So This Is Nationals . . .

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Nationals (3.5 senior ladies) is going pretty well. There are a total of 17 teams, in four flights. We (DC/mid-Atlantic) are in the flight with five teams, so we played two matches on Friday and two on Saturday.

    Our team record was 4-0. We were 11-1 in individual matches. My partner and I won three matches by giving up 3-4 games each time and another in a 10-point tiebreak.

    Tomorrow is semis, followed by finals or consolation.

    There was only a small amount of drama. Our No. 2 dubs team was handing out yet another beatdown, having won the first set and being up 5-2 in the second. Opponents started questioning their line calls and being generally peevish. One lady hit a cheesy second serve to our power hitter, who set up on that ball like David Ferrer. She demolished it down the middle, but close to the net person.

    The server then said she was calling for an official, saying, "You almost hit my partner. That's not sporting!"

    The official came over and supervised the rest of the match. The opponents then proceeded to play even more tight and lost quickly.

    At the end of each match, we've taken a photo with our two opponents for the team scrapbook (yes, apparently we have one). Well, Ms. "Needs To Put Her Big Girl Pants On" refused to stand for the photo, although her partner did.

    I guess we will have to photoshop in a suitable stand-in:

    [​IMG]
     
    #1
  2. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Nice results, Cindy!

    Someone is playing at NATIONALS and has a problem with a ball that is hit too hard???? Unbelievable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
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  3. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    i lol'd.

    1 -- an opponent felt your teammate hit too hard?!

    2 -- you guys take photos of the people you've beaten? isn't that kinda like hunters taking photos of their kill or fisherman and the big fish?
     
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  4. fleabitten

    fleabitten Semi-Pro

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    This is what I thought too! It is almost as rude as the Petkovic victory ass waggle. But Cindy, do you take the photo if you win or lose? That would make it less annoying.

    Good luck on the rest of the tourney - keep us posted.
     
    #4
  5. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Congrats on what sounds like a successful Nationals (so far anyway). I LOL at the opponents complaining about a ball hit hard past the net person.

    But I also find the whole photo thing odd. I personally hate having my picture taken at the best of times, let alone by strangers while I am one big massive sweat stain. I would have to respectfully decline to be in your photo, regardless of the outcome of the match.

    And then you'd have to post a snarky image making fun of me.

    Good luck for semifinals / finals!
     
    #5
  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    This team has a tradition where they take pics of every opponent, win or lose. All opponents cheerfully comply and usually go grab their own cameras, except that lady.

    Anyway . . . we lost to NY in the final, 1-2.

    My partner and I played Court Two. We came out guns blazing and won the first set 6-1.

    Then we apparently decided it would be *way* more interesting to start screwing up.

    Every time we got a break lead in the second set, we coughed it up. We served for it a couple of times, and wound up at 6-6.

    Late in the match, we played Australian formation to the ad court lady because she had a dodgy one handed backhand. This was effective. We finally got to 7-6 in the set tiebreak, with me serving to the lady in the ad court. Match point. I had my partner line up Aussie and took special care to make sure I was on the correct side of the court to serve. We played the point, and the opponents hit a ball I called wide. The official confirmed my call and said, "That was the last point then?"

    That's when my partner and I responded as though we had been crawling in the desert for three days without water. We said, "No, Whoops. We should have served that point to the deuce court. Isn't that right, opponents? That makes it 7-6. Now what do we do?" It was decided that we would serve to the ad court again. We played out the point, and I think we won it right then and the match, or maybe we had to play a few more points -- I can't remember.

    Afterward, the official took me aside and congratulated us on winning the match twice. She said that we hadn't erred and had actually won match point. You think maybe our opponents knew better? Hmmmm. Ah, well.

    It was an amazing run. My partner and I went 6-0 in the blazing sun and only dropped one set. Our DC team was a heavy crowd favorite, which was heartwarming. I had a great time. And now I will go have a margarita!
     
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  7. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    This is really all anyone needs to know about nationals, win or lose, it ain't about a towel or pen.
     
    #7
  8. DaynaDawn

    DaynaDawn New User

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    Congratulations to you and your partner!

    I am a brand new poster on this site but I have been reading
    this forum for a very long time now. I thought I had "joined"
    many moons ago but I guess not. Anyhow, Cindy, I just wanted to
    say I love reading your threads & posts. I don't intentionally
    seek them out but it seems the ones I mostly pick-out to read
    are written by you. lol

    Again, Congratulations!
     
    #8
  9. Mike Hodge

    Mike Hodge Rookie

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    I'd love to observe the setup for the post-match team photo. I've seen some matches where getting the two foes to be civil for the post match handshake is quite an accomplishment. They do what they have to do, of course, but it's forced. A photo opp would have NOT gone over well:)
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
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  10. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    First off, Congrats Cindy! :)

    As to Mike, I've only once or twice not had a civil ending to a match. Normally people I play against are pretty nice, whether it's a win or a loss. Taking pictures on the other hand is a whole other story! I don't think I've had my photo taken in tennis for years....

    -Fuji
     
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  11. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    Congrats on your success! Sorry the team fell just short.

    6-0 at nationals... have you considered the possibility of the dreaded double bump up? I'm no expert on the mystique of the USTA ratings algorithm, but it does seem like at least a possibility with that post-season record you've been compiling.

    EDIT: well now that I think about it for a second, maybe none of this will count towards your rating at all, will it?
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
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  12. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Congratulations on making it to Nationals. That's really a great accomplishment. You and your partner had a great tournament. 6-0 at Nationals is very well done.

    You have one more reward coming to you. The USTA will soon award you and your partner a 4.0 rating!
     
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  13. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    where were all these SoCAl, Atlanta and Florida teams who are supposedly so much stronger in their rating?

    pffft

    GO CINDY!!!
     
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  14. magmasilk

    magmasilk New User

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    Congrats. Maybe you should take photos before to the match.
     
    #14
  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hey, thanks! Tell us more. What's your level?
     
    #15
  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Is this going on in CA?
     
    #16
  17. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Cindy you should post some pics if you have any that capture the atmosphere of the tournament.
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Remember she was facing David Ferrer.
     
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  19. goober

    goober Legend

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    Well you definitely are going to reach your goal of 4.0 at the end of year ratings:). Actually you will be a 4.0B.
     
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  20. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    Congratulations Cindy - well done
     
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  21. RedWeb

    RedWeb Semi-Pro

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    Kudos Cindy. Could not of happened to nicer person.
     
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  22. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    Goober? 4.0B would not be her rating unless she made the Sectionals/Nationals as a 4.0. She should be rated a 4.0C in the next 'go around.'
     
    #22
  23. goober

    goober Legend

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    I know plenty of people, including myself, that got bumped at the end of the year and had a "B" rating at the higher level. BTW you can get "B" ratings from just going to districts too not just sectionals/nationals.
     
    #23
  24. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Not true ... going to playoffs (districts / sectionals / nationals) make you a B rating. Your performance for the season moves you up.

    These two are mutually exclusive, meaning that your year end rating only depends on your performance and the performance of the folks you played.

    By comparison an M rating means you only played mixed, a T rating means you only played tournies, a C rating means you played enough to qualify for a computer rating but did not make playoffs. All a B rating means is that you played in districts, sectionals, or nationals as either an adult and/or senior ... it has nothing to do with whether you had success at these levels (other than making the playoff roster that is).

    I guess theoretically you could even get bumped down and still have a B rating ... but you likely would not have been on the playoff roster if you were destined to get bumped down.
     
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  25. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Cindy .. I am very jealous. Congratulations.
     
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  26. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    WOW...I've been out of the loop for a few years. That system sounds WAY too over-engineered to me!
     
    #26
  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK, I'm back home, so I can give a quick recap before I forget the whole thing.

    1. I was really surprised at how nice everyone was. Every match mattered a tremendous amount to the players, yet people took the results in stride. I didn't feel like anyone was cheating. I didn't need to call an official. Heck, even the officials were friendly.

    2. I loved playing in the final. I will never forget it. A lot of the players who hadn't left town came down to watch the final, so there was a big crowd. Whenever I made a good shot, they started yelling, "*Go, Venus!!*" It really pumped me up!

    3. I played the best tennis of my life in my six matches. Talk about peaking at the right time! My FH has been fine lately, but I was missing a lot of BHs, especially on service returns. I had one last hail Mary lesson with my pro the day before I left for Nationals, and he spotted the problem. I was getting too close to the ball and so couldn't extend my arms. We fixed it, and I was nailing my BH. He certainly earned his fee in that lesson!

    4. The different opponents had different personalities. It was hot, so the officials gave everyone permission to leave the court to take their rest breaks in the covered patio between courts. The SoCal women weren't interested in shade -- which reminded me of lizards sitting on rocks. I guess they're just used to it.

    The Southern women (Louisiana) donned Mardi Gras beads after the match. These were special beads, though -- they had oversized flesh-colored penis/scr*tum beads also. They then showed me their mascot: A gray stuffed mouse sporting an enormous erection. Oh, those Southern women!! :)

    5. The court surface was hardcourts, but very gritty and new. It really took topspin well, so our coach told me to use my topspin and moonball/lob my head off. It was a devastating strategy. Opponents lost the ball in the sun and would shout out "I CAN'T SEE IT!" before bailing out. :)

    Another opponent was down 3-6, 0-4 when I hit yet another monster lob. She yelled, "Oh, shoot!" before the ball even bounced. On the changeover, she said, "I need to shake your hand. I have never seen anybody hit topspin like that. It bounces way up high and then if I can touch it it just shoots off of my racket sideways!"

    In our fourth match, one of the officials came by and gave us four extra balls to start our match. This was because many balls were leaping over the back fence into the desert, and they didn't want us to go chase them.

    6. We had a "Serena Moment" in the finals. Our No. 3 doubles team was playing a ten-point tiebreak to decide the championship, at 5-7. An official was on the court, of course. One of our players (who happens to look like Serena) is very talkative during points. As she was hitting, her partner started moving like she was going to cross. Our player hit the ball and then shouted, "Stay, Becky!" The opponent hit the shot into the net and then looked up at the official. The official ruled hindrance and said to replay the point. We lost the next point and then the tiebreak and the championship.

    7. I have to say, I saw some patterns in the way everyone seemed to play. Every single player used a frying pan grip to serve. They would hit a flat first serve and tap in the second serve. Also, many 3.5 senior women seem to make a living coming to the net behind Any Old Shot, then park themselves right on the net and are very easy to lob. Many lack an overhead and simply bunt the ball back into play. I don't know what I was expecting, but the level of play wasn't nearly what I see at 4.0 in our area.

    Cindy -- who hit her first drop shot in over a year, and who reached every drop shot her opponents hit except one
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
    #27
  28. ian2

    ian2 Semi-Pro

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    First of all, congratulations to Cindy! Not only is she a GOAT poster, but she's also a GOAT 3.5 (soon to be 4.0!) player. Well done Cindy! If I had won six matches at the Nationals, I'd quit my day job...

    As for the "alphabet" ratings stuff: what dizzlmcwizzl described is exactly how I understand the system should work. However... I played in Twilight (fall USTA league) districts last year but when the ratings came out at the end of November, mine (and all of my teammates) remained "C". The guy I lost to in singles got a "B" rating, but he made it to districts not only in Twilight but in the regular (Adult) league as well. So I guess there are districts and there are districts... Talk of over-engineered!
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
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  29. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    cindy you might wanna change your signature. that Honorary 4.0 should just say 4.0. it's a fait accompli.
     
    #29
  30. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for all the info, Cindy. I finally know your real name from all the info you gave us.

    Which one are you in this pic?

    [​IMG]
     
    #30
  31. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Not really. these are folks who are not used to losing (you can argue the possible reasons for it, but it is true nonetheless). They likely don't have very good coping skills.
     
    #31
  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Did the Louisiana women indulge in other traditions like taking something off and flinging it at the crowd?

    Why did they call you Venus and not Serena?

    How come 3.5 players in Nationals are still using frying pan serving grips?
     
    #32
  33. goober

    goober Legend

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    I think the key here is that it is senior women. How many senior 3.5 women have you seen hit with a continental grip. I am not sure if I can remember seeing one. You can get away with a frying Pan grip at this level all the way to the nationals so there is little incentive to change.
     
    #33
  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Ha!!

    I'm not in that pic or any pic. The lady in the teal blue top is my teammate. She always plays Court Three, and she's our oldest team member, at 64. To her right you will see a shorter Asian lady -- that's our captain. To her right, you will see a black lady with her hands in the air -- that's our other Court Three player, the one who got called for a hindrance. They call her Serena.

    I wasn't dancing. I'm not a great dancer, so I look to avoid it at every opportunity.

    No, the Southern ladies didn't take their tops off. I did perhaps see more fake breasts than I expected, although not on that team.

    I hope they called me Venus because I do not have Serena's build, and because my teammate is already Serena.

    Cindy -- who lost four pounds this weekend
     
    #34
  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Things you do not need to advance to 3.5 senior nationals:

    Second serve

    A split step

    An overhead or swing volley

    Poaching

    Topspin

    Aussie or I formation

    Foot speed

    Hitting on the rise


    I watched a couple of men's matches too. I saw so, so, so many pushed second serves. The only two guys I saw who hit a proper second serve were on the Mid-Atlantic men's team. One guy had a nice topspin second serve that gave the opponents fits. His partner had a ridiculous slice second serve. Ironically, both guys would try to blast a flat first serve, miss it, then follow up with a terrific second serve. I didn't understand why they didn't use that spin more given how the opponents were struggling with it.
     
    #35
  36. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK, let's do some photos:

    [​IMG]

    I'm second from the right. My partner is on the end.
     
    #36
  37. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Here's our No. 1 Dubs player. Before Nationals, they had never lost a match:

    [​IMG]
     
    #37
  38. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    This is our other No. One dubs player. Nicknamed "Rabbit."

    [​IMG]
     
    #38
  39. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    Congratulations on Winning so many matches in the Nationals including in the finals. Where people would consider just playing in the nationals an achievement, this is awesome, irrespective of the result of the last tie break.

    So the champion was decided in a 3rd set match tiebreaker! You owe us a thread just on that tiebreaker. Ambiance, cheering, nerves the whole package, just the hindrance would not do. You may not want to remember it at this point but would love to read about it when you are ready.

    PS: You were not the captain??
     
    #39
  40. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Wow... so the whole thing came down to a match tiebreak at the #3 position? Talk about a nailbiter. Were the other courts finished by then and watching? Must have been quite an atmosphere.
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What is Queen Elizabeth doing in the middle?
     
    #41
  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Ego?.............
     
    #42
  43. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Cindy uses a continental, though
     
    #43
  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Cindy, you like one of the other women's junior granddaughter who happened to show up to support.

    The other women look, well, I guess mature is the word?
     
    #44
  45. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK, so here's a recap of the finals.

    First, keep in mind that we had a very small team. We brought nine eligible players, and one lady left the first day because her father died. So that left eight (plus a coach).

    We had our No. 1 Dubs team, the two athletic ladies in the pics. They hadn't lost all year. They win because the lady on top is crazy fast and hits hard flat shots -- she is the one who hit the ball so hard that her opponent called an official. Her partner is steady and solid too (but was cramping on Saturday and in the finals).

    We had me and my partner, who usually played No. 2 dubs.

    And we had the other pair who always played No. 3 dubs. They had never lost a match either.

    Our other two players are not as strong, so the coach decided they would not play while we were still in the hunt. The team had agreed that we were there to win. I feel badly that they came all that way and didn't get to play, but I am not the captain of this team.

    Anyway, for the finals we were playing New York. I do not know why, but it seemed like we were the underdogs and sentimental favorites with the crowd. This was partly because NY brought a big squad of 12 women, most of whom looked strong and athletic. Before the match, a ton of people came up and made me promise that we would beat NY. Whenever one of my teammates won a point, the cheers seemed especially loud, so that was nice.

    Our No. One Dubs team was simply overmatched in the final. I didn't see their match, of course, but their opponents were very steady and took the net relentlessly. They had no trouble volleying the hard flat shots my teammates hit. When my teammates took the net, the opponents lobbed them. I don't think our gals had a plan B that could work. They lost 6-7, 3-6.

    My partner and I won 6-1, 7-6.

    That left Court Three. Now, remember that by this point our gals (one of whom is a super senior) were playing their sixth match in three days in the heat. Unfortunately, they always seem to play marathon matches of three hours as they tend to play defensively, often two back. By the afternoon finals, they were exhausted.

    I believe they lost the first set, 1-6. I was able to watch their match from 6-6 in the second set.

    Point by excruciating point, our ladies inched ahead. They were playing 20-shot rallies until our taller/older player poached at net. They won the set tiebreak 7-5, I think.

    In the match tiebreak, the points were just ridiculously long, as each player was determined not to miss. Sadly, we had a few balls go long or wide. Then we had the hindrance call that cost us. Our gals were just struggling to keep it in play given their exhaustion. The final point was when our gals were playing two-back, and the opponent hit a volley that fell too short for our gals to run down.

    Yes, the atmosphere was electric. I honestly thought our ladies would win the match tiebreak because they had the momentum and crowd support and the opponents were so tight. I think the upshot was that we played not to lose, and that doesn't win championships.
     
    #45
  46. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You mean the Asian lady in the large straw hat? That's our captain.

    I should mention that there is one other lady who isn't on the team but came all the way out to support us. This little DC team has been together for years, and we had a lot of support because they had never managed to win DC, let along get to nationals.

    Nationals is an expensive undertaking. We did some fundraising, but we got a ton of donations. Friends and relatives were sending in $100 checks to help with our expenses.

    We stayed in two rental houses rather than a hotel. We rented two vans. Because we received so much in donations, the total cost for transportation and lodging per player was $100. All I had to do beyond that was buy my plane ticket and feed myself.

    Amazing, huh?
     
    #46
  47. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    Congratulations. Sounds like you had a great experience.
     
    #47
  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Why would anybody donate money to able-bodied people to travel and play and that too for no end charitable cause???

    If I knew someone like that, I would instead ask them to bring me back some free gifts.
     
    #48
  49. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Because this tennis team is part of a community.
     
    #49
  50. gould2000

    gould2000 New User

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    Well said:)
     
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