One of the 9 teams in our group (region?) played its season opener on Wednesday without surrendering a set and only donated 15 games. Wow that’s a fantastic start. So I wondered out loud to my team .. and .. got an earful. Among lectures, I found this one reassuring:
I wouldn’t worry about the other team so much. I’m only worried about our women as they are the weakest links. [hey isn’t that my line??] I’m still playing in 3rd gear and will step it up only when the male opponent steps it up. I don’t want to be hitting any hard shots at the women unless they start first.
I have a staple of beautiful girls. Me worry? Are you kidding?
As I was playing my first league game after long hiatus on Tuesday, I found my legs weren’t mine, plus loaded with lead. I thought I don’t get nervous. I hit a lousy shot followed by another one .. one more .. double faults .. 3 in a row!!! I never knew that I was capable of that! I felt terrible and sugarless when my man put his head down after the lousy point or better yet, he didn’t even move, just let the ball screaming passing by.
Me worry? You got be kidding.
We were the second fiddlers. Two teammates were playing the first doubles and two to my left were doing the third 轰轰烈烈. The thought that they’re my responsibilities plus the partner who shared the court with me suddenly loomed large. I must be nuts: all those five players are better at tennis and knew what’s going on. It’s me who’s clueless, the weakest link.
I brought V8, water, snack bars and seaweeds .. .. just in case any one feeling Hungary or thirsty. I swear to lord I’ve never done such thing for my own kids, and pray to lord they are not going to read this.
Looking to my right, Lum was playing 热火朝天 with her guy. 我就有点气不打一处来: I had to blame them for my own sorry situation. They must be eager to show off their improved partnership (It’s cute that Wah could never beat Irene on court), so egged me on. Why don’t they volunteer to be the captain? Barack Obama wanted to show off his wife’s arms to the world hence he ran for the skipper. Booo hoooo .. .. no love them no more .. I’m the least connected and talented in this tennis cosmos. Never wanted to be in charge of anything or anyone. Most girls I knew all have strong tennis-playing husbands or significant-others, or patrons to look after them. I’m totally alone out there. Poor me .. cry.. cry.. cry..
Alright, let’s move on, shall we?
The opposing team’s captain stoically stood by the revolving door, watched. I like her: responsive, able and professional. Very pleasant to deal with. She wrote neatly on the sheet and even indicating which court the team would be play on. When we had question regarding the tie break in the first set – if to play regular 7 points tie break or the Coman rotation which is 10 point: teams switch sides after the first point, and then after every 4th point (after 1st, 5th, 9th point, etc.). She came over quickly and explained precisely. It’s regular 7 points.
We were leading 3:1 in the first set but lost in tie break by a fair large margin.
I’ve been playing mixed doubles for too long and been taken care for for too long. I’m used to carry about only 20-30% of the load. Come to think about it, that’s why I can’t play with the girls where equal partnership is required. I become lazy and especially after serving, I’m always kind of expecting my man to put the ball away for good. Or wander into the no man zone, taking a break there :). I think I install my sofa in the no man zone permanently.
At beginning of second set, I thought about winning the match but felt very daunting. The mountain was just too high to climb over: we needed to win the 2nd set plus the tie break.
Why was I there?
Thinking hard, I calmed down:
I felt guilty that I let my team down, especially the few good men. The handsome 4.0 boys would never even look at my direction if were not .. .. There’s pair of veterans, a 4.0 girl no less; a pretty woman .. ya ya .. I’m corny, low on self-esteem and a shameless promoter. In any case, I don’t think I’m allowed any error – they might kick me out of the team (I’m only the airhead prop) or form some sort of committee [ha ha ha hhhmmmmmm ..]. Those fears chased my anxiety away.
As we were enjoying a healthy lead in the second set, the tall guy on the other side had a cramp. He asked for a time out between a deuce. Not knowing the protocol or rules – there are many (which is good), we just waited on our court. After about 3 minutes or so, we walked over to the net. He said he’s fine so we resumed the play. We took the set at 6:2 – they insisted that we won 6:1. In the super tie break, I did relatively well. Remember, in this level of play, your opponents are just as nervous as you are. We took the tie break at 4 or 5. It wasn’t close. Looking back at the scores:
6:7 (3:7), 6:1, 10:5
I don’t think I perform well under pressure. Need to learn to deal with mental game as well.
The girl failed to return a shot that ended the game. I felt so relieved and happy that I won a match on first outing, sort of. I knew, as usual, it was more of Wai’s doing. But what the heck. A win is a win. I could have screw it up big time. I must have hugged Wai, Irene and Wah were laughing. 投怀送抱 -:) Ewwwwww .. what a desperate house wife Wai must have thought.
Wait, did I really hug him? Or they made it up? Whatever.
Sleep tight Irene. It’s only a game.
1st doubles: 3:6, 6:2, 10:5
2nd doubles: 7:6 (3:7), 6:1, 10:5
3rd doubles: 7:6 (?), 6:1