Our USTA 65+ women’s tennis team won our league playoffs to go to Sectionals this past week. I know, shocking, huh? I have to admit we surprised everyone, including ourselves, after beating the team that nearly won at Nationals last year.
For those of you who follow tennis about as much as you follow cricket, it means the team we beat was a whisper away from being the best 65+ women’s team in the nation. Kind of a big deal for amateur tennis players.
So during playoffs, it’s safe to say our hopes weren’t particularly high. In fact, our opponents brought champagne and had a luncheon spread to celebrate their impending victory. But here’s the thing — sometimes luck wins out over talent. And as luck would have it, we beat them.
Now don’t get me wrong; our team is good but it simply came down to lineup positions. (Or as they say, luck of the draw.) In other words, captain Debbie guessed correctly. Had she put it in any other order, it was likely adios for us.
So one of our 3 teams quickly lost, our other team was down a match point, and my partner and I were down 3 match points. Our opponent’s fans prepared to uncork the champagne when we shockingly came from behind to win. Hey Sectionals…
Fortunately, the drive was only 45-minutes instead of the usual 2-hour jaunt to Sacramento. But luck didn’t stay with us long when we learned all the teams had to play twice a day and even worse, we were the only team in our division that didn’t get much more than an hour break between matches.
Lest you forgot, we’re no spring chickens, so 4-5 hours of tennis on a hot day, under pressure, is challenging. But it gets worse. You won’t believe what happened (but if you know me, maybe you will)…
Carpooling with teammates, I left my car at the Park n Ride and hurriedly loaded a bunch of stuff into the waiting SUV. Only when we parked at the tournament did I realize I’d left my tennis gear in my car! Yes, I actually did that. But you may already know by now I’m a bit scatterbrained. Well, perhaps more than a bit. But still…
I’m particular about my rackets, so borrowing from a teammate wouldn’t have been ideal. But my luck was changing! Enter Hilary to the rescue. She came to watch but offered to retrieve my gear. Is that a friend, or what? Apparently she drove like Mario Andretti and returned before our first match. Incredible. I owe her big time but can’t tell you my plan because she reads my blog.
So we all won our first match. Then, waiting for the second match, my luck changed again as my calves started to cramp. I tried 3 different “remedies” and it actually worked so I could play. Our team, however, lost 2-1 yet some of us still celebrated over a tasty dinner at Cascabel.
The next day we had to arrive at the courts by 7:45 which meant no sleeping past 6:00 a.m. Since I often enter dreamland between 2:00-3:00, and my dogs need to pee around 5:30, I figured I’d be a zombie. Amazingly, I wasn’t, but my next problem was realizing I’m about to lose 3 toenails from all the stop and go on the court and apparently the wrong size tennis shoes.
Turns out our team lost both matches on the second day, including a close one to the team that’s going to Nationals. And to be honest, we actually weren’t disappointed. Why? Because Nationals for the 65+ teams are in Surprise, Arizona — the shopping mall and tumbleweed capital of the world. Or so it seemed when I was there last.
But, on a happy note, I still have my toenails.
woo hoo! congrats on making it so far-