last night i was invited to play tennis with the woman i'm working with, lisa. i borrowed a racket and some shoes and headed to this fancy country club thing in the center of town. there's an olympic size pool, a nice restaurant, a fancy weight room and four clay tennis courts. well, they're more like dirt, but still, pretty nice. the court we played on was all the way in the back, we walked down little alleys and pet the stray cats to reach the court, which, oddly enough backs up to the 36-15. hey, there's christian! on the other side there's a shipping container thing with people living in it. one guy was dressed in a security guard outfit with a bright neon tie, he was totally rooting for me. my backhand was kicking ass.
so on these courts you have ball boys, which is tiring actually, because you never get a break to go pick up the balls! our ball boy, abudaka was tall, skinny, barefoot and would slowly amble around, picking up balls, sometimes dribbling them with his feet into a bicycle kick, catching it and putting them into his plastic shopping bag. instead of walking around the net he would lower the top and go over it. sometimes we would keep playing and i would hope he lowered the net at the right time to let me win a point. i pegged him in the ribs a few times by accident and felt really bad. in the beginning we had him going all over the place, he could barely keep up - a tired ball boy is an indication that you suck, btw.
we had some brand new balls that lisa brought from the states, as you can't really find any here. abudaka's mix of balls range from really dead, to extremely dead and brown, and then every once in a while you get one of the freshies so it's an interesting mix.
the people next to us were loud, cursing. it was a lebanese guy playing against some sort of minister guy in an interminable third set. minister guy had an entourage of guys with towels and water. their ball boy was shouting the score and everything in between which was really annoying. first serve! fault! second serve! out! 45-15! after a while the guy's entourage started watching us, they are men, afterall and we are ladies in shorts. the entourage got yelled at. minister guy was super grumpy. whenever our ball went into his court he would take it and hit it over the fence. not nice, minister guy! one time, i picked up a ball and he was all, hey! that one's ours! that one is ours! really impatient. i looked to make sure that it wasn't one of our penn 4s, but it was definitely theirs, the brand was written in arabic. i should have kept it.
abudaka kept score for us too, though we asked him to not shout every play. i also asked him to say the score quiet when i was losing, but loud when i was winning, though lisa did the same thing so it was useless. i also tried to bribe abudaka to let me win the set, but he was too honest. our hour was over right before the rains came. we tipped abudaka a few bucks and went off to grab some well-deserved beer. i asked abudaka if he was busy next labor day for the annual tennis tournament. he wasn't sure. maybe he can be my caddy, if you can have caddies in tennis?