Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tennis, Asshole?

I rushed home from work today, grabbed the Pope, and we went to our normal court.
We have lately gotten into the habit of playing an hour or two of invigoratingly bad tennis, laughing and getting sunburned and running ourselves ragged on the courts.

Tonight we started playing next a man and his son, a team we see often at our local park. The father has infinite patience, gently teaching his son both sportsmanship and the game of tennis. I never tire of watching them.

They finished their game shortly after we arrived. Two teen boys, whom we have also seen a number of times, arrived, dropped off by their father in a silver minivan. They have one of those tennis club wire baskets full of balls, the ones you can just set over a ball on the court and it picks it up? Yeah, cool. They often arrive when the courts are occupied, and they don't come in and put a racket against the net pole (as clearly advised and encouraged by the "Court Rules" sign) they just wait patiently outside the courts. They neither fidget nor speak to each other and on past occasions I've thought them to be charmingly polite.

Which was because they hadn't spoken. The teens took the court next to ours and proceeded to play a blistering round of rallying. They were excellent, obviously pros in training or just damned naturals. The older brother was clearly the better of the two, and proceeded to berate and demean his brother for missing shots that would have taken me a miracle + a couple of Agassis to hit. The younger brother never said a word, and showed absolutely no emotion on his face. The older brother continued to loudly berate and groan at his brother for any mistake, even if the "mistake" was a well returned serve that the brother couldn't hit.

To put it bluntly, he was an asshole. It got to the point where I was watching him in disbelief more than I was missing my own shots, and so was the Pope. We were apalled at this kid's lack of respect, not only for other people on the court and the 10 or so tiny children that played in the surrounding field and playsets, but for his absolute lack of regard to his brother's feelings.

We met at the net under the pretense of picking up our faulted balls and agreed, the next time this kid said something, we would respond, loudly, and tell him to cool it.

We did, both at the same time on the next exhalation of disgust. The kid never glanced our way, and barely stopped in his current nastiness.

We stopped for a drink of water and I said loudly, "that kid is an asshole and he treats his brother like shit. He is vibing me off this court!" Because as you can see, I'm a delicate flower with tender sensibilities. The elder teen obviously heard me, and although I wasn't trying to be heard, and in fact thought I had been quiet, I didn't mind. His head snapped up and he stared right at me.

From that moment on his words became encouraging and guiding toward his brother's game.
I was really elated to see that, although I would have been happier hadn't my own game gone completely to hell.

Being nice takes away all my skill.

*the Pope is my soon-to-be-husband, who is begging me to call him Dick Rambone, which, eeew.

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