It's been a while since I played tennis. I partnered W. this summer through two sets which we lost 6-0, 6-0. But it had been months before that that I had picked up a racquet. And I don't know why. I thoroughly enjoy tennis. I love the skirts. I like the socialization. I thrive on the low level competition. So when a friend and her husband needed a mixed doubles pair to sub for their team, I didn't hesitate to commit D. and myself to the game.
I paid no attention to the fact that I haven't played in months (or even that months ago when I was playing occasionally, my skills weren't what they were last year when I played four days a week). I ignored the fact that D. has played all of twice in the past year and has never played doubles. And most of all, I blocked from my mind the extra twenty pounds that would make the cute tennis skirts bulgy and not cute (and borderline obscene). Any normal person would have declined the offer of a match, especially a match that counts against the team's season totals. But no, I only saw that it would get us out on the court again and went all seat of my pants and agreed to it. I did feel a bit of misgiving when K. told me that T. (our friends and team captains) was really competitive. I admitted we'd likely lose and if she wanted to ask people who had a prayer in h*ll of winning, I wouldn't be offended. She didn't back off of the offer but I suspect that we were the last resort before forfeiting the line and that had more to do with not backing out than her having any confidence in our
The day of the match dawned cold as a witch's tit and so I pulled some sweat pants on under the cute skirt, making it look from the rear as if I was smuggling lumpy grapefruit. On the pluse side though, no one actually had to see this same resemblence sans sweat pants so I will maintain it was all material and none of me. Yeah, I'm selling bridges cheap this week too. I also threw on a hot pink warm-up type jacket, only to discover that it seems to have gotten shorter in the past year, perching cheerily off the front of the spare tire but not quite making it to the top of the lumpy skirt. Suited up like a schizophrenic skank (do I go with skin tight, sexy over top of the unappealing muffin top or do I go unwashed, schlumpy frump in baggy sweats? Hey, I'll do both! What a plan.) at Walmart, I grabbed W., took him, and promptly abandoned him at his match. Then I collected D. from the bar where he was watching football (always a good plan before playing anything that counts, right?) and away we went to the match.
When we got there, the matches before ours were still going on so wimpy, newly minted southerners that we are, we huddled in the toasty, warm pro shop instead of out in the chill and bluster. I eyed the cute skirts they had on the wall while D. continued watching football on their tv. It was pretty hard to get him to leave the game when it was actually our turn to play. We warmed up and proceeded to intimidate the snot out of our opponents. Ha! The only good news was that they were as dismal and uninformed about the game of tennis as we managed to be.
We managed to get way up in the first set and then have the wheels come crashing off the bus, letting the other team come back and almost catch us. We were mostly being good natured about the whole thing at this point although I admit to trying to explain to D. how doubles is played most effectively. "Keep your poaching @ss on your own side of the court if I've said I got it." "Hello?! That was your alley." "Would you just put it away so I don't get it rammed right back down my throat?" (And those of you with dirty minds, get right out of the gutter, right now!) I can't imagine why D. spent a lot of the set shaking his head.
As we finally finished up the first set, we noticed that all the other teams were wrapping up their second sets. Umm. Yeah. We were playing the match that never ended. It was my serve and I swear I was living in a scene from Groundhog Day: "Deuce." "Ad-in." "Deuce." "Ad-out." "Deuce." "Ad-in." "Deuce." "Ad-out." The second set eventually rolled around and we were up by a lot before preceeding to collapse even worse than in the first set. I don't think we could have paid for one of our shots to go in. And the other team came roaring back, taking the second set. More good advice on my part was completely ignored on D.'s. I can't imagine why when I was clearly playing so very well, missing the lines by
By the time we lost the second set, I was hot but unwilling to peel off any of the lumpy clothing, especially in front of the audience we had attracted. Oh yeah. An e-mail must have gone out to come and watch the clowns on court 5 because it was suddenly a bit like being on Center Court at Roland Garros, aside from the fact that our crowd was coaching us all through the vagaries of the tie-break to ten thing to determine who would ultimately win the match. Now mind you, I've generally lost quickly enough in the past that I've never had to even consider learning the tie-break protocol. So whenever I've been instructed in the whole, "serve once but everyone after that serves twice and switch sides after 6 points and again after another 6 points and always start serving on the ad side" and all that jazz, I've tuned it out. Be honest, you didn't finish reading that convoluted sentence either, did you? Apparently our opponents usually lose quickly as well since they didn't know procedure any better than we did. So, the peanut gallery chimed in to keep us honest, and probably to keep from having to admit, when they submitted scores, that they each had two complete nimrods on their teams. ;-)
Things dragged along with a point for us and a point for them. Three for us, one for them. Four for them, zero for us. Basically, the match was never going to be over. And then D. was serving. He's got a mean-@ss first serve, hard and fast and totally out of control. When it's in, it's pure gold. When it's out, it whistles past your ears while still in mid-air as you stand behind the baseline. So basically, he has no control over his balls. (Yes, D., I did just say that. You can strangle me later. ::grin::) When that zinger of a first serve missed too far right though and nailed me in the back, the sickening thud of flayed flesh was heard in a tri-state area. That sucker hurt like you would not believe. And I was ticked. I couldn't get hit with his blooper of a second serve. Oh no. I got the 90 mile an hour fastball. On the plus side, it hit the back fat pad below my bra strap so it didn't hurt nearly as much as it would have had I been in decent shape and as thin as I want to be so I guess there's that. T., who as team captain was in our peanut gallery waiting for the outcome of the match, immediately shouted that D. was welcome to his guest room. This probably breaks protocol at Roland Garros. Once I got over being totally steamed at D.'s serving incompetence (and we'll just ignore the fact that I double faulted a shameful number of times even with my powder puff of a serve), I started to flinch and slam my eyes shut every time he served. You can imagine how effective it is to have your partner at net with her eyes closed tight, offering up prayers for no more beatings. Amazingly we finally managed to pull off a win (and no one was more surprised than we were) and the afternoon's entertainment was over. Now I'm wondering if we should never, ever, ever play together again and keep our by the skin of our teeth perfect record?
Oh, and K. (she wasn't at the match) picked W. up from his match for us (thank goodness since we were busy with the marathon match). He won and enjoyed hearing her say that we should win easily because we were playing the worst team in the league and fourth line at that. So when he found out we barely eked out a win, he laughed so hard I though he might hyperventilate. And in true kid fashion, he has reminded me of it each of the three days since then. Because apparently your parents almost getting humiliated by the worst pair on the worst team in the league never gets old.