Friday, February 15, 2008

Down at the tennis courts by the lake with G. A bright sunny day. We hadn't played for weeks and weeks, both of us were rusty. The only other person there was a white-haired little Chinese man, Master Chang, a tennis coach, who was waiting for his student.

G and I hit balls back and forth to each other. There was a high wind, and both the tennis balls he had in his pocket were elderly and tired, but we were having a good time. Wallup, wallup, rrun, scream. The coach watched us, and as his student didn't show, he jumped in and started giving us a free lesson.

"Return to neutral, like so," he scolded me. "Both hands on racket in between shots. You hold it all the time with one arm, arm get tired." It was true, but hard to practice. He ordered G to my side of the net, then he played against both of us. He could actually control the ball, choose where it landed. Amazing.

After we'd played for about an hour, he pulled out a portfolio and showed us his photos. He'd been tennis coach to the stars. There was a young tall, handsome athletic Christopher Reeve, shaking hands with Master Chang, whose hair was still black. there was a young Dustin Hoffman. There was Walt Frazier, the basketball star, seven feet tall, and Master Chang next to him, all five feet four inches of him.

"You come next week, I give you another lesson. Buy some new balls," he told us. He told us we both had potential to be good players.

"I suck," I said.

"No!" he insisted. "You have good eye. Powerful swing. You can do it. Hand--eye--good!" No one has ever accused me of having good hand-eye coordination before, so that was very gratifying.

"We'll come back next Thursday!" we promised. Already I can feel my game getting better.

This morning I've been sitting inj front of the computer since 8:30 a.m. One poem, and the revisions to Saying Kaddish. I've spent little time actually writing--most of it has been procrastinating. What a waste. I'm going down to the computer store to get parental controls put on my computer so that I can block the website It's my worst habit.

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