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Continuing to Strive
By Alisa M. Yee
To my right are rolling green hills, to my left are plantations of grape-bearing vines. The road is paved but not without potholes. Around the corner are the two Cat II tournaments, the Pacific Coast Seniors and Marin Senior Championships. The Pacific Coast Seniors will be held at the historic Berkeley Tennis Club (BTC) where its membership included tennis legends Don Budge, Helen Wills Moody and living legend Don Jacobus. What I see in my rear view mirror and in front of me are focused drills and purposeful practice matches. To steal a quote from the great Billie Jean King, who also frequently practiced at BTC, “keep learning and keep learning how to learn.”
I’ve played in both these tournaments ever since I was eligible, at age 30, and now it is my last year in the 40s. Over that decade, I would like to say there has been growth in the draws for the 30, 35, 40 age groups, but that’s just not the case. And it’s not for lack of trying on the part of the clubs that host these Cat II tournaments. Says Jenny Sperry, Tennis Director for Mill Valley Tennis Club, “The younger age groups often have more significant scheduling conflicts because of work, young children, etc. So the Directors take special care to respect their time; these age groups play on the weekend and sometimes on Friday evenings.”
Despite the small draws and familiar opponents, I have yet to drive home with a winner’s check in my back pocket. But no matter; the outcome is out of my control. Competing is a process I can control. I can control the steering wheel of the vehicle that takes me to my next tennis lesson.
Book Review: "Snow Sanctuary" By Lee Hall Delfausse
Review by Lois Harris
Many of the members of the NSWTA of a certain age know Lee Hall Delfausse (photo left) as a fine tennis player and coach. Fewer probably know of her outstanding skiing career as a U.S. World Cup ski racer. Even fewer would know that Lee is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of U.C. Berkeley and spent a long career teaching American literature in college and secondary school. Now she has added to her impressive accomplishments by authoring a book on the challenges facing a young woman in the world of competitive ski racing. These challenges are set in the backdrop of the early 1970s, a time that added further complications to the rites of passage of a world class female athlete.
Lee's book, "Snow Sanctuary" is about Lia, a talented skier from New England, who gets an opportunity to train with and compete against some of the best skiers in the U.S. and the world. In her travels to the West Coast and various places in Europe, she meets new friends and competitors while working with some of the best and worst coaches in the country. Her dream, or so she thinks, is to make the Olympic Team. Her journey is eventful, to say the least. The journey is one in which a relatively sheltered girl grows up quickly when faced with the realities of this specific world. Some of these realities are particularly relevant to today’s world. These are the challenges facing young girls at their most vulnerable age when thrust into the adult world at sometimes its most venal.
Tennis Conscience – Do You Have One?
By Colleen Clery Ferrell
Imagine playing in a very tightly contested match. After a long rally, the shot you hit is close, yet clearly on part of the line. Your opponent puts up one finger signaling the ball is out. You stop in your tracks and stare in disbelief. Then the same scenario happens again. This time there is no question, the ball is clearly in, yet the opponent’s signal is once again out. A glance into the crowd on center court agrees that both balls were in. What’s the tournament player supposed to do? Question the opponent who thinks they made a fair call? Immediately call for an umpire? “Hook” the player on the very next close call to get even? Get upset and wonder how someone can play on after making two bad calls in a row? So you give them the benefit of the doubt and play on. They beat you in score and mental strength. What is the best option for the recreational player without an umpire or Hawk-Eye video review to help with the call?