I feel openly joyous about my two new bright orange Head Radical racquets. I love the way I’m hitting with them: my shots feel solid and true. This is not to say I’m hitting nothing but winners, but it is to say I feel like a winner. I’m grateful to Jerome Jones of Head SoCal for hooking me up with this fine equipment. It’s a very satisfying recognition of my progress in surpassing the 100-mark in my quest to play every public tennis court in Los Angeles.

A couple of days ago I had a great time playing with these new racquets for the first time at Peck Park in San Pedro. It was a two-and-a-half hour public transit journey down there each way, and worth it for the immediate friendly welcome and rollickingly competetive play.

The second time I played with these racquets was at my home court, Ladera Park in unincorporated LA County just north of Inglewood. My friend Mike Bonifer was filming a documentary about the decades-strong tennis community at this highly blessed park. I felt a heightened “everybody is a star” vibe with the cameras and sound crew, but then I always feel affirmed and connected at Ladera.

Indeed, the reason I know Jerome Jones of Head is because I’ve been playing with his dad Julius at Ladera since 2002, which is 30 years fewer than the game there has been going on. I feel blessed to be part of this community and I think one of the reasons these racquets mean so much to me is that they represent that Ladera connection.

The third and most recent time I played with my new racquets was yesterday in a follow-up match with my new-as-of-this-summer friend Ben Applebaum, who I want to applaud for getting to everything! Ben plays soccer and volleyball in addition to tennis. I mention this and the fact that he is in his early 20’s to humbly brag about my keeping up with him here in my early 60’s.

I am very grateful to be romping and stomping with Ben and all the other new friends I’ve been making on my quest. It is also really gratifying to seeing my game improve, largely due to me figuring out that my best strategy is to make the point of each point be playing to play.

Along with my other much-loved sponsorships, SixPax Gym and Slumdog Trillionaire, these new Head racquets motivate and sustain my quest — now almost halfway there — to play tennis on every public court in LA.

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