If you are one of the hawkeyes who noticed that the courts-to-go countdown skipped from 450 to 183: good eye!
I’ve been using this great list from TennisLosAngeles.com which states that there are 512 tennis courts in Los Angeles. Back in August when I started the quest, I was like — 512, that’s Cy Young career wins; it’s a sign; let’s do it.
It turns out Cy Young actually had 511 career wins. Close enough! Meanwhile, as I’ve gotten into the swing of this quest to play on every public tennis court in LA, I have realized that I’m not keen to play on high school courts. Nope. Let’s keep strangers off school campuses. Yup!
So it turns out that there are quite a few high school courts as well as private clubs baked into that 512. The real number for our purposes is a very do-able 247. Easy to remember: 24-7. All day every day!
We’ve already knocked out 64, between the courts I played pre-quest and the 48 I’ve visited since the quest officially began. At this rate, it’ll take, hmm, line up the single digits, carry the tens, percentages are involved, also algebra. Daunting! But I’m not panicking. Am I panicking? I might be slightly panicking, but I am in panic-override which is what lets me state with some assurance that I can look forward to finishing this quest sometime in Spring, 2024.
Emmmmmmmmmminently do-able, God give me the continued strength for which I am grateful to have come this far.
And speaking of coming this far, let’s close out Centro de Gozo ’22 with a list of things I’ve learned about taking public transit or riding my bike to all these courts.
- It is challenging to express the bus-riding experience in writing. Yes, you can write, “It’s very rumble-y.” You can write about engine roar and window rattle and transmission wheeze and brake grind. You can add in outside traffic whoosh as well as the cumulative babble of everyone’s YouTubes. Still, the all-at-onceness is not an experience that readily fits into a sentence. It is more like a permeation, a full-body immersion, in stops and starts.
- It is challenging to take pictures out of the bus windows. Simpler reason here. Water stains. You really have to resign yourself to knowing that the city endlessly unfurling sublimely in your mind’s eye is going to look grimy in your phone videos. They gotta wash these buses and all that washing is gonna leave water-stained windows. What you can do is take pictures where the bus interior overlaps with the cityscape to make you feel like a meta-verse artiste surfing the line between dimensions. I feel that way all the time!
3. Dawn looks beautiful from the bus. Especially when those rosy fingers of dawn caress the palm trees over by Crenshaw. The hopefulness of dawn is accented on the bus when you’re with all these hardworking people getting up before early to get to their jobs or in my case a tennis court. Even when you’re looking out at the heartbreaking sag and crumple of LA’s encampments, witnessing dawn from the bus invites you to hope and believe, Today’s the Day.
4. Your phone is your ticket. The TAP app works great. Just remember to hold your phone a couple inches above the TAP pad. I was smushing it right up on the pad at the start and that did not work great. Give a little room and it’s smooth sailing. Occasionally it’s still glitchy, in which case the bus driver typically waves you on. Then you’re riding for free, a VIP with a huge vehicle, chauffeur, and entourage.
5. Bike-wise, panniers are the way. My days of carrying 30 pounds of tennis racquet plus what-else-is-in-there-making-this-so-heavy are over. I don’t mind doing some weigh-lifting a couple of times a week, but not while I’m also riding my bike. I am especially fond of my panniers because their yellow super-brightness shields me from harm.
6. The mountains are real. This is obvious to anyone who lives in Valencia or Sunland or Monterrey Park; but from my two-mile radius of Culver City Hall where I’ve lived my whole life in LA, the mountains look like a rounding error. It is easy to dismiss them as smog. That is of course a huge mistake, which I realize now from venturing out to play tennis in those places that are far from where I live but exactly where lots of other people live. I’m glad to realize this, because if I can be so wrong about mountains, then there must be plenty of other things in my daily perspective about which I’m also completely wrong. It’s good for open-mindedness to be humbled in this way.
7. People often call out “thank you” to the bus driver when they exit. And that speaks well for us.