LAST WEEK’S RECAP | December 23 – 29, 2013

Once in a while there’s a perfect mixed-doubles match on a weeknight. The teams were evenly matched and everyone had a nice time. These players from Fort Lee, Mahwah and Weehawken exchanged tough but friendly points and laughs on the court.

A player from Westwood — whom I’ve coined several names in the newsletters over the years as “YYY” and blue-eyed and blond Thai lady (born to Danish father and British mom) in Thailand, carrying Thai/British passports, speaking 5 European languages, no Thai — has entertained me at the parties and in e-mail correspondence. She RSVP’d for last Friday and said she was still laughing from Dwight’s six-pack, which I mentioned in last Friday’s recap section. She might be nicely surprised, Dwight’s working on it. You’ll see…

A newcomer from Wayne hasn’t played in about 10 years, took a lesson a week ago and decided to try us out tonight. I’m glad she did. I coaxed her into coming back, as I have plans for her to get back into form. She said had fun and will be back!

A player from Union City had a car rental this weekend and decided last minute to play tonight instead of his regular Saturday night. I hope he rents a car again next weekend. It was a nice change of pace to have him here tonight!

I was so happy to see the 2nd daughter of the player from Jersey City. I congratulated her on her college graduation this summer. She’s working as an analyst intern, a grueling period before one becomes full-fledged. Kudos! I’ve told the father in the past that I too would be successful if I had parents like hers. Her co-workers heard that she plays tennis and want to get together for a game. I’m glad the invite inspired her to dust off her racquet and get back into the swing of things before they do meet.

A shout-out to a young NYC couple from two Saturdays ago. Wanting to test out their dessert-making skills before their private holiday party, they brought an entire kitchen ensemble consisting of blenders and food supplies to the party. The dessert involved ice cream, shaved ice milk, red beans and some other fine ingredients. Not only was the dish a success, but their cohesiveness in the kitchen was quite impressive. (Dwight wouldn’t even let me step foot in his kitchen.) Hard to believe, this is one of few couples I know, who don’t ever fight, a match made in heaven! For anonymity, I can only say that this couple are at the top of their professions, indicating their intelligence. Yet they are modest and congenial, such admirable traits.

Like the Union City player above, an NYC couple rented a (ZIP) car and joined us. How convenient!

Two friends from Florida and Cliffside Park accidentally found out about the group tonight and decided to attend. They didn’t realize that there was going to be a lot of tennis. When they wanted to leave after only 2 hours, I talked them into staying for another hour. After that I talked one into staying one more hour to complete a foursome. The Cliffside Park player sat out to wait for his friend. I introduced him to other players who were relaxing at the dinner table after their match. We found out that an interesting tid bit – he’s a transplant from Alaska, our first! We had such great conversations, it was fantastic! Had he not stayed and sat out, we would have never known. That’s the beauty of the “hour off.” I’m looking forward to hearing more about the land far away….

A player from Demarest brought his now-11-year-old son along tonight. He’s grown a few inches this summer and it shows in his play. To safeguard him I decided to team him up with another player who has a 10-year-old at home. Originally from Peru, this player lived in Hoboken for years before moving to Costa Rica and now England. But whenever he visits friends and family this time of year every 3-4 years, he always looks us up. He tells me that he still reads the newsletters to keep informed of the group. I wonder if he recognizes his friends based on my descriptions of where they’re from and what they do. I’m glad he’s still on the distribution list, another reminder of my tennis past and the good ol’ days.

A player originally from Middletown, NY, way up there near Goshen, came to the parties maybe 4-5 times a year whenever she visited friends and family in NYC. A writer, she moved to Amsterdam a few years ago. Every couple of years she would come around this time of year and would stop in for a game. So when she called me on Saturday, I immediately recognized her name. I was so happy, like the player from Peru/Costa Rica/England above, that she keeps my phone number! She tells me that she’s impressed with my website and the schedule of tennis – how I’ve expanded. Well, I have a great website designer/developer, whom I haven’t met, whom I was introduced to by another player in the group. I give him all the credit! Even posting of the recaps, he does a professional job. I’m glad holidays bring players back to the parties and look forward to seeing her and the Peru player 2-3 years from now.

I am happy to see a player from Fort Lee, so improved from 3 years ago. He said that one day, something just clicked and he started playing better and enjoying tennis much more so. A martial artist, he’s quick and fearless at the net, not even afraid of a lefty hard-hitter. I shouldn’t recount this story but Dwight gets hit once by this lefty every time they play but that’s only because Dwight travels into the path of his ball, poaching at net. Dwight, the dropshot maker ahh… sigh….

A player from West New York was introduced to the group by a friend a year ago. While the friend hasn’t come often, he’s become quite a regular, as he finds that he can reserve any day of the week and find player of his level. That’s our trademark – there are players of all levels for most of the nights. In the last 2-3 months, he’s met and played almost all players of his level in the group, except the ones that strictly play during week, while he strictly weekends due to work and family obligations.

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