Sunday, May 10, 2009

Greetings from Losery McLoserington

That's right, my second tournament, this time in my tennis specialty, doubles, was also a losing experience. Actually, it was nearly identical in result to my last tournament, even down to the match scores.

This time around my sister and I played mixed doubles. Originally, we had signed up for the 3.0 mixed doubles, the lowest level the tournament offered, because my sister has never played formally. She took lessons for a couple of years in middle school, but didn't play in high school and she's never regularly played for fun. In fact, I've had her racket for the last year, so it's been at least a year since she's even hit around for fun. Because of a lack of players, the organizers ended up combining the 3.0 and 3.5 levels for one 3.5 tournament. There were only three teams playing even then.

Our first match was against the lower level team and, honestly, we stunk. We lost 1-6, 1-6, and really mostly because of me, but I have an excuse (other than the fact that I'm a mediocre athlete at best). Earlier in the day I had handed over my racket to the pro shop to be restrung and was promised it would be back in time for me to play at 1 p.m. I returned at 12:30 only to hear that the guy with the racket was on his way back to the shop and they'd bring it out to me when he arrived. I headed out to our match and it was not until match point that they brought out my racket. Too late, I'd let myself get upset by the missing racket and lost my confidence. I had to play with a racket I used in high school that's longer than my regular racket and really head-heavy. Between the weight and balance difference and my irritation at not getting my good racket back, I played like crap. Swings that normally would have produced great shots hit weird and sent the ball elsewhere. My serve actually improved from the extra length of the racket and the weight, but the rest of my shots were off. When my sister and I traded rackets near the end of the match, I actually played much better, but by then it was too late.

The second match was against a better team. The couple was younger and more mobile and they played well together. We lost the first set 0-6, but we took several games to deuce (a couple even to multiple deuces) but never managed to get a win. In the second set we won the first game to start a 4-1 run. We did end up losing 4-6, but Courtney and I were having so much fun we didn't really care. If we'd played the first team like we did the second team, we would have actually won the first match.

It would be easy to blame my sister here for not winning either match, but it'd be a bit of bullshit to do so. I actually came in expecting her to play worse than she actually did. She found her stroke sometime early in the first match, and picked up technique and strategy quickly when I saw she wasn't doing something well. By the second match, she wasn't making any significant mistakes. She even hit a few winners at the net for us in that second set.

I wasn't the only one impressed with her progress. Our opponents turned out to work with a weekly tennis clinic and hit regularly at a park near my sister's house. They asked us where we hit, and they were genuinely shocked to find out that my sister never played and hadn't even picked up a racket in a very long time. Her performance earned her a standing invitation to hit with their group.

I'll be making another attempt to win a match (or at least a set) on the 29th. I'm planning on taking another stab at level 3.0 singles and I'm forcing K to hit with me in combined mixed 5.0 doubles. That number means that our levels add up to 5.0. I'm a 3-3.5 as a doubles player, probably closer to the 3.5 than the 3, so that means K only has to play up to a 1.5-2 level to keep up competitive. She should be fine, at least if I can convince her that she should be fine.


A Free Man said...

I don't know squat about tennis but I like that Flannery O'Connor quote. I love me some Flannery O'Connor.

Chris said...

Keep playing, man. Sounds fun, even if you're losing.

My only competition these days is chair-warming and household chores.

courtney said...

Yes, keep at it. You've got to win sometime. You had fun, though, and that's what counts.

(That sounded like one of those "The More You Know" PSAs they did on NBC a while back.)

Julie said...

I hope you keep playing. As long as you're not a bad, jerky loser. And you just don't strike me as that. It'll be good for you.