Monday, July 12, 2010

Still Competing

A funny thing happened on my way to dominating our little in-home competition for World Cup picks. My teams stopped winning. I doubt they had anything against me personally, but they kept losing, including, of course, games that they played against each other. Someone had to lose, right?
So last week I was left with Germany playing for third while the Mrs. had both finalists. You don't need a report on how those games turned out, but our household competition got mighty tight at the end. How tight? Within 3% of each other. So we'll call it a tie and wonder why neither of us had the brains to take Uruguay with 10 picks each. Where was that winner-picking octopus I read about in the paper when I needed it?

It's a thrill to still be competing past age 60 in any sport. Lucky for me we have both the good weather and a supply of willing competitors that allow me to get test my skills four or five times a week, normally for less than two hours.
A few months ago I started thinking about traveling to Iowa to play in a tournament I had both watched and played in before. But then I did the math: about 4,500 miles of driving, a strong chance of brutally hot weather, plus the fact that the division I might have entered (in the doubles) only had five competing teams last year. I shelved the plan.
But I still wanted to find a place to show our stuff, and so looked for events nearby that fit our criteria. Turns out that "nearby" in terms of tennis tournaments means "at least 200 miles"- each way. So that didn't seem to fit in too well with the family finances nor my religious duties. Plan "B" went into the scrap heap.
Then, a summer miracle. A town just down the road, "friendly" Fortuna (not to be confused with other CA burgs Fontana or Tarzana) announced a series of one-day events taking place through August that would include both doubles and singles. Partner "Skip" and I took the plunge, payed the $10 apiece entry fee and showed up last Saturday to test our skills.
The weather was good - cool, but not windy: the courts, if uneven and breaking up, were the same for everyone: and the competition seemed just about right for our skill level.
I won't bore you with details of our matches, but we ended up playing over 50 games total, winning just over half of them. We found a way to edge the best girl player in the county (two years ago) and her partner by concentrating on hitting the ball to him. We lost the final to pair of big guys, one all the way from New Zealand. The guy in charge promised us trophies (probably charm bracelet-size). He also said the nicest thing I heard from anyone during the day - that we looked like a real doubles team in action. Sign us up again, coach.


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