One of the things I like about tennis is the built in “physical distancing.” Even in doubles there’s only 4 people in more than 4000 square feet.
It’s easy as hell for me to stay 20 feet away from everybody else on the court. I don’t need or like the hand-slapping, chest bumping or talking — to people. I’m good with distance. Especially from the dudes on my fucked-up tennis team.
If droplets can stay on the ball after I hit it, I deserve to get the flu. I’m not hitting that shit hard enough.
It’s not a hike in the forbidden forest, but tennis should be as close to safe in a pandemic as any sport.
Apparently, few others believe that. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) canceled our league — probably the first good decision that group has made since using the US Open to fund itself.
But the cancel came right after I sent several “encouraging” emails asking my pansy teammates to sign up because I didn’t want to be the only player on the roster.
Julian,the original douchebag millennial, got a bug up his ass to create a team to start in late March.
We had skipped a season or two. No one wanted to run a team. No one wanted to travel to bullshit matches. No one wanted to watch the Crustaceans win again.
Guess what mother fuckers, the Crustaceans lost last season. Just when we gave up, someone stepped up and made “our miracle” happen. Disney does not make movies about the team that didn’t even try — but they should.
Kids should learn how to deal with the regrets, shame and guilt of quitting early. They should also learn about the relief of quitting before you become Sisyphus with a racquet. It’s a hell of a lot more fun to have a few beers and heckle from the sideline when someone else is rolling a bunch of crustaceans up a hill in the hell of Tucson’s summer.
Julian had planned for months to bring our team back from the dead. It took a bit of a scourging, and we had to wait three days, but Jesus joined the resurrection. Some people say he led it, and we couldn’t have had a resurrection without Jesus. But that’s bullshit. These are the same people who believe in talking snakes and stuffing two of every kind on a small wooden boat.
Usually, I want no part in any resurrection story. But I was game to join this one. I can barely play with my swollen knees and unwillingness to lose weight. But when there is no league, players don’t show.
Rather than spend Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Third World Racquet Club, they have dinner with their moms (Noah — I can hardly look at you when you tell me about making that choice). Or they are trying to pass 6th grade math (kid’s homework) or god forbid stay home and talk to their wives.
So a team we must have — if we want more than 3 dudes to show up most nights.
Then last week the Third World closed. No bar, no food, no gym, no handball or racquetball, no basketball, no volleyball. And thank god, no fucking pickle ball (the scourge of the tennis world). All those sports are too “close.” Their courts are too small, too crowded, and there’s way too much fucking contact.
But at least for this week, tennis at the Third World was far enough away.
The league is dead. The fucked-up team has gone back to its eternal sleep. But for now, we are wallowing in our chance to knock the virus off a fuzzy ball. And hoping 1000 square feet each is enough “physical distancing” forever.