#102 Anderson Park, Redondo Beach

This was a really life-affirming outing because I played with a guy who told me right away, “I don’t hit hard enough.”

Story of my tennis life!

I don’t know why it is that I don’t slug balls back to the baseline when playing the way I do warming up.

Slug might be an exaggeration.

Swat, though. Warming up, I swat away. KER-PLOW is the word, is the word, is the word. No thought involved. Pure motion. Original energy.

Start keeping score though and uh-oh, look out, here comes Mr. Pitter-pat. Meek little bloblets landing dead center holding up a sign that says Please Kill Me.

It’s dispiriting.

A little.

Fortunately I am exaggerating the ploppiness. I do hit with vigor, often. It’s just the ingrained human tendency to accentuate the negative. I don’t know why that is but anyway, point being, the guy I was playing with stated right up front, unprompted, that he was confounded by his pittypat groundstrokes.

Hearing him say that really felt like my birthday.

So validating!

Also, he forgot to mention his upside, which is that he would get to EVERYTHING. This guy is a newcomer to tennis, only been playing for a year but avidly, every day, and his other sports are soccer and volleyball. So it is his nature to hustle like a madman and get the ball over.

Was his pace on the tepid side? I really didn’t notice because I was so agog that every time I put a ball on the side of the court where he was not, he would sprint-lunge over there and return it. I had that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid feeling when they are being tracked by bounty hunters who just won’t quit — who are those guys?

And yet despite his indomitability and 40-years-younger-than-me-ness, I still managed to win the first set, which set the stage for him to romp in the second set. This is fair and just, in my opinion. In recreational tennis, if you win the first set, you have made your point and all subsequent sets are basically about conditioning, especially if you lose.

Meanwhile, the park report: Anderson Park in Redondo Beach is a GEM. Two lovely first-come, first-serve courts. I hear they are often used for lessons but me and my partner got lucky on a Saturday afternoon and had the place to ourselves.

I hardly ever say this but the court we were on could have used a touch of the leaf blower. An electric or solar powered leaf blower. I read recently that gasoline-powered leaf blowers are laughter-of-the-devil toxic. So maybe a broom. But other than the little bits of leafy detritus, the courts were great. Sturdy net, love that.

There were two other park highlights:

1) the ballfields at this park exuded grandeur especially in the deep, deeeeeeep green of the outfields. This suggests hefty application of nitrogen fertilizer which I guess offsets the non-use of leaf blowers on the tennis courts? I don’t know. It’s exhausting (but necessary) to tote up every environmental violation. Somewhere there is an algae plume saying glad you like the green, green outfield Marko, and I say to it, when you’re right, you’re right.

2) the bounce house at the kids’ party. I’m sure there was untold, unmitigated and irreversible damage being done by running the giant fan to inflate this bouncy castle, but if we can just set aside environmental concerns for a nano-second — what’s that? I’m hearing we cannot — all right then, along with the downside of using all that electricity plus the whole thing being plastic, at the same time, that was a solid 90 minutes of kids squealing with joy.

So, I dunno, everything is a trade-off? I know that’s not a real answer. Neither is, it’s too late to to anything about the ruination so just relax. Honesty: I don’t know what the answer is or if there is one. I ride public transit a lot more than the average Angeleno. That’s what I’m doing.

And as for not hitting hard enough: I also don’t know. I think there must be a threshold you break through and once you have broken through, things are never the same. I told the guy I was playing with, if he ever figures out how to make the necessary changes, he should send me an email telling me how he did it.

He promised that he would.

One comment

  1. Hitting hard? Hmmm? I believe Dwight Gooden said that the strength of his pitches came from his legs.
    Shout out to the Bouncy House, as an environmental concern. Somehow a paradox.
    I was surprised that there was no mention of Patti Smith’s 1st album, Horses.

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