Another day of training found my young charges soaked and exhausted. A 250-ball warm-up without a miss, followed by some serious drilling, can do that to a player, especially in this heat. But these kids need this challenge, to battle against the professional players, to feel the pace of the ball and the intensity of the sessions. In the same way that there are surgeons and great surgeons, there are tennis players and great tennis players. Certainly talent is involved, but with practice comes wisdom and confidence, comes mental clarity and belief that one can solve any problem, comes an understanding of the things rookies lack. We had this discussion last night – about surgeons – and these two young ladies seemed to get it. Today’s practices were excellent. When they looked at me with that fish on the shore gasp and eyes rolling northward, I gave them a brief break before heading into the Caribbean for a swim. So we did, in 80-degree waters, surrounded by fish and French/British speaking tourists.
There’s an oddity about tourists on the beach. Some of them look like corpses in the morning and then tend toward the porcine in the afternoon. Others feel toplessness is global, and so there are some teenage boys issuing Gumpish gazes that indicate embarrassment, curiosity and a stifled giggle, all rolled up. Too, there are women with dessert-butt who would probably have been better off avoiding the thong – it’s a bit like sending a zip line through the Grand Canyon. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just awkward to think a bathing suit can just disappear like that. Finally, there are the “beach selfies,” the folks who’ve spent 64% of their lives in the gym and take this opportunity to preen about sporting six packs and Pythagorean cheekbones. If they could Banach-Tarski themselves, clearly they could get a lot more people to notice them.
This evening we hit the beach barbecue and watched some of the day’s beachgoers stuff steak and lobster into over-red faces. With the setting sun and a slight breeze, it was the perfect ending to a hyper-athletic day. Tomorrow we hit at 7am, and then head out to Tulum – Mayan ruins – and what allegedly hails as one of the world’s top ten beaches.
Almost posted this without the biggest news of the day. Yaneli – my chambermaid with the surreal towel talent – seems to be warming up to me again. Today she origami’d a smiling rabbit.
I’m not sure whether it was the sopping floors or her disgust at me walking naked and wet across my hotel room, but my girl has started bringing me towels again. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but with six showers a day, there’s been a lot of down time waiting for…well, you know…things to dry.