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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

January 28, 2005 02:41 PM

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Arriving at our first match this fall, I had to introduce myself to the majority of my teammates. I introduced myself to several members of the opposing team by mistake. That was bad. Now I know my teammates well. That is good.

We lost that first match. That was bad. Then we won the next 8 matches in a row. That was good. We tied for the best record in the league on won based the point system nobody pays any attention to except the captains.

The state championships were scheduled in Charleston over the Halloween weekend. That was bad. My kids came up and said "Dad, we want you to go to your tennis tournament." That was good.

We lost our first match to Hilton Head. That was bad. We rallied and won the next 3 matches in our bracket. That was pretty good. Then the Columbia team did us a favor by defeating Hilton Head. That was real good. We bought the Columbia guys beer. Real cold beer, we got them out of the bottom. They said the beers were good.

80% of our team had checked out of their hotels that Sunday, but we now had the semis and the finals on Monday. That was bad. My brother has a beach house in Charleston. That was good. We had dinner at Folly Beach at some seafood place. Dinner was good. The beers were real good. The whole team crashed at the beach house, on couches, beds, floor, and one guy on a hammock out on the porch. He had a problem with gas (that was bad).

The next morning were slid into the finals by winning the semis 2-1. That was good. It was too far back to the beach to take showers. That was bad. Now we faced Greenwood in the finals, and everyone said you guys cannot beat them. That was bad.

We won the finals 2-1. That was great. I played in 5 matches that weekend, and every single match was played both hard and honestly. There was never a line dispute, and as we advanced, our opponents went out of their way to congratulate us and wish us the best. That was good.

Next was Mobile and the sectionals in January. Several of us waited to book rooms 2 days before we left. That was bad. We arrived on Thursday night and rode around too long looking for the Magnolia Inn. That was bad after an 8 hour drive. We called the hotel and they said "we're the one with the sheet over the sign; we used to be Ramada Inn." That was bad. We rode around until it was dark and we could see Ramada Inn through the sheet.

As I was checking in, the hostess asked as to how many in my party. I said 2, me and my partner. I neglected the word "tennis" to preface partner, and she offered to change us to a king size bed instead of two doubles. That was bad. We got two double beds. That was good.

We played Alabama at 8 AM the next morning. We won. That was good and bad. We had always lost our first match, so we were worried we had screwed up. That afternoon we defeated Georgia, and it was 80 degrees. That was good. Our whole team (7 players, one cool wife) went to the Mardi Gras parade and out to dinner on Dauphin Street. That was great.

On Saturday we somehow came up with another win. That was good, and we were quite surprised to be 3-0. We had never been 3-0, so we were confused. Some of the team thought we should take it easy and skip the party at the battleship. They lost. The party was good.

The next day we had 8 AM match. It was below freezing and the wind chill made it worse. That was bad. The guys I had played from North Carolina earlier were on the next court playing in shorts. They indicated they had some antifreeze left over from the previous night. My regular partner sat out the match and I played with our captain, as we had alternated our 7 players. In the second set he marched over to me, but I had no idea what was coming. We were playing well and up a set. Then he said "where the %$#&* is Ken (my regular partner)? Ken was charged with scouting the team from the other bracket that we would line up against in the finals. It seems the hotel was much warmer, and he was enjoying the breakfast buffet.

My partner and I lost in the finals. That was bad. Our other two teams won. That was good. It seemed were always able to pull out two out of three somehow. Every single member of our team had wins that kept us advancing, and would have eliminated us if they had lost. That is good.

As for the ugly - we play 6.5 tennis. There was plenty of ugly.

Jeff Smith

Greer, South Carolina Men's 6.5 Combo Doubles Team

2004 South Carolina and Southern Sectional Champions

 

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