Monday, March 25, 2013

I Have Been Taking The High Road Since Dawn

I mean, seriously, before actual dawn I was not excoriating this random dude who was unnecessarily pedantic on my SubMat facebook page, and instead even enjoying it, as it was a human moment for humans. As I told our mutual friend, we all need to be patient with each other in these turbulent times.

Now for the tennis portion (Matt said to only give you the short version! Can you believe that guy!):

It was cold here today with gusty winds, and yet, tonight was the night that my tennis friend T and I had arranged to play a rained-out Sunday makeup match with these girls from another neighborhood. This other neighborhood is first place in our league, and we are second place, so it's an important match. And it was a bear to agree on this day and time.

Sidebar: I told Pretty Neighbor, "I can't even blog about the difficulties of scheduling this match because I JUST BLOGGED ABOUT my frustrations in scheduling the other match and at a certain point, people will be like, 'Becky, perhaps you are the common denominator here!'" It's like I'm the Taylor Swift of rec tennis, maybe I'm the problem. No I'm not.

As soon as our team's five matches were rained out Sunday, each pair of partners began contacting their counterparts to schedule the makeup. Short version: T and I offered them five (5) different days. They wanted the other day, the day we didn't offer. We said, "We have team practice that night." They said, "Tough." Actually that's pretty much how they said it, and if they'd been nicer from the get-go, we might have said, "Okay, we'll skip practice and play Thursday." But they were inflexible and curt.

So, what we said: "The weather is going to be chilly and iffy, but let's play Monday."

What we should have said: "Because we can't agree among ourselves on a time, we will abide by the league rule and play the match at the default time of this Saturday at 1pm." We could have said this knowing that T and I will be in town Easter weekend, and almost nobody else will--our opponents had already said the weekend was out. So we could have shown up, waited while they didn't show, and then taken the match by forfeit. If you wanna be a total stickler about it.

Okay, whatever, short version!

We agreed on tonight at 6. I thought, this is going to be rough conditions, 40 degrees and windy. But it's still tennis. It is not working in a mine. Or cleaning the grease traps at a Checkers. Probably no real cause for bellyaching. I mean, again, it's tennis.

But Reader, oh Reader. If only you coulda seen these bitches.

The minute T and I got out of the car, one of the girls was complaining. "I saw snow flurries." I said that if it snowed on us or got too wet, we would indeed play Thursday night, but that we were here and we might as well play. "This is ridiculous," she said. And then her partner appeared and they were like, so mad. It was obvious they each had monologues prepared about the injustice of being shackled and forced to play tennis by people so difficult as we.

I listened to them as we walked onto the court. They really thought we were going to say, "You know, you're right, let's not play this match that you agreed to play at this time and which conditions do not prohibit." We just reiterated that we had our Thursday team match on Thursday morning and our practice Thursday night, and we didn't think it was too much to ask that they make themselves available some other day. Which got them all revved up again. We had broken past the barriers of politeness in a way and with a swiftness that was surprising to me. They were acting really aggrieved and T was getting into it with them. I just said, "Hey, let's not get off on the wrong foot. Let's go ahead and start. I brought bananas and waters if anyone wants a snack."

Bananas! Yay!

And I was sure that would be the end of it. That once resigned that this match was happening, they would settle into the idea. Oh ho!

They never stopped fuming and griping the entire time. The whole match! I was embarrassed for them, it was so odd. I mean, the normal way of adult behavior is that, having agreed to do something, you set to it with a will, right? Not like a whiny child who wants to be sure her protest is noted at every moment.

I pumped up my partner and we started. They were pretty good and won the first couple of games, and I said to T, "Okay, we're going to have to play hard." She was downcast and murmuring because they were so mad, but I bucked her up with some of the motivational lingo I have picked up in my association with academics and other learned folks. I think my exact words were, "I don't give a shit. Let's beat them."

Short version!

We won the first set 7-5. Close set. I knew then that we had them; they didn't seem like they wanted to hang around and win two more sets to take the match. During the set break, T and one of the girls went to the ladies' room. I sat on the bench with the other girl.

"So Mandy," I inquired pleasantly, "Do you play Thursday tennis?"

"I work," she said.

"Oh, that's right, I think I saw that you're a teacher?"

"Yes," she said.

"Tell me," I continued, "Your kids must go to that new school, Kelly Mill, is that right?"

"Yes," she said.

We were having so much fun! Then I considered my small talk duty to have been discharged and I studied the horizon. The sun was going down, and a duck flew by. The girl looked at her phone. "My daughter is texting me, 'I hope you're not freezing.' Well I am freezing," she shared.

Okay, honey? Now you're just being a baby. I get it, it's winter. You agreed to play tennis in winter. But it's not colder for you than it is for me so please can it with the whining.

So we started up again and I could feel that we were going to beat them even worse that set. And we did, 6-2. They beat themselves, actually. I swear, they were so irritated to be playing that they hit the ball badly. They did shake our hands, unpleasantly. As they did so, I said, "Thank you for playing, I know it wasn't your preference." The girl responded, "Unnnngggghhh."

I told T, "They could have beaten us if they hadn't been in such a snit," and she said, no, we were better than they were, and I was like, I don't think so, but today we were.

And she goes, "We should have told them that we're from Alaska and that we grew up playing in this." Ha!

That was honestly the short version. Sorry.


Edited to add: OMG, in such a situation as this, winning feels better than almost anything. Just so, so good.


Becky said...

Oh and needless to say, they did not HAND OVER THE BALLS.

puncturedbicycle said...

Omg, I thought that guy was ribbing you! He was so pedantic and the wording of his reproach was so specific that I assumed it was a joke. You and your trendy idioms!
What does it say about me that my favourite posts are when you get annoyed with someone? I admire your usual calm, still surface but I also enjoy it when it is briefly disturbed.
And I can't believe they didn't hand over the balls! Who is policing this dicey operation?

Camp Papa said...

"...and a duck flew by". I actually laughed out loud.

delaine said...

Camp Papa really did laugh out loud. Very funny retelling of the match. I hope you don't encounter them again. They might come with exploding balls. Did Matt enjoy hearing the long version?

M said...

There is no one, but no one I tell you, on the face of this earth who explicates the myriad layers of nuance buried within the suburban human condition as astutely as you. Pedants be damned!!!

Becky said...

Thanks, M!

And did Matt enjoy the long version? He kept his eyes open. But I had a greater need to tell him than he had to hear it.

Becky said...

And Dad, I didn't realize that duck had such comic potential. Or maybe I did and that's why I mentioned it. I don't really know why I say the things I say sometimes.

Amy said...

These tennis recaps are the best! Though I must say I'm now scared to ever play rec tennis. Is everyone this cray?

It is fascinating that they just abandoned all pretense of nicety and really WENT THERE, you know? But it's not the first time that's happened to you so I'm wondering if its a common occurrence.

Becky said...

Yeah, that was surprising, exactly, that they just went straight there.

It is not common! Only a small handful of times have I been directly on the scene for any kind of tennis unpleasantness, and it's usually much more fleeting. Tempers flare, you know. I think people who always have poor relations with their opponents might be experiencing some reaping/sowing.

AlGalMom said...

My favorite thing to say when people (ie my children) complain about being cold when living in the South is "Being cold is a privilege." Which it is. In four months they'll probably be paying to cool their houses to the temp you got to play tennis in for free. Enjoy it while it lasts, b/c summer is coming.

Of course, I think I've heard that when you live in warmer climes your blood gets all thin and you can't keep yourself warm anymore. But whatever. That's what performance fabrics are for.

Kate said...

I love it when justice reigns supreme! I think it is safe to say that all my secret desires to play in a tennis league have been annihilated.

Jane said...


I would have read the long version.

Lisa Lilienthal said...

personally I think they were completely jealous of your long pretty locks. I'm sure your ponytail was the problem.

KristerT said...

I love your bad behaviour, tennis edition posts. You are such an awesome suburban ethnographer.

michiganme said...

This is my favorite place to visit. Your writing about these Pleasant Valley Sunday events is an art form---it makes me think that living in the suburbs would be so fun!

Anonymous said...

Wait, I don't understand a guy on a SubMat Facebook page. Will you tell me somewhere else what that means?

Those girls sounded dumb. But if either of their mothers had locked them out of the house every day for an hour in a single-digits cold snap, they would not be such weakling babies, prob. Also, no: plenty of adult people keep on whining. About everything! Never setting! I notice this all the time now bc my 13yo is right there (bc he is 13) and when an adult is having the behavior of a child it lights right up for me and makes me just crazy. It's an occupational hazard! Good match! Félicitations!