I’m Right (nyah nyah nyah)

Did you guys use to watch Modern Family? (Liars. You did so.) There was an episode that I think was late in the series, so you may have missed it. In it, Claire and Phil are in the grocery store. An attractive woman approaches Phil, and he turns toward her, in the process knocking Claire over. I think she may have taken out a product display on her way down.

Phil goes home and tells their family about Claire’s humiliating clumsiness. She argues that he pushed her, which he denies. For some reason, the entire family believes Phil’s account, which pisses Claire off.

She proceeds to track down the video from the store’s surveillance camera, which is now archived off site, and have it reformatted to work on her home DVD player. She gathers the family together and shows them the incontrovertible evidence.


Instead of apologizing, they ask what the heck is wrong with her that she would go to that much trouble to prove she’s right.

I’m not sure where our sympathies are supposed to lie in this episode, but I’m totally Team Claire. Continue reading “I’m Right (nyah nyah nyah)”

Is It Too Hot to Play?

Here in Massachusetts, as in much of the country, we’re heading into a stretch of sweltering days. With that in mind, we’re going to postpone the Worst Dressed poll and talk about the heat.

You already know that during exercise your core body temperature can rise by a couple of degrees. Your body copes with this increase by sweating. As the sweat evaporates, you cool down.

When humidity is high, the air is too saturated for your sweat to evaporate quickly. The higher the humidity, the hotter you’ll feel, and the more dangerous any given temperature will be.

How do you know when it’s too hot to play outdoors? You need to find out the heat index, or the “real feel” temperature, a combination of actual temperature and humidity.

Continue reading “Is It Too Hot to Play?”

Serving After the Tiebreak

The other day, one of my tennis buddies said to me, “Let me ask you this question because you know more about tennis than I do…”

I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing good ever comes from that set-up. My face-saving instinct kicked in right away.

“What?! No, I don’t know a lot. I just write about it and pretend I do.”

We had a chuckle and then she asked her question. Naturally, I didn’t know the answer. I’m not sure I even got the question–something about the difference between clay court and regular tennis shoes.

This is why you never set yourself up as the expert. You will be humiliated. Continue reading “Serving After the Tiebreak”

Let’s Talk Lets

Any engineers out there? I need a new product developed asap.

One of the biggest annoyances of playing outside is the frequency of balls rolling onto neighboring courts. A few private clubs provide net dividers between outdoor courts, but they’re rare. And they’re non-existent at public courts, the usual haunt of schlubs like me.

What I need is a portable netting system, compact enough to toss into my tennis bag. I envision it working like those old prank snakes, coiled in a soup can-sized box. Remember those? The unsuspecting victim unsnaps the lid and the snake springs out, life-sized.

Net dividers between courts are large, but let’s face it. They’re mostly holes, right? There’s not a lot of actual material to them. So we just need to compress it all down into a small box, add some springs and whatnot, and presto! Instant tennis curtain.

(True, stuffing it back into the box after the match could present a challenge. Maybe the loser has to do that.)

If someone could get to work on this product, I’d appreciate it. In the meantime, we’re left to deal with annoying ball interruptions every few minutes. So let’s talk about lets. Continue reading “Let’s Talk Lets”

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”

Correcting the Call

It kills me to admit this, but…I’m not perfect.

Tennis offers me so many opportunities to be humbled by my fallibility. There are all those unforced errors. All the times I can’t remember the score.

And of course, there’s the line calls.

On the face of it, calling a ball in or out really shouldn’t be too hard. You look at the line. You see the ball bounce. A kindergartner ought to be able to get this right. Continue reading “Correcting the Call”

Loopy Tennis

True story (at least I think it’s true):

One of my tennis buds told me about a match she played many years ago. The night before, she’d been at a party and sampled a hash brownie. When the effects didn’t kick in right away, she decided to try a second, and then a third. Continue reading “Loopy Tennis”

Penultimate Post of 2018

The touring pros are on vacation, and my recreational leagues are on break. Seems like a good time for LittleYellowBall to put its feet up too. (Yes, my blog has feet.)

But before we go, here’s a mini-recap of what I’ve learned from doing this blog, as well as a sneak peek at what’s ahead. Continue reading “Penultimate Post of 2018”

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