"....The play's the thing."
Oh, the weather outside is... Some people might think that it's too hot, but not us. We play and play. The only thing that saves us, occasionally, is the rain.
I'm saved, but wait, but lo! the courts are open. Gasp. How inna...?
Here's David, apres les deluges, brushing and throwing grit and pleading and working the courts and working the courts. Open. The courts are always open. Way to go, Dave.
Here's Bill, on his vacation, disassembling and re-assembling our antique roller, and rolling. The staff is patching the courts and rolling and brushing and dealing with 10,000,000,000 phone calls. Way to go, team.
And by now, we all know that we've lost part of the team. Tom Wassner died on July 11 after a long illness.
Tom liked to play. He once told me that he loved working at Cambridge Tennis Club because "this is a place people come to play." What could be better, he felt, than working in a playground? Yes, Tom knew how to work, but play was his default mode, the place he felt most at home. Tom played softball, played some tennis; he played the guitar, and wrote playful songs. Behind his long-haired '60s-stoner persona, a role he played to perfection, Tom had a boyish soul in a man's body.
Tom had astonishing recall of the children’s television shows broadcast on local New York City stations in the 1950s. I grew up watching the same programs as he did, but Tom’s memory for them put me to shame. I could mention a show like "The Merry Mailman" (WOR-TV, circa 1950-56), and Tom would immediately sing its entire theme song, flawlessly. Then he’d mention a bit of trivia like the fact that that the host, Ray Heatherton, was the father of sexy dancer/actress Joey Heatherton.
Two years ago, at the Club's Fourth of July party, I brought to the club a small cast-iron cannon that I have owned since I was an eight-year-old boy. Using calcium carbide and water, it could produce some loud reports, and we blasted off a few rounds in honor of the holiday. But, while I was tinkering with the firing mechanism, a tiny spring that held the cannon's flint in place fell through the cracks in the wooden walkway leading to CTC's side door. The spring would be hard to replace and my toy cannon could not fire without it. Tom instantly took charge of a Herculean effort to recover the spring, eventually using a crowbar to temporarily pull up a couple of the boards on the walkway to let us search in the sand below. It was a successful effort. You didn’t have to explain to Tom how much these things meant.
Tom didn't have to be the star. He was as happy to umpire softball games as play them. He gave me a baseball cap he had designed with his team's Black Sox logo, typically combining humorous irreverence with a genuine knowledge of baseball history. One day last summer Tom stood and returned balls for half an hour as I practiced a new way of hitting serves. He was an integral part of the process. It wasn’t just that Tom hit the balls back. It was his attitude of openness, encouragement, and excitement about someone learning something new in sports.
Tom's knowledge of pro sports was vast, especially baseball and football. Born in the Bronx, he grew up helping in his father's hardware store and going to Yankee Stadium. To his credit, he overcame his youthful indoctrination as a Yankee fan to evolve into a true baseball fan. He was rabid, but not about any particular team. Tom was rabid about the Game.
In football it was different: he loved the New England Patriots. Tom and I had many conversations about the Pats—Brady and Belichick and company. Once, on the day after Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest had made a big game-changing tackle, I called him on the phone. "Tom, I have two words for you," I began. "Willie McGinest." Of course, he knew exactly what I meant. That phrase became an in-joke between us, to the extent that I felt real regret this year when McGinest left the Pats for the Cleveland Browns. Tom and I wouldn’t be able to make our joke any more. Alas, too soon, there was another reason why that joke would have to be retired. Yet, in a way, it still helps. Now that Tom’s boyish soul is no longer among us, I remember McGinest and remind myself that "the Waz" is not really gone, he's only moved on to another team.
Long-time and well-liked member, Leo Poverman, died on July 8 after a long battle with illness. We hear that a memorial service is being planned for September. Leo was a real gentleman and a good sport (though he sure hated to lose).
"We lost our friend, Leo Poverman, this July, following his long, gallant battle with cancer. Leo left a host of tennis friends from the Cambridge Tennis Club as well as the Badminton and Tennis Club in Boston. He had been associated with both for may years.
I was one of Leo's doubles partners, and we had some memorable games. Leo was a tough competitor, but scrupulously fair, never making a bad call when the pressure got tough. It was always a pleasure to play with him.
Leo was a "people" person - a joy to be with. His good humor and enthusiasm were infectious, and we all felt better in his presence.
Leo wore very long 16" tennis shoes. They will be very hard to fill. We miss him."
We have a new staff member, filling in during staff vacations.
Some years, it seems like we never get to know any summer members. Not this year:
A Wimbledon experience - probably duplicatable.
We were in London recently for three days, on our way to cooler climes, and we heard about this tennis tournament at a London suburb. Reportedly tickets for the stadia were essentially impossible to score 9 days into the action, but we took advice from informed sources and took the Tube ( what the Brits call the T) to a nearby stop (Southfields) at about 5:30 pm Wednesday afternoon, boarded the shuttle bus to the All England Croquet, Lawn Tennis and Snooker Club, and arrived shortly after 6 pm.
THE ONLY LINE WAS A TWO MINUTE QUEUE TO GO THROUGH SECURITY. Ten pounds each for grounds passes and we were in.
Wimbledon is small, and very green, and very organized. The outer courts are readily visited and you are close to the players, very close indeed. In addition to the touring pros from the ATP and WTA, there are the "masters" (old favorites), and the juniors (under 18 up and comers). All of these folks are really good. Mens Doubles, womens doubles, (oops, Gentlemens' and Ladies' Doubles) mixed doubles, singles. Even so late in the tourney, there were lots of matches to watch.
Given London's latitude, the summer days are long - we didn't leave till 9 and many matches were still going. (No lights at Wimbledon, so it's natural light only - at least this year.) Also, bring an umbrella, a big one. There is an upside to the near certainty of rain - it means that a lot of matches get delayed, so latecomers are rewarded. We are informed that those who choose to be on the spot when play opens find the lines to be very long indeed. (The Brits love a queue, so this may be masochism in action.)
Wimbledon is a great experience, and moreover, it is easy.
|The next round robin is scheduled for Thursday, August 3. The meal will be pizza, the weather sparkling, the company scintillating. Tennis begins at 6:00.|
|The club is planning a hodge-podge tournament. A hodge-podge tournament is a tournament where you signs yourself up and your partner's name is drawn from a Red Sox hat. You could be partnered up with oh-no-not-her, or wow-we're-gonna-win.|
The club book is back from the printer and should be in your hands now. Meanwhile, much of the book's information is now available on the website. (Thanks to Sheila and Ann for getting the info to us in a timely fashion.) Events, Rules, Governors and Committees are all updated, as is the New Members List. When is the next Round Robin?
The website has a long overdue new feature: a Champions Page (recently updated). Check it out.
The website has another new and important feature, the President's Corner. Check it out.
And we've added new info on the membership process. Check out MEMBERSHIP.
We still have the tournament draws (from 2001 to 2004) available on-line (including all of the results), thanks to the Java Kid. We are re-locating the links, however.
"On the court, tennis players exchange not only ground strokes but lots of information. It's a richly interactive sport, both verbally and non-verbally. If players communicate clearly, simply, and consistently, the game will proceed more quickly, and with less fuss and misunderstanding. Here are a few guidelines that can make the game more fun, friendly, and fair for all...."
We've had some requests to run Craig Lambert's piece, sampled above, on Tennis Communication. (We'd better leave this link up on the newspage permanently.)
Some useful links:
And here's a link to the espn site, with pro ranking.
And a club member (let's call him Sol) suggested a link to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. The site is rich.
Website note: The website does have all of the information available in the club book on-line.
'Timelines' is for adepts.
Yearbook link will take you to the last newspage from 2005. From there you can see the whole of the Persistent Archive of last year's news.
Website Note: The time and temperature icon below is a link to a Boston weather site.
Joe DeBassio, Webmaster is frolicking in Truro. In case of a website emergency, please contact the site's father, Bob Doyle.
Website Note II: The honey-comb icon is also a link. It takes the clicker to an archive of all the past news pages so that you can read the news pages for the whole year (2006). The less-than link (<) next to the honeycomb icon will take you to the previous issue of this year's newspage.