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Super Senior Southern Sectional: Cecil Johnson Tells All!

February 25, 2003 10:32 AM
In 1843 a man named David T Shaw wrote the stirring anthem Columbia The Gem Of The Ocean. Somewhere at sometime someone must have written Columbus The Gem Of Tennis Courts referring to the beautiful complex at Cooper Creek. And to top that off Mr Referee Ron ordered marvelous days of sunshine Friday and Saturday just as he promised. My minions, the 3.0 Super 70 Seniors from Slidell-Mandeville-Covington, Louisiana, as usual, had a few problems. We got lost twice, a vast improvement over last year. We are still trying to decide if Columbus has too few signs for us to go by or if none of us can see good enough to tell where they are. Also the changing time zone caused major havoc. We were on at least three time schedules, none of which coincided with the time in Columbus, GA. The nearby lake with fishing piers at Cooper Creek was also a source of trouble as some of our players much prefer fishing to tennis and may have had their heads turned wistfully to that view as tennis balls whizzed past undetected. We held to our usual regimen of being in bed no later than 5 a. m. on the morning of an 8 a. m. match and of NOT drinking BOTH whiskey and beer on the same night before a match. We still run 10 miles a day, though this can be perfomed before daylight and does not require a witness. We also worked diligently on the tennis courts before we left Louisiana, practicing for hours on such critical renditions as "yours" and "out" . . . . though to our great concern most of our opponents chose to hit their shots within the area bordered by a strange looking white tape, often choosing this as the exact target to have the ball strike before it zoomed off in an unusual direction.
In our division, all matches were very close except when each team had to play Mississippi. The teams who played tough tiebreakers against each other were in turn given a good thrashing by the Jackson, MS contingent. I was uncertain at the end of our match as to whether I should congratulate MS on their victory or pay them for a tennis lesson. However, I believe I have that problem solved. As a very loyal American I will ask Patrick McEnroe, Captain of the United States team so recently embarrassed in the first round of Davis Cup play, to replace his entire lineup with the great shotmakers from Jackson, thus guaranteeing a US return to international prominence.
One member of our team has a novel idea that might add to both the interest and knowledge of matches being played at any given time. Simply make little hand written cards for the home teams to take at the same time they are given the cans of tennis balls and let them be placed on the fence, depicting such information as: Men 60s 3.5 AL vs GA. If enough like this idea, perhaps we can get the ball rolling at the state tournament level or somewhere as a test case.
I crossed paths again with people from long ago and from recent times, participated in and listened to the telling of some fabulous stories on ourselves and others, many parts of which have not been verified as true . . . . nor will they be admitted to. One sort of amusing event that took place: a team scheduled to play us at 9 a. m. did not appear on time. Ron Summers investigated, found they had mistakenly been sent to the wrong courts, began play against a team with a higher rating and had won the opening game of a set. Corrections were made and play went on as intended, although the team was a little disappointed that they had no way of reclaiming a game victory already won.
As usual the entire tournament was run in a first class manner by Marilyn, Bud, Referee Ron, other USTA officials and their assistants, and a large number of much appreciated volunteers. And the groundskeepers were amazing in their swiftness and efficiency. Many of them appeared to a be volunteers and very young, doing their work with smiles on their faces.
Congratulations to the winners and all participants for your sportsmanship, your outstanding tennis performances, your reaching so far down to come up with some amazing feats of effort, and for your courage in standing out there on those courts in the glare of day, and cranking up motors you knew had already run more miles than many ever do.
Til we meet again . . . . and I trust it will be very soon.
Cecil C Johnson
From the northern shores of Lake Ponchartrain
PS: This is certifiable and is for publication, even if it sends my rating up many, many notches: I HAD AN ACE IN THE TOURNAMENT.
(My doubles partner suggested it was probably due to my opponent having sight impairment.)



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