Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Guess It Wasn't Awesome Behavior, I Don't Know

So this is kind of far up the butt of the rules and codes of conduct governing the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, ALTA, but it's been rankling me today. I'm rankled! There was rankling.

We hosted a home match today. (I made pasta salad with farfalle, pesto, green onions, tomatoes, and feta.) The rules state that the home team opens a new can of tennis balls with which the match is played. If the home team loses the match, we take those old balls and go home. If the home team pair wins, the visiting team gives us a can of new, unopened balls to replace the ones we played with. We then give them the game balls to take away as a consolation prize. It seems complicated and the first season I played, it was confusing, but it boils down to this: one way or another, the loser is out a can of balls.

Today I played with S, a girl I don't know well but I really like. She is Venezuelan and we have a slight language barrier, but she is very sweet and we have always won together. Today we won again. Now, to set the scene: It was 88 degrees, no shade anywhere. I was wearing heavy-duty sunscreen from my hairline down to my ankles. I'd been hydrating since breakfast and my urine was as clear as a pure mountain stream. I was ready to play. Also a part of the scene: I am a nice person. Okay.

We beat them 6-0, 6-0. They barely won any points in those games. I was thinking, they must be really new, 'cause S and I play fine but we are not, like, killer tennis monsters. I was all Nice Becky during our two quick sets, being cheerful because I AM cheerful, making pleasant chat between games, calling out "good shot" when they hit a good shot, etc. One girl seemed happy enough to be playing but the other one was like a wet rag. I don't know. When we won our match point, I went right to the end of the net to shake hands and all that, and S and I said the standard things, "Great match, thanks for playing, you played some great points, etc." These girls didn't really want to be friends, it seemed, so we all started packing up our stuff.

At this point there is usually the business of gathering up the game balls and putting them in their can. I would say, "Here you go" and give them the old balls and they would hand over a new can. We would thank them, sisterhood would flourish. But that's not what happened. I held out the can of old balls and one girl said, "You keep them," and then they both bee lined for the gate.

When they were gone, S said, "See, I thought they were supposed to give us balls, right?" I said, "Yes, they are." And I knew that they knew it, because in the little chat that we were able to squeeze from them, we established that the wet-rag girl has been playing for two years. They were avoiding the ball handover. Which made me want to make a thing out of it. I said to S, "Do you want to me to mention it?" And she said, "Yes, you do it, you can make it sound better than me."

So I don't know what got into me, and this is not how manners operate, as I have understood them all my life, in years of being drilled in ladylike modes of not seeming to put oneself first and never drawing attention to the lapses of others, etc. But I went and ASKED FOR THE NEW BALLS.

S and I followed those girls to the picnic area and as we got there, I called out, so breezily (BREEZY!), "Lisa, do you have a can of balls?" And that girl did not speak to me, she just rooted in her bag and pulled out a can and handed it to me with a little pronation of her wrist that I can only describe as pure bitch. I am sorry but you would have thought the same if you'd been there. When I am faced with that kind of attitude, I become like the freaking Homecoming Queen. Amy, you know what I'm talking about. I trilled my thanks to her and passed them to S. Then I knelt down to the girl's little daughters who were standing there by the picnic table and said, "Do you guys want some watermelon? And did you see these cookies?" I was the soul of warm, inclusive festivity. Their mother said, "They saw them."


So okay, I KNOW that I should have just let the whole ball thing go, and I have on other occasions. New players sometimes don't have the whole ball trading token ritual thing figured out and so what. A can of balls costs three dollars. Not a huge prize. But rules are rules, and the main thing is I sensed that those girls just DIDN'T WANT TO HAND OVER THE BALLS.


(At this point I am like balls balls balls, how many times can I say balls?!?)

So Reader, I know I did not exhibit top drawer behavior. I felt equal parts grubby and vindicated after the whole scene. And as we sat on the bleachers, eating our chicken salad croissants and watching the matches that were still going on, our captain came over and said she'd just caught the tail end of a convo at the picnic table in which one of my opponents was saying, indignantly, "Well it's a shame because it's supposed to be about having fun." And I wanted to turn around and yell, "I'M HAVING FUN." But she was probably talking about something else.

I came home and told Matt about it and several minutes later, I said, "But was I wrong to ask for the balls? I wanted S to have them back!" And he was like, "Rules are rules. Are we still talking about this? What?"

I know that you would like it if I would take my tennis balls and jog slowly away toward the horizon right now so you can stop hearing about this world. The good news is, today was our last regular season match. The bad news for you is, we made the playoffs!

Oh yeah baby, coveted bag tag here I come!

Seacrest out.


Anonymous said...

Some people just get cranky when you beat the shit out of them.

Becky said...

True! True, they do. But honestly, they could not have expected any other result, sucking as bad as they did.

Heidi said...

I love your tennis stories because they are more about the sociological aspects of the game and I'm completely unfamiliar with the culture. Plus I just love trying to figure out where the "Bless their hearts" should be inserted. ;-)

Amy said...

You did the right thing!! I hate when grown up women act like petulant toddlers. Bish, plz.

I'm all riled on your behalf!! You know me and my righteous indignation, I'd have done the same thing. JUSTICE SERVED.

Elizabeth said...

I'm laughing aloud at you, running into the sunset with your tennis balls, so I thank you. Just about the only tennis balls that I use around here is a can that I bought to throw in the dryer with one of my daughter's down jackets. It works like a charm.

And congrats on the big win.

Camp Papa said...

"Your Honor, she pronated her wrist at me and then I don't remember anything until I became aware that someone was prying a melon scoop from my hand".

Anonymous said...

Omg, I'm with Matt, but you totally could have assailed them in ways more inertly aggressive, and at the moment of wrist-flicking could have (easily) silently taken their children psychological hostages in forcing them to submit to a gay ladies' lunch. You let them off easy, Becky. Sore losers.

Amy said...

My, my. Losers on AND off the court.

I would suggest that sometimes one may allow one's absolutely lovely manners to take a backseat to gentle insistence on proper etiquette.

Nina said...

Oh DEAR! I woke up today thinking about this girl we once had living with us as a lodger, who behaved rather like those tennis losers in everyday life. You know, she'd break the rules, imagining we'd be too nice to say anything (we often were), and then act all hurt and wronged when we called her out. What annoys me most is that I'm still (occasionally) stewing about it several years later!

puncturedbicycle said...

If I could address a tiny fraction of the things that piss me off with a tiny fraction of your grace and a touch of Homecoming Queen extract, oh, how much sunnier my little corner of the world would be. So yeah, don't you lose any sleep over that cheerful exchange. Some people never learned how to play well with others.

Keely said...

OH MY GOD, so many subtexts. This is why I don't do well in civilized company.

Beth said...

I think that is a lesson for life, you know: "one way or another, the loser is out a can of balls."

I personally think you let them off easy, too. I mean, why the face? All you did was ask for the proper etiquette. There is nothing wrong with that. They were clearly just punishing you for winning.

What was their demeanor while you were kicking their asses? Did you anticipate that it was going to be so frosty?

Becky said...

No, I didn't expect them to be frosty! It caught me by surprise. While we were playing, they were a little, I don't know, rueful like you get, but basically fine.

I've heard it said that it's not nice to beat someone 6-0 6-0, but honestly, I don't have enough control over my own game to back off any, you know? So it's like, if I were a better player I might not have beaten them so badly. LOL.

But I also think you do your opponent no favors by taking it easy on them, and if they get wind of you doing it, it's insulting.

I don't know! It seems like some people don't really have much personality and what there is of it is peevish.

Cassi Renee said...

Your dad is just as funny as you and your sister! I guess that's where you guys get it, huh? :-)

AlGalMom said...

I think probably she knew you were getting blog-fatigue and needed something juicy to get you through the final two days of April.

I'm also totally in awe of your people skilz. I would either not have asked for the balls (and stewed over it for a few weeks) or asked for them in such a way that everyone would be uncomfortable and angry in the end probably a la Claire Dunphy.

Also I am kind of amazed that she *had* the, it would have made more sense if they'd forgotten to bring some and that's why they avoided the exchange....but to *have* them the whole time. Sheesh.

I like tennis posts--they are entertaining and interesting. And I'm totally picturing S as Sofia Vergara.

annie said...

(I am scared if I start commenting on your blog I will never stop and become a menace. Always enjoy your musings!) Sometimes righteous indignation is the only answer in the short term. I just wonder if ladies who pronate can even feel shame?

Becky said...

LOL Annie. I think those pronators are dead to shame!

Judy said...

Oh, Lordy, Miss Becks. I am laughing out loud at your whole tennis scene. What I want to know is where was the ALTA Leadership when this was going down? And, more importantly, what are the odds you will ever be on the same team with Miss Sour Puss?? Please tell me you are in different divisions because I would hate to have to sit with your parents in the courtroom while you explain about the melon scoop.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

Holy crap Becky.