February 12, 2008

Sliming in

Some pain as I type these words. Part is physical: my shoulder hurts, my knees are stiff. Yet that part is welcome -- it's the luxuriant aftermath of a hard session of tennis last evening. Most of the pain is really mental: a smoldering rage at some of those who, like me, play tennis at the nearby club. Much the same feeling that prompted this, a few years ago.

Here's yesterday's dust-up, in brief.

Kids' coaching means that only one court is available for use by members like me in the evenings, these days. This evening, two guys are playing a set when I arrive. I wait some 20 minutes for them. Just as they finish, a guy I know well, and have played with before, also turns up, with an obvious foreigner. My eyes light up, because I don't have a partner, and I was going to practice serves by myself. Here's a chance to actually hit some balls back and forth.

"Want to play?" I ask my friend, thinking we can hit 2-on-1. As I've done many times here.

He replies in lowered tones: "Actually this is my guest and I don't know how he plays, so I'll just hit with him for a while to check him out, and then you join in, OK?" It's a slightly odd request, but I don't think much of it.

Until ... Five minutes of them playing, just when I'm thinking I can join in, they start a set. I can hardly believe my eyes. I say to my friend, "You're playing a set? What happened to the three of us hitting together?" He dismisses me: "You should have brought a partner. We came to play a set, not just hit the ball. Don't be unreasonable, it's silly to play 2-on-1, after all this is a guest from abroad!"

He repeats: "From abroad!"

I'm so angry I'm actually shaking. This guy slimed past me on to the court, and he now gives me this BS!

After the few minutes it takes to calm down, I tell him: "I'm taking half the court to practice my serves. You can play on the other half." Which is what I do. Within a couple of minutes, one of the kids from the coaching class runs over to rally with me.

The peculiar culture of the tennis brat. Not all of whom are kids.


Sidhusaaheb said...

Deference to things and people that are foreign refuses to go away, so deeply ingrained it is...

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Is he still a "friend", then?

Anuradha said...

Hey loved this post. I have faced this kind of response from a bunch of folks(indians as well!!) on the tennis courts :)

Rohan said...

Slightly disagree with you. 'Course the phoren part is nonsense.

But when when I go onto a court, I don't like hitting balls aimlessly either. I'd rather play a set, esp if I go with my bro.


Ajeya said...

what a bummer