Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Caught with my pants down (or the latest installment in the "Oh yeah, I play tennis, too" series)

Let me tell you about something I've never experienced on the court before in my 20 years playing! It was a "clothes" call, indeed!

Today, I made my first appearance since September at the racquet club I belong to. I've been on the disabled list for a while with pretty bad Achilles tendinitis, and had to do a couple months physical therapy to get back on track. It's helped tremendously and I started hitting again about a month ago. But that's been it, just hitting. So I figured I needed to get out and play some points, games, sets, whatever, especially as I'm planning to enter a tennis tournament in three weeks!

I finally got up early enough to go out to the early-bird program at the club. It's the best deal there, I feel: You get to play sets of singles and/or doubles, you're rotated around and there's a lot of good players that go. Most of them are older, but it's been a big plus for me over the years as I've learned a ton competing against them on the Har-Tru, having grown up playing on hard courts.

Anyway, I'm out there and everyone's paired off, so I hit for a while with the pro. We're hitting and decide to play some games until someone comes along. Well, someone comes over to the court, dressed in a polo shirt and pleated pants, lugging a racquet bag. He and the pro are making small talk, and I figure this is who I'm going to play after he goes to the locker room and changes. Then this guy and the pro walk up to the net, as if we're about to play now! The pro says this guy is a player and you two should have a good set. I'm thinking to myself, "He's wearing pants. Dockers even!" We warm up and I couldn't figure out any weaknesses to really probe: He could hit big, had nice feel, serve big or with a heavy spin. Maybe there was something there and I was distracted because he had on pants! Pants, I say!

We play a set and I lost 6-2. There was no shame in it, because despite his abundance of outerwear, as the pro said, "He's a player." I'd love to hit with him again, now that I know what I could be facing!

After he and I played, I squeezed in a few games with someone I've played against many times over the years and she was ahead in the score by the time the alarm rang to end the early-bird session. The day was an eye-opener as far as where I need to be in my game and fitness level, seeing as how on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm about at a 5.5 gamewise and a 4 physically.

Maybe if I play in pants, it'll help me out!


R.C. French said...

Federer has his white Wimbledon trousers. He's a man who knows the power of pants.

Darker Blue said...

I also wonder if Nadal is comfortable in those shorts :) I worry about it everytime I watch him :)

In the 'prince of tennis' anime, usually the most confident players wear daily clothes or their jackets when playing. They show off and imply "I can beat you even in these clothes, no sweat!" But, in the end, they all got beaten by the kid, Echizen :P


Shelia said...

LOL! It never fails. The moment you think someone is just an absolute nut for doing something that appears totally illogical to you, they sail.

That pants thing would've played on my mind too. That's like a woman coming out to play in pumps!

Shelia said...

Oh, glad to hear that your game is still fairly well. You don't have as far to climb as you thought.

van said...

• Hey R.C. French. Now just imagine if Federer kept those pants on and played his match. That's what I was facing. I guess my guy knew the power of the pants even more!

• I hear you about those capris Nadal wears, DB! This guy I hit with actually has a pair and wears them sometimes. I'm not sure how he feels comfortable and manages to run around, but he does. I'm glad to hear that the kid, who's hopefully wearing shorts, prevails against the more-dressed crowd in 'prince of tennis'!

• Hey Sheila. If that guy would've come out in dress shoes, that would've totally freaked me out! He was a good player and the nicest guy. Hopefully, though, I can get him next time.