Thursday, February 11, 2010

Changing of the guard

I usually limit my comments on this blog, at least my non-fantasy sports comments, to what others are doing. Even though that may be, "not of general interest" it's at least more interesting than what I'm usually doing. But last night there was a bit of a sea change on the tennis court.

I've played in a couple of different mens doubles tennis leagues over the last ten years, typically at a 3.5 USTA rating. Knee surgery aside, I'm usually younger and more mobile than the typical 3.5 mens doubles player. If guys can move around the court and have skills, they tend to play singles. So you get a lot of guys that are older and less mobile, but pretty savvy. I can't tell you how many times I've lost to guys in their 50's and 60's and sometimes worse, because my big serve won't go in or, even though they can't move, they always manage to be right where I hit it. Very frustrating.

Coming off of last year's league championship match, where my partner and I were up a set and 4-2 in the second and still managed to lose, we decided not to play this winter season. Part of that was some minor injuries plaguing my partner, part of it was general frustration with the league. We intended to get a regular weekly court time instead, but that fell through. Anyhoo, last night I was asked to sub in for a guy. I showed up (my partner for the night is older than I am) and we were playing two young guys with big serves that hit the ball hard, etc. We were quickly down 1-3, but battled back to tie it at 5-5, before losing the first set 7-5. Figuring it was over, I observed that I was almost the old guy that frustrated the heck out of the young guys to win. But it wasn't to be.

Except that it was. We ended up winning the next two sets and the match. It was bitter-sweet for me. They were better players, but refused to take something off a first serve to improve accuracy, or hit a solid shot instead of a "winner" every time. They let us back in the match and our consistency carried the day. I was thrilled to win, but not sure I like the idea of transforming into the old guy that out-savvied the young guys to win.


Anonymous said...

Yea, I transitioned to the old guy on the court about 4 years ago- that is the only way I can beat the hard hitting teenagers that are fast and quick- but mentally shallow. Great post Z. RK

Jessica said...

My dad is 62 and still kicking the arses of 20-somethings (including me) on a regular basis. Ain't no shame in that!

bcepling said...

I really liked this; I can so relate.