King James Again
After being forced out of KOtC3 due to a back injury suffered in a 30 game prep mahut, it was tough to attend the event. Play had already started in the morning rounds when I literally crawled out of my car. I scooted carefully over the where Keck and the young college player, Dayton, were in the middle of a close mahut that would eventually end 6-4 Keck, propelling him to the afternoon king division and sure destruction. Originally, he was looking forward to getting in the duke division. The life of a duke is good. Days and days of leisure and sport, without all the responsibilities of the king or even the prince. The duke's life. No such reality for Keck this tournament. When Mabe roddicked it was evident. Beating a college player and representing in the king division are both tremendous achievements. All the while administering the entire event. Talking with Dayton later, he was impressed with the format, but was still devastated that he was in the prince division. Good competitive instincts. That kerrville college is getting a winner. Dayton's dominated the prince division and vowed to return next time for the king's crown. Coach Quest was proud of his protege.
Got a chance to talk to keck on a changeover and he recapped the sign ins and checkins, and preparations. He had secured Nick Keany as an alternate to take my place. Everyone showed, play was going on everywhere. My back was feeling loose, it was good to get around. All of my internet research reinforced not to baby the back too much, especially at day 2 of the injury. This was the first chance for mobility after 2 days of ice, heat, rubs, tubs, muscle relaxers, and pain decreasers. The day before riding in the car from the docs, every turn was agonizing. My wife has been a calming influence and has encouraged me to reduce the vulgar language. Pain can bring out the worst in people. It doesn't have to, but it does. Only a few can remain stoic in the midst of severe pain. Walked over and checked in with Bobby through the fence. He was playing Russ Fires and eventually battled his way to the prince division. Russ' elbow was holding up fine, but he mentioned his knee going bad. Acts 4:22, we all need some healing. The lower back spasms will pull the spine to the side and the upper back muscles will attempt to compensate, causing further woe. These spasms move around, like joint mice.
Joe was in the middle of a heated match with Frank Friday and was hitting a few winners. His best shots were the ones at frank's feet. He took control by coming in and putting the pressure on. After the morning rounds, Frank confirmed his dead legs and, after dropping his Mahut to Leo 4-6, was visibly shaken to find himself in the earl division. He would go on to win the earl division winning 28 of a possible 30 games. He is a royal again. Leo would go on to win the Duke title and becomes the only 3time royal, holding the prince title in kotc1, winning, the earl title in kotc2, and now this.
Between rounds most of the players were exhausted. Not all. King James ate chopped up fruit with his hands. Seeing my misery, he gave me one of his gatorades. He would go on to win the king division and regain his crown, but it was most impressed with his benevolence. A king for the common man. The content man. The absorber of life, the finder of something else. His tennis skill and execution destroyed keck, defeated kamran Mir, and humiliated even King the Todd, who is king no more. Hail king James. He has regained the throne. The Todd was respectful at the pub and carried himself with class, but he was searching for answers. Maybe he still had questions. About the integrity of his rebuilt shoulder, about the lost court time over the previous 6 months, about his place in the tennis culture. He remains universally respected and known. That will never change. He cannot count on winning his throne back, King James is tough, the field will draw more big name players going forward. He sat on his throne with dignity. He was a great ambassador for tennis, and still is. I could never imagine him a prince, he may never be a royal again. He will likely walk across the country for some good cause. He will hitchhike and roam, spreading the truth about tennis in our country.
The medications don't really help. The back will heal when it heals. Mostly, selfish disappointment remain. The roddick, the betrayal of my body, the wasted prep. It was not meant to be for me. I had to live through others. The 3 games big cat cernosek won for the day, Leo's incredible run, Keck's win over a college player, billy vita stopping in between games of pool, joes co worker dropping by, the mute World Cup, and now we rest.