The girls didn’t get into the event.
They are bummed out but energetic enough to rise early, so we are eating breakfast at 7:00a.m. We plan a day in Play del Carmen before getting back to hit this….
“Excuse me, Coach?”
“Yes? What’s that? A qualifier pulled out and one of the girls is now in the tournament?”
And that’s how this morning went, with one girl preparing for this afternoon’s competition and the other stranded upon the alternate list in the number one spot. For those familiar with pro circuits, this is all too common, sitting around the courts all day waiting to see if someone get sick, suffers from heat stroke, misses their match time, or otherwise decides not to play. It is wound-lickingly excruciating, and frustrating and energy sapping and a thousand other adjectives which suggest ripping out your eyes with the desire to play. One of my girls now feels like that and I’ve got to keep her on the seat’s edge, focused and ready to compete in case the call comes.
Meanwhile the one who got into the event, is resting in the air-conditioned room waiting for her warm up and match-play to begin. It is a very long day where I’m sitting around watching matches, scouting potential opponents, and finding a few free moments to blog about it. By 7:00p.m., we still have not started her match, so I’ll give today’s results tomorrow.
With the long wait, I’ve had time to expand on some of the more thought-provoking things happening at this here hotel by the sea. I was here for last year’s circuit – which I blogged about – and had a few issues at this same hotel. For those who missed it, here’s how it went down:
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 professional athletes, 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 thedamn 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.
So that was last year. Having learned my lesson, I’ve done a bit of early flirting and gotten ahead of the game. This year’s lady de la casa is named Yaneli, although she’s crossed out two other names on the guest card so she may be changing my sheets under a pseudonym. Per her job description, Yaneli has brought my daily assortment of towels. However, Yaneli has a special talent. She is an origami guru of towel art, and for the last several days, I’ve had a veritable Serengeti of terrycloth animals in my room, which is both unbelievably cool and morally shattering.
You can see where I’m going with this. This sweet little woman is spending some serious labor hours crafting these fabric sculptures just for me, and is leaving them on my pillow with the sort of love and kindness only flirted-with chambermaids can offer. Thus, here I am again, standing at my shower’s edge, dripping wet, feeling the guilt and betrayal and self-reproach of having to destroy this “DaVinci of the Cloth’s” creation. And I’m not certain I can do it. I can only imagine Yaneli’s pouting face when tomorrow morning’s entrance finds her textile elephant with it’s trunk torn off and it’s floppy ears sullied with my personal filth. As I walk across the lobby, I don’t want Yaneli and her cadre of chambermaids pointing at me and shouting, “He’s a naked poacher!”
Last year, I just had a little tete-a-tete with the regulations. Now, I’m burdened with the indecency of cultural destruction, the inhumanity of annihilating art, the disgust of extinguishing the filament dreams of a fiber genius. It’s day four here and I’m already got a Judas complex.
All I wanted was a fucking towel to dry off.