This last day of competition, playing for the Championship, started cloudy and 57; and were treated to a clinic on tennis equipment by Dick Stockton and Brian Gottfried.
I feel amazingly OK, reinforced by our famous camp trainer Larry Starr “complaining” to Steve Contardi that “George never comes to see me!”
- In The Old Days, most pros played with wooden racquets strung at 62 pounds
- While most of today’s racquets weigh in at 8-10 oz, Emerson and company would play with ones that weighed 15-16 oz
- They believe that is why so many players today get tennis elbow
- Most players then also played with much larger grip sizes than pros today … then it was 4 ¾” – 5”, while today’s pros play with 4 ¼ (most companies are no longer even making the larger grip sizes)
- They do that because they use much more wrist in their strokes
- The most important piece of “equipment” are your shoes … you need to buy and wear good shoes
- How long should a racquet last? Depends on how often you play and how you “protect” them from the heat and the cold. One side of most tennis bags is insulated and that is where your racquets should be kept
- Most pros are now using poly strings, with many using a combination with standard strings. And whether they are in the mains or the crosses, depend on your objectives: having trouble with breakage, put the poly in the mains; looking for more feel, you go the other way
- Racquets with chips of value? They don’t believe they sell very well and don’t help, unless someone helps analyze the data.
- Four factories in China make all the racquets we play with
Our leading Wankers (2-0) were playing the winless Dunnies; and a victory would mean the championship… while a loss and Newk Kangaroo win would mean a 2-1 tie (with Heaven knows what tie breaker Newk would come up with).
I was again teamed at #2 with “my morning partner,” Jim Capito (OH) vs. the very tough team Dr. Scott Miller (OH) and Matt Vanderkloot (IL), two of their top singles players who were this year playing doubles only. Predictably, they beat us solidly.
Man Down on the Court
On the next court to us, was the #1 doubles match and I was conflicted who to root for; because the opposition’s team was good friend Tom Mackessy (OH) and my last-year doubles partner from NC, 55-year old Mark Wirth.
As we were changing sides, I was walking over to Mark to share that thought and, as I did, he put his hand to his chest and started to go down. I yelled “Scotty!!” (Dr. Scott Miller from our court) rushed over, as did ER Doc Aden Levine. They immediately called 911 (which took a long time to arrive) and also got out the diagnostic emergency heart box.
His heart rate started to come down from 180 beats / minute; and the paramedics finally arrived and took him to the hospital. And at dinner, he seemed OK and he was of course awarded the “Senior Moment” award.
The coincidental back story… his partner, Tom Mackessy “died” on the court six years ago in OH and was brought back to life by the very same Dr. Scott Miller!
So, tell me again how “important” it is to win a tennis match.
At the lunch break, our Wankers held a 13-8 lead over the Dunnies going into the afternoon’s doubles matches. And Newk’s Kangaroos were leading the Musclemen.
Our team needed to win 5 of the 13 afternoon doubles matches to clinch the day and the Championship. I was again teamed at #5 with Adin Levine vs. Andy “half-a-Hallock” (SC) and Greg Arend (CO) … and just what I did NOT need, we got … my final match of the week lasting 2.5 hours!
They played solidly, missing maybe one overhead the whole match, and they were serving set point at 5-4 in the first set. But we were able to break and bring it to a tie breaker, which we won.
In the second set, they returned the favor, saving two match points as we were serving at 5-4 … and they brought it to a tie breaker. But we survived that one as well for 7-6, 7-6.
Team Results: our Wankers ended up winning 9 of the 13 doubles match to clinch the Championship for only the second time in my 14 years of coming.
After Happy Hour that included fresh shrimp from the Gulf and dinner of salmon and chicken breast there was the Awards Ceremonies. As Steve Contardi said, “This will be the longest awards presentation you will ever see!”
There were thanks all around to the Legends who made our week wonderful, the great ranch staff of young pros and in the kitchen, and to Steve Contardi and his whole family who arranged it all. Then there were plaques and pictures for people who won all their singles, all their doubles, and all their singles AND doubles (Rich and Ken Tarantino!!).
The official ending to a truly fantastic Fantasy Week of tennis with the Legends was Roy Emerson leading all the Aussies in their rendition of “Waltzing Matilda.”
Friday morning, most will play morning drills; but the “Naples four” will take a day of rest and fly AirBerry back to Pelican Bay (and I will rest to get ready for a light singles hit on Saturday morning!).
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