LAST WEEK’S RECAP | July 2 – 8, 2012

Regulars returned for the Friday party this week after missing last week for a wedding in Toronto. The fitting topic of conversation was of course about weddings and marriages. And there were 4 weddings in the last 12 months. Of those, 3 Friday regulars (from Clifton, Lyndhurst and Parsippany) married women from Canada. Their mutual tennis friend, a Saturday regular from Utica, NY married last month someone locally from America. He only had 425 guests at his wedding, while the one from Clifton had 800 at his wedding in July 2011.

A regular from Palisades Park has his 2-year anniversary next month and another from Pal Park is 5 years. A regular from NY re-affirmed his 10-year marriage last year, getting re-married by Elvis in Las Vegas. He’s the first person I know that got married in Vegas.

One told of his wedding at Rosecliff Mansion, one of a number of historical mansions in Rhode Island. He thought it would be a nice place for a wedding, although he really liked the Breakers (no weddings allowed there). He also thought it would be romantic to woo his date (now wife) by flying her out to Miami for a weekend, calling up concierge beforehand to set up a special dinner table for 2 right on the beach, with a special bottle of beverage. He probably got a spouses/boyfriends in trouble for giving their female partners nice ideas. During their courtship he got her a variety of baked goods, one of each kind because it’s what she likes, and a bouquet of flowers. Chivalry has not died! He’s originally from Seattle, just like the movie “Sleepless in Seattle,” written by the late Nora Ephron. Oh how I love happy stories. So many weddings, so many stories, …. so wonderful.

A player from West Orange dropped by just to see if there were players. Not only were there players – there were so many in his age group from mid 20’s to mid 30’s and avid players in his caliber of play. They outnumber the 40+ year-olds.

A regular from Weehawken said an informal goodnight in his native tongue – “Oyasuminasai.” Everyone tried repeating it in various pronunciations based on what they heard. Finally the regular from Butler, an American of Russian roots said “Marinara.” Everyone burst into laughter and departed on a fun note. It’s a wonderful group of very mixed ages and origins.

A player from Hawthorne asked for one hour of hard-hitting and she got it. We kidded with her saying “Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.”

Regulars love their Saturday nights so they can do what they like so much – play tennis with old and new friends!

A player from last Sunday party said it would be nice to have a cold beverage and the regular from Palisades Park brought a cooler full of cold beverages for everyone this week. How very thoughtful, thanks!

A regular from Jersey City met my 19-year-old niece last Sunday when I was away at the Toronto wedding. He said talking to her was like talking to his 20-year-old daughter. They two girls are so similar in their mannerisms and personalities. So he and I got the 2 girls to meet (and the fathers to meet). I’m so glad they hit it off and will keep in touch at Rutgers during the school year. His daughter can also mentor my niece since she’s a senior this fall. His daughter is a summer intern at Reuters doing real work (creating statistical reports using statistical programs) and getting real pay! Her contribution is so needed that her boss asks her to work an extra hour each day, doing 9-5 instead of 9-6. What a wonderful overall learning experience!

A Friday regular from Butler stopped by with his wife to enjoy the Sunday afternoon. They used to come to Packanack a lot a few years ago before they married last year. Married life is a different kind of nice busy. It was nice to see them even though briefly.

Two regulars from Yonkers got off their cruise boat on Sunday and decided to play at the party that day. Similarly, they got off the plane about 6pm on a Saturday night and drove straight to the Binghamton for the 8pm start time. They don’t seem to want the fun to stop.

What a nice surprise to see a regular from Wanaque, who was supposed to be away for a week or so starting this Tuesday. He stopped by just to say hello but ended up staying. I can see how he feels so at home as he wandered around in his socks (he and “Hippie Kris” like to be shoeless) up and down the deck and even on the tiny gravel between the deck and the courts. At the end of the night he lounged back in the red chair looking totally relaxed and exhausted in a way that one is completely satisfied from a great workout, sipping on a cold beverage provided by another player who often brings cold beverages of their own, Hippie Kris.

For those of you who don’t know – Hippie Kris is a Tennis Buffs icon. When I met him in 1998, he was already an accomplished player and I was just a singles player who thought that tennis was about hitting every ball as hard as one can. The first time I met him, I went down on Court 4 at the Binghamton. He entered the court and said – “Are you supposed to be here?” I said “Yes, are you?” (I had been going the parties long before that, probably around 1992.) The following week I went down on Court 4 at the Binghamton. He entered and said “Are you supposed to be here?” Again I said “Yes, are you?” The third week he said “It’s you again? Come over on my side and let me show you how it’s done.” From that day on he took me under his wings, teaching me not to hang back by the baseline trying to wail every ball, teaching me run up to the net after service returns, being in the ready position, where to volley the ball, etc. Then I met another doubles expert, Dwight also taught me to volley better. Plus, one more tennis icon from Croton-on-Hudson who knows tennis really well, having played since the age of 6. Thanks to them, I now understand the doubles game much more than I did 15-20 years ago. Hippie Kris may be one of the oldest members of the group but is still an excellent and effective player, beating many that are much younger, including me, not that I’m young.

It was a great Sunday.

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