The Tennis Curmudgeon


Sounds Of Tennis

I love the sounds of tennis. Thwack of ball on strings. Squeak of sneaks on the court. Even the tip off a net cord is thrilling. I’ve been known to sit for hours listening to that interrupted only by line calls, score updates, maybe a laugh or hearty congratulations for a shot well struck, a wisp of wind circling my ear, while waiting for Bobby to decide to arrive.

My beloved bride rolls her eyes when I regale her with tales of Bobby’s tardiness,

“Make him wait! Till the back garden for an hour. That’ll get him!”

Yes, Bobby’s disposition toward dilatoriness is distressing, but, there’s something special about leaning back on a well worn bench, eyes clinched shut, listening to the staccato rhythm of tennis.

Well, there was.

I love the ritual. Checking my bag, driving to the courts thinking of matches played and yet to come, pulling into the parking lot looking over the courts gauging how long the wait for an open court. These are the rituals that put you in the mood to play.

But another of the rituals is the solitude. In your space. In your element. In your head. You are alone. You are focused. You are. . .

“BILITTY BILITTY BILITT T T. BILITTY BILITTY BILITT T T.”

. . .hearing a cellphone ring?

Now why on earth would you bring a cellphone to a place, maybe the one place in your godforsaken life, where you can get some solitude? Unmolested by the outside world? Doing possibly the one thing all day you’ve been looking forward to?

I’m not even going to get started on the plethora of ringtones. I purposely used a generic annoying sound of my own device and we’ll leave at that.

As if that’s not bad enough, and it is, everyone who’s ever had a cellphone ring on the court has done the unspeakable:

answered it!

Is your life that hectic, you that important, you so afraid to miss out on some minutia you must answer every cellphone caw?

I may be a cranky old fusspot about this but, be honest, has there ever been an important cellphone call that’s lasted more than ten seconds?

“What? You were driving down the freeway and a hovercraft fell onto the car? You’re being transported to General General Hospital? I’m on my way!”

But it’s never that. As evidenced by the gentleman today. His cellphone not only rang, he answered it, and proceeded to play while keeping up, what can only be called, the most insipid cellphone conversation of all time. Which begun thusly,

“Nothing. Just playing tennis.”

Then, for not only that game but his service game (where he rested the phone on his left shoulder while serving) and his next return game, to prattle on.

And never once was a hovercraft accident mentioned.

I think the time has come to add something to general rules, included with time limits and court decorum we should add:

More tennis, less talk.

‘Til next time, may your forehands land deep and your backhands full of pace (except the cellphone guy),

Dennis

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1 Comment so far
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I was delayed by a woman in a, uh, Halloween type dress…..

Comment by Bobby




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