Thursday, August 11, 2011
Marriage 301, Lecture 658: Love love
Why is it less humiliating to be beaten by our tennis teacher's two sons, who are nine and 13, than by the older folks at the tennis club we joined?
Note that this club is not some fancy, expensive sports club but consists of a bunch of people who get together on Friday nights to play mixed doubles at the city courts. Sometimes, people bring snacks. And beer. Because this is Wisconsin. And there must be beer.
There were snacks a few weeks ago and I was proud to note that although SH and I won only two games out of 26, my Memphis Junior League onion dip was gone way before the other snacks were.
I know it's easier to bring store-bought snacks to an event, but they are almost never as good as homemade. I win the snacks.
SH and I joined this club because our town cancelled the social mixed doubles and the social singles that it had last year.
Because SH and I were the only ones who signed up.
When the recreation department called me to tell me the classes were cancelled, I was astonished. Almost any time SH and I go to the nice courts to play, they are full.
"Have you considered putting up a sign promoting the class at the tennis courts?" I asked. "What about announcing it on facebook?" (Yes, the rec dept is on facebook, which is great, but they do not appear to have figured out how to use it.)
The lady paused. "We could consider doing that next year," she said.
"What about now? How about trying to fill the classes now?"
She wasn't interested. She still had a job, even if the classes were cancelled. So who cares?
SH and I joined the tennis club so we could have more practice time and play against people besides ourselves.
We thought we were becoming decent players. After all, this is the third summer we have taken lessons and we have even learned to put spin on our serves. We hardly ever hit the ball over the fence any more. SH has not hit me with the ball once this year. We're not bad.
And then we played the older people at the tennis club.
We thought we were going to kick their butts because we were the only people not on social security there.
We were very wrong.
We've been twice and have only won four games total.
That's games. Not sets.
We have played nine or ten sets there.
These old folks can be pretty accurate with their hits.
Most people have been really nice and they just want to play, but we played one couple where the man sized us up quickly and decided he didn't want to waste any time playing it out. He stood at the net and returned every shot to whichever spot SH and I were not and could not reach even if we had been fast, which we are not.
He was really good.
And he dripped disdain.
He showed us.
He was a better player. Way better.
Thoroughly demoralizing. Not so much humiliating because it is not (very) humiliating to be beat by someone who is better. But demoralizing when you realize your opponent - in what is supposed to be a fun event - holds you in such low esteem.
Made me want to cut off his social security.
We did figure out that if we could just identify and play only those folks who have arthritis, we might have a better shot at winning. They're too slow to get the ball if we can actually get it where we want it, i.e., away from them.
But even the guy with arthritis beat us. He and his wife are 25 years older than we are and he has arthritis - and they still won.
We are not good at all. We are not as bad as we were when we started, but that does not mean we are good. I don't mind being beat by clearly better players, but it is humiliating to be beat by older people with arthritis.
Last night, our tennis teacher brought his two kids to class. Both kids play tennis. The teacher told SH and me to play his boys. We were hesitant - "They're a lot better than we are," we said.
The teacher laughed. "Just wait for them to start fighting with each other. Then you can beat them."
Nope. Even fighting, those boys beat us. Maybe I am just getting used to losing.