#88-93 Orange Grove, South Pasadena +

It seems to me sometimes like not much is happening de la quest but the facts do not bear this out. In the last two weeks I have played not only at Orange Grove Park in South Pas but also Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills, plus two courts in the South Bay — Live Oak in Manhattan Beach & Hermosa Beach Tennis Courts — and wait there are more, a whole big bang of courts in Long Beach: Billie Jean King and Los Cerritos.

So why the discrepancy between what is manifestly progress and the slightly, oh, I don’t even know what you would call it.


Let’s blame the drizzly weather. Can we? I usually don’t blame anything for anything. But let’s just break the rules and say, the reason why I feel like the quest is sort of eh is all these cloudy low-60 degree days.

OK well now I feel better. Indeed I am psyched that my pal Mike the Hat has joined the quest as my go-to Pasadena partner. We have played at Garfield and Orange Grove Parks and are playing at Brookside tomorrow, he already confirmed, how do you like that? Dependable! When we were hitting at Orange Grove I told him of my spleen and he said:

“You are in the doldrums, that’s part of any quest. It’s like a bit Andy Kaufman used to do. He came out and started singing ’99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.’ At first the audience would be all into it, laughing and laughing. Then, sometime around the 80’s, they’d start to turn on him, booing, start the show, do Elvis, things of that nature, but he’d just keep on going. And then there would just be, like, resentment and boredom and nervous energy, also disbelief, also reckoning of sunk costs, as in, we bought the tickets and we’re sitting here, let’s just see where this ends up, but meanwhile: boring!

“And so it would go until he got to some number of bottles of beer on the wall, and then he would stop. I don’t know what the exact number was — too high for the crowd to finish on their own, too low for him to have come this far and not finish. It was a quandary. Andy Kaufman would act like he had had it, he had given his all to singing ’99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall’ and the audience had not held up their end; meanwhile, the audience didn’t really know what to do.

“That’s where you’re at now. You’re getting there but not there yet. You just have to…”

And he did me the honor of not connecting the dot dot dots.

I think they are a combination of tough it out, figure it out, maintain, reach down, and so forth. I am confident of my ability to do this because — what else am I doing with my time?

Oh, some gardening. I am thinking about converting my entire backyard to California buckwheat.

Anyway, I bring it up because if I was really in the doldrums, would I have six more courts to add in this post? Hmmm? Would I?

That is such a good point that I feel I can declare I am both in the doldrums and on a roll, simultaneously. Containing opposites — that’s playing at a high level. I am proud.

So to bring us up to date, in addition to playing with Mike in Pasadena, I hit against the wall at Roxbury Park, and played two courts in the South Bay with my nephew Matt when he was finishing up his semester in LA. Matt kept wanting me to rate his game and I answered him thusly, “You showed up ready to play.” He accepted this as a satisfactory answer, which speaks well for his character.

And then there was playing two courts in Long Beach with my pals Jose, Jairo & Tammy. We frolicked openly at the Billie Jean King courts, which vaulted into Top 5 Best Courts because they are purple on green. Where do you even see that color combo?

“They’re villain colors,” Jose observed. “Think The Joker in Batman.”

Ah yes. But also purple flowers next to green leaves. Lest we forget.

More opposites!

My point being: Jose, Jairo, and Tammy down to romp + stomp all over Long Beach with me in pursuit of questfulness, so that is great. Also I have two games lined up with people I’ve never met before, one in Monterey Park and one 9 am Tuesday at Scott Park in where is that? Oh right, Carson. Yeah man. We’re making inroads into the South Bay. This whole thing is opening up.

I love it.

One comment

  1. Praise for the Doldrums…the seed of boredom…which in turn is the germ of creativity.
    Shout out to Purple and Green! Wolfe Kahn liked those colors, along with their other secondary color friend ORANGE. Perhaps wear your orange knee sock when playing on a Purple and Green court? I believe Robin Wall Kimmerer had some thoughts about those colors in Braiding Sweetgrass.

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