US Open 2010

Went to the US Open over Labor Day, best seats ever in Arthur Ashe Stadium - Row T! May not seem great, but a few years ago my seats were in Row HH or some nonsense, and I've been slowly trying to work my way out of the nosebleeds ever since.

I think it's fun wherever you sit though. Such a great atmosphere.

During the changeovers, cameras pan through the crowd and zoom in on people dancing, etc. Saw something quite unique - the camera zoomed in on this couple. The guy started to go in for a kiss, but even I could see from across the stadium that the girl wasn't having it. He was undeterred, even grabbing her chin and turning her face toward his. But no! Only ended up with a side of the cheek plant. Total rejection on the Jumbotron. 23,000 tennis fans yelling, "Ohhhhhhhhh."

Tennis System

This year marked my triumphant return to the world of USTA tennis leagues. I played singles on a team three years ago or so, and I did well enough to get bumped up a level to 3.5. I wasn't sure I could hack it at the higher level, and I "retired" in singles after that.It turned out to be an Amanda Bynes-type of retirement, as I decided to give it a go again this season. I ended up with a winning record, 6-4, and I remembered how much fun it is to compete. What other time in the adult world does this happen - two strangers meet, shake hands, and then try for an hour and a half to annihilate one another? Nothing personal, it's just sports.And to my relief, though I played people who were technically superior than me, I was able to hang with them. I looked totally crazy doing so - some fist pumping, yelling, attempts at mind games, general neurosis. But who cares how it looks if it is works. My shots aren't great, there's nothing in my game that stands out, except the fact that I really want to win. The will to win is all I have, and sometimes that is enough.

A Virginia Slims Halloween

Right before my friend and I headed out the door on Saturday, she asked "When do you think we will be too old to dress up for Halloween?"

"Never," I said.

Flash forward two hours and we're trudging through West Village in NYC on a drizzly, cold night with about 100,000 other people in all manner of costumes clogging the streets - it really looked like the night of the living dead. The bouncer at the bar we're supposed to go to says the club is full, and we can't get in, even though my friend totally knows the DJ. And every other bar has a line out the door.

"Remember when you asked when we would be too old for Halloween?" I said. "I think I might be too old."

But we ended up getting in to the bar and everything turned out fine, so I retract that statement. Halloween forever!  Especially Halloween in New York City.  I feel like you could say, "Nice Halloween costume," to a fair number of people there and they would say in response, "Halloween?"

We were standing on the apartment stoop, about to leave, opening our umbrellas, when a dude walked by wearing cowboy boots, shiny blue spandex pants and a blonde mullet wig.  "Hey," he called out.  "Does this costume make me look like the Unabomber?"

"No," I said, but then I thought about it.  "A disco Unabomber."

He laughed and I decided I heart New York, just like the t-shirt says.  I had the same thought last spring in NY when someone on a unicycle sped past me on the sidewalk.

Here's what I was this year:

A chain-smoking 70s tennis player. Complete with wooden racquet, some American Apparel socks and an absolutely perfect vintage tennis sweater purchased a thrift store in San Francisco. The rest of the stuff I already own. Is it a bad sign when your normal clothes can easily become a Halloween costume?

Reaching for a serve.

Editor's Note: I don't smoke.

The costume got good feedback from drunks on the street, the finest arbitrators of taste.  Choice comments: "Nice socks" (said with a lot of sincerity), "Rod Laver?" and my favorite, "Tennis!  I know that."  Yes, I dressed as Tennis, encompassing the concept and the sport in its entirety.

But at the party, I saw a guy dressed in old-school tennis wear, carrying an aluminum racquet, and actually smoking.  I was torn between thinking that this could be my soulmate, and being annoyed that my costume was so unoriginal.

Some Clichéd Sport-as-a-Metaphor-for-Life Scribblings for You to Ponder

We had our final work volleyball game last week. We hadn't won a game all season, not a one. But I had an ace up my sleeve - this inspiring sign I got from a Washington Team Tennis exhibition. Surely the sign would do the trick! I showed it to my coworker and he said "Shouldn't it say 'Refuse to Win'?" Aww, but we've already been doing that, I said.

As previously discussed, I have nothing to offer the volleyball team other than the ability to hold this sign, which is a job that a post could easily do. Nonetheless, the "Refuse to Lose" mantra spurred us to victory and we scored our first win, just in the nick of time. It was the only variable compared to the other scads of games we lost, so I believe the sign is directly responsible for the win.

In other sporting news, I also joined a mixed doubles tennis team, and I believe the team captain might've been under the impression that I am a better player than I actually am. I went to my first match and my partner and opponents were really, really good. We lost the first set in 20 minutes and I was a disaster - dumping the ball in the net or spraying it all over the court, making a bad line call, the works. I was mentally composing a speech about why I needed to quit the team when something miraculous happened - we started winning. My partner told me just to smile and have fun, and we ended up winning the next set and the tiebreaker, even though the other team clearly should've won.