Positives are hard to find with a tie. A 10-10 Saturday morning mahut result against Joe Vita was no different. Up 8-5 after 13 games, he roared back to take 5 of the final 7 games, including the final two, and we walked off 10-10. Tied 29-29 going in, we finish the day 39-39, on our way to 70. The Isner Scoring Method produces long term competetive tennis conditions. There are numerous battles in the eventually war. The next 3 or 4 mahuts with The Lion Duke will be interesting. Our previous, and first, Isner match went to Joe, 59-70, and, of course, I've never beaten him in a match using vintage scoring either. The stakes are high. This is relevant tennis. Some positive developments, beyond the tied score, included the introduction of an elbow wrap. Damn tennis elbow had afflicted me for the first time and the wrap helped tremendously. Minimal progress on the development of a two handed backhand, but it still has never been used in official play. Turning over the one hander is tough, I'm just slicing them back. Still, I had Joe down. My forehands were smooth and crisp, my serve kept him off balance. Until game 19, when I faulted 4 straight times to begin the game finding myself at love-30. I battled back a bit, but blew up a backhand and fell victim to a huge winner from Joe to lose that game. From there, he served it out to earn the tie. Damn! Even as I write, a day later, it infuriates. Had some really nice volleys and my back and feet seem like they are 10 years younger. KOtC5 is only two months away and after seeing the tentative field, clearly my realistic focus has to be on the Earl. The line up is strong.
There are current and former Kings, King The Todd and former King James, the only winners of the event, each winning the crown twice. Other royals look to be returning as well--Frank Friday, The Lion Duke Joe Vita, current Prince Victor Coronado, and current Earl Vito Nguyen. Current Duke and Tournament Administrator Keck, is playing despit mending torn ligaments in his left middle finger. After some internet diagnosis and research, he purchased a splint and is taking a few weeks away from the game. He will be ready. Also, returning from a full year of college tennis, former Prince Dayton Hancock is back with his own royal succession plan. Other former players include Justin Huffman, myself, and the rejuvenated Billy Vita. Rejuvenated but still prone to suspect preparation. He cancelled on Joe and I, which allowed our mahut, to drink with his Irish brother in laws. Reports of an altercation at an Oklahoma border casino are still being investigated, but he should be available for KOtC. His Kung Fu work has him looking good, but he shouldn't neglect the court time, Irish brother in laws or not. The likely entries of newcomers Jeremy Stone, Erick Delafuente, Eli Yaremenko, the 6'8" a South African Jonathan Wraith, Nick Pena, and Chris Fess make this the finest collection of players ever for King Of the Court. The work of the Tournament Administrator and the support of Allen civic leader Justin Quest continues to enhance the event and propel tennis culture forward. July 11 could be hot. The soles of our shoes could be melting. Jugs of water will be arranged. New royals, or perhaps old. After tournament activities set to go at Jorgs Cafe Vienna in downtown Plano. Vito has what I want. To be the common royal. The Earl. It can be won, but will be battled for. There are no ties in KOtC.
After our tied mahut, when we were at our cars and about to continue our busy days, Joe presented me with a bottle of red wine. A Texas red wine called Paul O. 2011 limited edition, only 2688 bottles produced. A real cork and good year. Joe, a trained and experienced wine expert who detest most texas wines, was very enthusiastic about this one. Suggested getting a good pizza or some rich fish dish to go with it. The thoughtfulness of a Duke. In return, I sent Joe a tune from Men From Nantucket, my current musical collaboration, called Bull. A modern GenX anthem. Because tennis ain't no bullshit. KOtC ain't no bullshit. Isner Scoring Method ain't no bullshit. Torn ligaments ain't no bullshit, This Paul O wine ain't no bullshit. The Earl ain't no bullshit. And tennis elbow ain't no bullshit either.