Confidence Crises

Finally!

On Sunday, Rafael Nadal finally won his first clay court title of the year–in fact, his first title on any surface this year.

And–finally–we have a new blog post! I have been remiss. Inexcusably so, but let me offer some excuses anyway. First, I was taking a novel-writing class, so I was spending my creative juices elsewhere.

And two, I just wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t sure I had the bloggerly chops to tackle some bigger topics. I wasn’t sure the blog even mattered–to me or to anyone else. Out of nowhere, I was having a mini-crisis in confidence.

Which brings us back to Rafa. (You know everything eventually goes back to Rafa.) Continue reading “Confidence Crises”

Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-Dressed…and a Blogiversary!

LittleYellowBall turned one on Tuesday, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a “worst dressed” poll. Here are the cringe-worthy nominees from Indian Wells and Miami. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst-Dressed…and a Blogiversary!”

April’s Challenge: Batman Yoga

A while back, I took some time off from tennis. Three years, actually. Hard to believe I didn’t play for so long when nowadays even a week without tennis makes me cranky.

For exercise during the hiatus, I ran and did some weights, as I had already been doing. And I added something new–yoga.

When I returned to tennis, I was surprised that not only did my game come back pretty quickly, but in some ways I was playing better than I had before. My strokes felt longer and more fluid, and I more easily handled balls outside my ideal strike zone. Continue reading “April’s Challenge: Batman Yoga”

Friday Fashion Face-off: A Combined Best Dressed

Are you going through Fashion Face-off withdrawal? Me, too. I initially planned to do them every Friday, but tennis fashion just doesn’t change often enough for me to maintain that pace.

However, I did see some new duds during the tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami. Let’s do a combined Best Dressed for the two tournaments. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: A Combined Best Dressed”

Powerball Tennis

Have you bought your Powerball ticket yet? If not, don’t bother because I’m going to win.

The grand prize for tonight’s drawing is expected to be worth $750 million, but I’m going to take the lump sum of $465.5 million. I have big plans for that money.

Of course, while my accountant’s quite good, even he isn’t going to be able to save me from a hefty tax bill. $465.5 million minus 37% to Uncle Sam leaves me with a paltry $293 million.

I’ll set aside a sensible $20 million for my retirement needs: healthcare, food and boring crap like that. And I’ll also set aside $100 million for my daughter. (That seems like enough, right?)

So I’ll have $173 million left to play with. Here’s how I plan to divide it up for the ultimate tennis life: Continue reading “Powerball Tennis”

Do You Remember Algebra?

If a > b and b > c, then a > c.

Remember that nugget? That’s the transitive property of inequalities. (I’ll confess I had to look up the name of that one.)

It’s common sense, right? 10 is greater than 9, and 9 is greater than 8, so 10 must also be greater than 8.

It’s always and forever true in math. In tennis, not so much. Continue reading “Do You Remember Algebra?”

A Round Robin Kerfuffle

I had an interesting interaction at a round robin today. I’ll give you the general scenario followed by my perspective and that of my RR partner. Then you get to sound off in the comment section!

Here’s the scenario: This RR has a fairly wide range of abilities. I’m a 3.5 player, but there are some players, particularly among the men, who are way better than I am. The woman who organizes the RR does her best to pair partners and opponents to make for competitive rounds. Everyone gets a new partner and new opponents every 25 minutes or so.

In the third round, I was partnered with a player we’ll call Sidney. I recognized Sidney and may have played with him in the past, but we’re basically strangers. He’s far better than I am, as was the man playing across the net. The female opponent was also better than I am, but the men were the strongest.

So I was the weakest player on the court. But that’s all right. I come to this RR to get the experience of facing more challenging opponents than those I normally see.

When it was Sidney’s turn to serve, he tried to get me to stand closer to the net. I was inside the service line, but not as close as he’d like. I replied, “No, I’m good where I am.” He brought it up a couple of other times, but I declined to move. At one point, I tried to laugh off his suggestions by patting his arm and saying, “Okay, you play your side of the court and I’ll play mine.”

Another time, I believe he didn’t like where I hit the ball but I’m actually not sure what he was commenting on at that point. I was beginning to get a little irritated.

When the round (which we won 4-2) was over and we were waiting for our new court and partner assignments, he said to me, “Do you remember geometry?” I told him to drop it, that being corrected by my RR partner only makes me play worse, which doesn’t help either of us. At that point, we went to our separate courts. Continue reading “A Round Robin Kerfuffle”

March Challenge: A Focus on Strokes

I planned to write a glib monthly tennis challenge, but I can’t muster my usual enthusiasm for glibness. Luke Perry died this morning from a massive stroke. He was 52.

It’s always a bit unnerving to hear someone exactly your age has passed away. After five decades of living, I’m still secretly convinced of my own immortality. Like a child, I can’t conceive of a world without me in it.

But Luke Perry’s relative youth aside, stroke has a unique way of grabbing my attention. My father suffered a massive stroke in 2011. It happened right in front of me, over lunch at California Pizza. Continue reading “March Challenge: A Focus on Strokes”

The Underhand Serve: A Friday Poll

“Kyrgioser and kyrgioser!” cried Alice…

Another day, another Nick Kyrgios controversy. If he isn’t getting fined for lack of effort or for needling an opponent about his girlfriend’s sexual history, he’s hitting head-scratching and/or controversial shots.

In this case, the shot was a dinky underhand serve to Rafael Nadal, who famously stands practically in the bleachers when he receives. I watched the first set of this Mexican Open match and heard commentator Lindsay Davenport wonder why no one ever tries an underhand serve against Rafa. She then joked that if anyone would do it, Kyrgios would. Continue reading “The Underhand Serve: A Friday Poll”

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