LAST WEEK’S RECAP | June 3 – 9, 2013

I’d like to share something I learned about tennis and life through my years of tennis and from people I’ve met along the way, particularly one player from Boonton who has played sports his whole life and is one of the top 5 players of the group. When I first met him in 2008 or 9, about 26 years old at the time, didn’t seem to care that there were other good players in the group. He just didn’t return for another year or so. (He played with anyone who asked him at the park, including people who were older in their 70’s.) Once he did return and met a regular, previously from Parsippany and now from Nyack, whom he had a lot in common with and so he started coming more often and eventually becoming a staple at the Friday night parties. Soon after, another player from Edgewater discovered these two players. He clicked with them and he too joined. Soon after, another player from Lyndhurst discovered the trio. Same story, he also joined. Within a short time, they became such good friends that they attended each other’s weddings. Within 2-3 years, they (and other similar pockets of friends at the Friday parties) have drawn many players to the Friday parties.

What I learned from the Boonton player is that while tennis important, the friendships he made were more so. Having been in sports for so long, having hit so many balls, won so many matches and played so many competitive players that he’s just as happy playing anyone, from beginners to ex-college. He no longer has the need for competitive play. In fact he has requested for mixed doubles and no top level doubles; it’s contrary to what one’d expect from a former college player. He has helped me in many ways, from showing me how to match up different levels of players to broadening my mind about people and expectations. Of course, I take into consideration people’s tolerance level and what they wish to get out of tennis parties.

There are others similar to him who come for the social aspects of tennis parties. But he’s my best example because he’s the dichotomy of highest vs. lowest levels, most vs. least competitive of play. I hope I am successful in sharing my experience.

Oddly 50% of the players this week come from NY. I’m glad they’re contributing to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey fund.

Finally there were many women this week, about a 1/4 of the men. The ladies really made it much lighter and spunkier! Despite the torrential rain, 99.999..% of the players made it tonight. It seems people have more fun when it rains.

A couple of players from Morristown missed the Friday party and made an appearance at the Saturday party. I think they said it was a 45-minute drive. At the end of the night they said they had a long drive back but they did have a nice time. I’m glad they checked out the Saturday party so they can compare it to the Fridays.

A bunch of Friday night friends repeated tennis on Saturday night. It’s not unusual for them to spend over 10 hours together in 1 weekend at the parties. A couple of years ago they spent Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays together. So 2 days is an attrition.

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon for a tennis party. Many people had the same idea and came from all over, Westchester, NYC, Astoria, South Jersey and locally North Jersey, just a nice mix of people. For some it was their first time back this season and others it was first ever. One player thought he could go down the shore but Sunday with tennis friends won. Two players from Edgewater or Cliffside Park just realized they were neighbors and exchanged numbers, now they’re friends. A new father decided he needed a break from diapers for a couple of hours, after being away for 2 months! Having gotten his tennis fix, he should be good for another 2 months. Congratulations to a player from Palisades Park! His baby boy was born a couple of days ago and that completes the group of men in the group having babies around the same time.

Newcomers to the clay courts were happily surprised to see how nice it is to be at Packanack Lake. The tennis, BBQ, the ambiance and happy tennis players are conducive for a great Sunday before starting the work week.

It was so relaxing to sit down next to a couple of players who just met. You just know they’re not from around here, they’re so laid back. One is from Peoria, the other Waukegan, IL. I hope I have that right. The player from from Peoria said her grandfather moved from NJ to where his job was in Peoria. She herself was born in Paterson but has spent time in IL. What are the odds of 2 people who have roots in IL meeting each other here!

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