My nephew, Michael, a sophomore at our local high school (same one Joycie attends), plays Varsity tennis, and he made second singles this year. Mike is tall, over six foot, and plays a heck of a tennis game. He's got such a long reach, I just love to watch him play. I don't know too much about tennis... I've always liked watching tennis, e.g., Wimbledon on TV, but I've never played tennis myself. I've hit a tennis ball before, but the nearest thing to tennis I've played is probably racquetball, or maybe ping pong... lame, I know.
I have never really figured out scoring, either, though Kev explained it to me a few times. Mike gave me the short explanation recently, which helped me understand it better. Again, lame, I know, sadly lame. I suppose the big difference is that I now care more about learning the scoring & rules.
Anyway... I got to see Michael play a match this past Tuesday evening. He didn't win, but he played well. His opponent just seemed to be able to return everything, though Mike had him beat hands down on placing the ball. And here is probably where my ignorance of the game terminology will shine. Mike would put the ball where he wanted it to go, making it difficult for the other guy to get to it to return it. I mean, Mike would have that ball go here, then there, then there again, etc. High, low, hard, soft, drop early. It was cool. You could see he was thinking ahead. So many of Mike's shots surprised the guy, but he was able to return so many, surprise or not. I think it kind of freaked Mike out a little bit, I know it did me. Well, maybe not freaked, but unnerved a bit. It was great to watch Mike play. I took some pictures when he was warming up. I liked this shot because Mike looks so determined. And that was just a warm-up.
But after the game started, my sister (Mike's mom) told me not to stand at the fence and take photos because it was too distracting for Michael. (I was putting my camera lens through the holes in the fence.) I should have thought of that myself. So I settled for taking some photos, unobtrusively, behind the fence. When it comes to getting those balls way high up in the air, Mike definitely has an advantage.
Some of Mike's serves or return shots were like bullets, and even after hitting the court, they'd bang into the fence in front of us. I found myself ducking anyway sometimes. You know, one of those jerky flinches then a quick look to see if anyone noticed... Though this shot proves Mike, with all his power, cannot actually get the ball through the fence. Whew.
I know I'm a novice, but in my defense, I was pretty tired Tuesday evening. I had trouble getting the right words out... I kept calling the net a fence. As in, did it go over the fence? Did the ball hit the fence? You mean net? Yeah, whatever. Once I couldn't think of the word racquet, so I went with mallet. Joycie's laugh at that one was not really very kind laughter.
Can't wait to watch Mike play again. I've always enjoyed watching tennis, as I've said, but watching someone you care about play is way more fun.