#110 Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica

What a contest! The back-and-forth, the sweat, the inner chanting:

Just hit it back to him

Just hit it back”

That much of the chant was good and righteous.

Not so good was the under-mutter:

His forehand is his weakest shot

Hit low to his forehand”


The urge to win makes me tighten up, causing shots to sail long or poop out into the net.


“This Ball


that’s all

This Ball”

Keeps me pleasantly focused and sufficiently challenged. I hit satisfactorily deep. The points tend to go my way.

Oh yes.

They do!

So happy, so sweaty on Rustic Canyon courts tucked way back in oak and sycamore grove. I even crossed a little bridge over a tiny creek walking from the bus stop, which took about fifteen extra minutes of retracing my steps because these courts are seriously tucked away. There is not that much bird-chirping, mainly the noise of construction on humongous houses. I was surprised that the courts weren’t more meticulously tended given the neighborhood affluence, but oh well, that’s good news for the outcropping of fleabane poking up from below the net.

Point being, the guy I was playing with won lopsidedly last week and I had been mulling over my many unforced errors. Just hit it back to him, I had been coaching myself. That’s why I was especially happy to be so “This ball/right now” during our set today, which featured lots of protracted deuce-games amid mounting heat in the middle unshaded court and was going much more to my liking score-wise until the instructor for youth classes told us curtly she had a permit for all three courts.

Oh well, youth must be served. We got most of the set in. Now I am sitting on a bus bench on Wilshire across from Will Rogers State Park. Traffic whooshing disconcertingly close. Good thing I have developed nerves of steel from all those protracted deuce games.

Let us celebrate:

I have played every public court on the West Side! From here it’s all Valley, South Bay, Long Beach, East L.A. and SGV.

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