.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Appetite for Destruction

I have entered a tennis tournament, which starts tomorrow. I am an effective, though eccentric, striker of the tennis ball. BUT:

1) I am forty-four years old. If I am not the oldest player in the draw, I will be shocked.
2) I am easily sixty pounds overweight.

So why the self-punishment? As a measure of progress. I entered a tournament last March; my back seized up like a '72 Vega with no oil in it...during the warmup. In blinding pain, I staggered through the first set, then defaulted when I could take no more. Forced to confront my infirmity, I hit the gym with a vengeance, losing forty pounds over the last thirteen months. Though still obese by any standard, I can now run around a court for over an hour without debilitating back pain.

In recent years, the United States Tennis Association has finally developed a system for competition that makes sense. If you dominate at one level, you will be moved up quickly. They never move anyone down, however, which encourages sandbagging among new entrants, including me. It is well within the realm of possibility that I am the best player in the field.

However, the schedule calls for me to play at 3:00 pm on Friday, and at 6:00 pm if I win. Subsequent rounds are on Saturday at 9:30 and 12:30. In order to reach the final on Sunday, the old, fat guy has to play (and win) four matches in twenty-four hours. That is a tall hill to climb.

Watch this space each night for results...assuming, of course, that I'm not in an ER somewhere.

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