Ball Talk on the Court

On Saturday, I told a 60 year old man that we needed to “rediscover our magic from last week”.

What can I say, except that I get stressed on the tennis court?

The previous week at social tennis, I was partnered with the Chairman of the Club. It wasn’t the first time I’d played as his partner and I can’t actually remember the outcome of any of the prior games but when we partnered up again, I was somehow certain that I spent most of the match feeling utterly mortified by my performance. This time was no different. We (I) started out badly, trailing 0-2. And then, all of a sudden, we turned things around and won the set 6-3. Yeeha!

So when we got paired up again this past Saturday and were trailing 0-2 once again, it seemed logical to invoke inspiration from the previous weeks’ successful turnaround.

Fortunately, the Chairman is such a gentleman that he merely smiled at my social blunder and I was able to half hide my scarlet face under my cap.

For the next match this past weekend, my partner was a gentleman whom I would say must be well into his seventies. Not a reason to underestimate the man on the court, I soon learned. Some of his shots were so beautiful and so genius, I felt as though I were watching them in slow motion – like perfectly orchestrated chess moves. Thanks to his talent, we were holding our own against our opponents – one of whom was a women in her forties whom I have played against at least four times in the past six months. For some reason, each time we are pitted against one another, she introduces herself as though she has never clapped eyes on me in her life. Grrrr. So beating this woman with the help of my supremely talented seventy-something partner was high on my agenda. I was taking things seriously.

My partner and I were getting along swimmingly, when all of a sudden he asked me whether I was “making love to that ball”.

This was a part of Tennis Etiquette that The Manners Brigade had omitted to fill me in on during their lectures.

Er…I’m sorry…I’m not familiar with that technical term on the tennis court, Gramps…

That’s when he pointed to the ball that I was apparently hogging inside the secret pocket of my tennis skirt. The thing is, I love cute little white tennis skirts but shoving balls “up your broeks” (as Ethel puts it) is neither as easy, nor as elegant, as one might wish. As a result, I tend to leave the third and spare ball in its secret pocket up my skirt, until its really, really needed in the game. I tried to explain this to Gramps.

“I prefer to collect the other two balls,” I say, “because it’s hard to get this one in and out.”

Such eloquence, Natalie!

He smiles, before explaining that my method of making love to the balls “in my broeks” means that one ball is much warmer than the others. Apparently, the balls need to be rotated.

Seriously, that’s what he explained.

I still haven’t worked out whether it’s better to serve with warm or cold balls, but at that point I decided it would be better not to ask. Maybe I’ll check in with The Manners Brigade this Saturday and see what they have to say on the matter.

Or I’ll wear a pair of good old, reliable shorts with pockets on the outside allowing for quick and easy ball access… Hmmm. Might be the best solution.