Crashing to the court Keck must have been furious. Coach Vita and I had insisted on the 6:45 daybreak start, before the sun evaporated the mist, before the courts were dry, when the surface was at it's most slick. Our tune up Saturday round robin was planned days before. 15 game mahuts to make up 45 total, just 15 games shy of what will be played in the upcoming King Of The Court tournament. The 7th KOtC. The Lion Earl Joe Vita was there too, in highlighter orange Adidas apparel. Lenny Kravitz was the tunes. Memories of his afroed, coed band at the Bronco Bowl came back in nostalgic waves as we listened to his riffs. Cab Driver, Rosemary, Let Love Rule. The reminder is always needed. Love is the only way. Life, as in tennis, must be loved to to be played to its potenial. Lenny can jam. His opening act that night did not belong there. Sean Lennon has Yoko's voice.
We were early in our mahut when Keck hit a backhand return. While scurrying back to the middle of the court, I hit a balls deep inside out forehand back to his backhand. I'm sure he regrets even going for it, but his instincts were too ingrained. Down at the time to an inferior player, he attempted to misdirect his momentum and the slippery court did it's thing. His feet slid out from under him, his whole body suspended in the air, and he came crashing to the surface, loud and quick. Thankfully, to prevent gruesome facial injuries, he was of enough mind to react as his hands and arms quickly broke the fall. Immediately he got up, dusted off, checked for any blood and began nursing the right wrist. He had the look of someone who knew, someone that felt something different, perhaps even someone that heard the unnatural pop. Everyone is their own best Doctor, especially with the internet. The inside out forehand had landed perfectly in the corner, accelerated by topspin and biting down severely. I was happy to get the point, and even now I remember the crispness of the contact, the decision to misdirect made early, allowing for a full setup and attention to technique. It was a good strategy considering the conditions, just wish Keck would have given up on that one, let it ring the fence, let the point be won by another. Give up a winner. His hatred of losing, even a point, is well known. Since the injury I'm certain he's wondered 'what if' we had a more reasonable 8 o'clock start. The 'what ifs', tourtureing his mental well being. Duke Keck will heal, slower now that he's older, but he will be ready for King Of The Court 7.
We finished the mahuts we could with the remaining healthy players, concluding in a 2 round modified california doubles format. Joe the Lion Earl won despite Coach Vita's attempted calculation confusion and scoring lapses. We all had our Zverev moments, those moments when a big point is on your racquet for an easy volly putaway and it ends up hitting the middle of the net and dribbling to your feet. We went for winners, we hit drop shots. Slams, double faults, aces, unforced errors, nubs, effs, down the line screamers, ridiculous angles, and Zverevs. Liked that highlighter orange look, like a construction zone, or a life jacket. Just what my game needs.