The Tennis Curmudgeon

The Week – Part Fifteen
September 19, 2013, 12:10 am
Filed under: Tennis, Tennis Curmudgeon, The Tennis Curmudgeon | Tags: , ,

During the introductions I looked around and saw my tennis friends. They were all smiling and that, to me, was almost as good as winning the match. I also saw some hotel people. I’d been offering them tickets all week but they said they were all set. It was nice to see them there too.

It’s odd how sometimes you’ll remember every point in a match then others are little more than a blur. It’s as if your memory is telling you there’s nothing to see here. You’ve only got so much space up here so sometimes we’ve got to gloss over some things. I’ve had people come up to me with detailed analysis of something I did I had absolutely no memory of. But I must have done it because they’re right there feeding it back to me.

It’s like that a lot, I’ve come to learn this week, when taking pictures with people. I’ve taken pictures with someone only to have them come back the next for me to sign them. And I’m startled they’re in the picture almost every time. Like it’s some Photoshop trickery. But no, it’s real. And I think that’s what makes it the most odd.

I don’t remember the first three games of the match at all. But, from the looks of it, I stuck to my game plan and executed it flawlessly. It wasn’t until the fourth game with McCarrick serving I started to remember. He hit an ace in the deuce court and everyone started clapping. I looked around for a second before seeing the scoreboard change from

Lyle 3

McCarrick 0


Lyle 3

McCarrick 1

The streak was over.

I hoped wherever she was Naomi sighed the world’s biggest sigh of relief. The end of this madness was drawing to a close. McCarrick met me at the net and shook my hand. I didn’t know him well but we’d chatted on a few occasions.

“Great run, Bob.” Photographers stepped up to take our picture.

“Thanks, Peter.” It’s too bad we do the same thing. I get a feeling Peter and I could be friends.

“Glad it’s over?”

“Fuck yeah.” We laugh as more pictures are taken.

“Can you move to the scoreboard?” Someone asks. I look at Peter. He nods. Yeah, we could be friends.

I lost the next four games pretty rapidly. I got one game back but Peter took the first set 6-4. It would have been a pretty shitty thing to go from a long win streak straight into a long losing streak. I wonder if Tyler would have thought that would have been historic?

The next thing I remember is sitting next to Peter at the press conference. I had a moment of panic hoping no one would ask me what the score was or, for that matter, who won. I looked around the room hoping to see the final score posted somewhere.

“I’d like to say one thing.” Peter said bringing me back to some semblance of reality. “Bob had a great run, I’ve never seen anything else like it. I was glad to be a small part.” He nudges me. “Even if it was to ruin it.” I don’t know why, but that made me laugh way too hard.

“But even after what had to be a huge letdown, he hung tough and played one hell of a match. Now, because I’m sure no one has questions for me, I’ll hand it over to a very cool guy, Bob Lyle.”

‘Where the hell is he going?’ I thought. ‘Is the press conference over?’ Suddenly I hear all kinds of questions but I can’t distinctly make out any of them.

“Are you happy the streak is over?”

“Not happy.” I finally say. “Relieved I can get back to just tennis. But I am relieved and not just for me. For many of the hard working people running the Mid-State Savings And Loan Classic.” Tyler smiles I remembered the plug. “Especially someone you’re all way to familiar with, the over worked and under appreciated, Naomi.” I caught her eye and she smiled. Then slumped against the wall and nodded to me.

“Is there any significance to the streak stopping at thirty-three games?”

What a stupid question. Are they implying I stopped it on purpose and Peter didn’t just pound my head into the ground? Well, if they’re looking for significance I guess I should try to find some.

“Um, you mean other than as a tribute to those wonderful people in Latrobe, Pennsylvania who brew that fine Rolling Rock beer with that mysterious thirty-three on their label? Nope, no significance at all.”

I could see Tyler’s profit squeezing little mind racing. A few weeks later I had my very first tour sponsor and a little 33 patched to my chest. The down part was now I had to be publicly seen drinking only Rolling Rock. But getting it for free, along with those checks, made it go down even smoother.

“How do you think you’ll do against Kenyon in the semis?”

“Semis? You mean I won this match?” Everyone laughs figuring I was joking.

If they only knew.


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