Life on the Pro Circuit: Tennis and Other Things

The kid went down today 7-6, 7-5, lost to a former ITF top-tenner who now has sixty-two professional bouts under her belt.  Her opponent employed just enough craftiness on the big points to win, and frankly, displayed experience not usually seen at the 10k level. Pretty impressive chess-playing for someone without big tools.

The kid, however, stayed aggressive throughout, competed extremely well, and maintained her professionalism.  Proud of her effort and intensity.  Some days, wins and losses are almost indistinguishable.

My note-taking almost broke my iphone, but then, that’s why we watch these matches – to get information.  We’ll spend the next two days working out some of today’s kinks and she’ll attempt to qualify for the next tournament beginning Saturday.  Tomorrow’s first workout is at 7:00 a.m., when the rest of the field is sleeping and the only sounds are those of the crashing Caribbean and a few drunken tourists staggering out of the bushes to find their way home.

 On another note, the competition here illuminates the state of the game. 19-24 year-old men compete next to 15-21 year old women and the difference in play is almost laughable.  On one side of the gender spectrum, we witnessed a full-body dive, an expletive-filled rant directed at one meek umpire, and balls traveling upwards of 90 mph that actually buzz when they pass you.  On the other side, there are tears, arms thrown up in submission, effortlessness, and balls that appear to be filled with helium.  Men’s and women’s tennis are simply different sports.

Regarding the resort we are staying in:

 Hotel rule: Towels left on the floor will be washed and replaced, while towels hanging up will only be folded and remain in the room.  Please consider the environment when determining where to place your towel after your shower.

When you’ve lived your life being pathologically accommodating, this cipher presents considerable pressure.  Lupita – she’s left an introductory “Hello my name is” nametag on my nightstand, which means we’re now on a first name basis and I’m burdened with obligation – has this really unaccommodating ritual of making up my room whenever the hell she feels like it.  And so, when I take a shower, this decision whether or not to leave my towel hung or floored comes with the kind of responsibility I don’t want on this here Caribbean excursion.  As coach to a professional athlete, I work out a lot, (in exceedingly hot and humid temps) morning run, on-court drilling, in the gym, all of which implies I’ll be hitting the showers at least a half-dozen times per day.  Thus, when I’m done showering, I now have this uncomfortable habit of standing passively in the bathroom, holding my towel in hand, with an I’m-a-puppy-who’s-just-been-spoken-to tilted head, plagued with indecisiveness.  I can hang the towel, in which case Lupita might come by and, according to the code, assume I don’t want it washed and I’ll be stuck showering with the same towel eight more times – this actually happened the first few days, and by day three the damn linen had developed its own personality – before I see her again.  Or, worse yet, I can place the towel on the floor and hope Lupita shows up to replace it before I shower again and have to pick up a dirty towel from the floor to dry off, which is sort of disgusting when you consider this is the Caribbean and what’s probably gone on in this room.  Plus, between the dirty towels and what I presume Lupita thinks is an obsessive-compulsive showering habit, I’m a little worried she thinks I’m some grotesque creature and that’s why she never shows up when I’m around.  And don’t even get me started on the environmental considerations.  I’m pretty much a train wreck over the whole thing,

New word of the day: Bairdry (def) standing naked and wet, in your hotel room, waiting to dry

 

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By ccxander

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