Friday, December 20, 2013

Wait! Where Did It Go?

I imagine most (okay, some) of us, at some time (still do) use a shock absorber (vibration dampener) on our racquet strings even though scientific research has indicated that these offer little (okay, no) protection from the vibrations when your tennis racket strikes a ball or anything else (for you out-of-control, angry racquet-destroyers) for that matter.

I have no clue why I still use a shock absorber on my racquet, but I am certain that if I would simply take a new racquet, forget the shock absorber and hit without it for a while, I would never miss it.

Even when I lose one during play, I never notice it (unless it hits me, my partner or opponent) being gone until I take a few strokes. This is not because I suddenly feel a tingle in my forearm or elbow. It's because it now sounds like I'm playing with a Wilson T2000 (circa 1890 something). This is quite an exaggeration as the T2000 sounded more like hitting dry fettuccine (or linguine) with an aluminum trash can lid.

A few months ago while doing some island-hopping on our southeastern coast, not looking for a serious match, just wanting to relax and perhaps hit some with the other-half, we met this group of younger tennis players.

They were staying on the same resort and somehow four us ended up playing a match. All of us were about equal in play, each with his own stuff (as usual), but everyone was in the game and my new partner and I figured each other out by the second half of the first set.

Well, my partner, Josh, had this serious 70's retro hair thing goin' on - kinda Starsky-esh. I see a good bit of this with teens and 20-somethings - history repeats itself. Hey, I had a blast in the 70's and reminisce often, but the hair-styles are not to be revisited.

So, I'm playing ad-court, working my slice (yes, hardcore 70's style). In fact, I just put one back shallow and wide cross-court bringing the opponent off the baseline (he shouldn't have been back there) scurrying to even get his racquet on the ball. He was fast, but barely reached the ball with his backhand. Digging with an almost-completely-parallel-to-court racquet face, I thought he was going send a nice short lob over my partners head (or get dispatched quite easily) as I was further back, but coming in cautiously.

Well, he turned his wrist in further and cleared my partner, but placed the lob crossing just about eight feet above center of my service line. I got over blasting the ball for no apparent reason a long time ago, rather focusing on angle and placement, and already knew I was putting this overhead just behind him because his partner was closing to center.

Problem: I had to get my racket head over the ball and quickly or I would be making contact too far behind me. I increased the velocity of my swing and lost a little accuracy, but not enough to endanger anyone. Or so I thought. During my blistering follow-through my partner jerked his head right and grabbed the left side of his head.

I immediately leaned over to him while seeing my put-away shot hit the back fence. "Are you okay man? There's no way I hit you."

Our opponents looked confused, but I was still concerned. "No. I'm alright. I could have sworn you glazed my head." "Nah. We got the point." We all laughed a little.

We never played a match - we switched partners a few times, playing several sets, all close. This was some of the best pick-up tennis I had played in a while.

Afterwards, we all headed to the pool bar to meet my other and their halves who all seemed to know one another by now. All of us had either jumped in the pool or used the pool shower (okay, both) and were just drip-drying. 

After a few beers and food had arrived (most of us dry by now), Josh does this rapid hand motion thing through his thick Starsky hair-do to dry it and all of a sudden, my lost shock absorber comes flying out of his mop and bounces across the table.

We all busted out and the best part was; Josh's girlfriend spewed her drink all over him in laughter. The girls may have gotten a little ahead of us on the drinking thing.

I could have played only one game with these guys and this would have made it worthwhile - fun bunch of people. We hung out for a few hours and then went our own ways.

I only hope his friends continually rag him about that "do" of his.

YTEX Strings

YTEX Strings