I received a flyer earlier this week about a foam ball tournament across town at the Midtown Athletic Club. (Think nerf-type ball as opposed to a regular tennis ball) It was a charity event, advertised as "great cardio" and "exciting matches". The flyer did not say it was a foamball tournament but the graphic on the flyer was a big foam ball. I thought it would be fun, different and a chance to see another tennis club so I plunked down my $45 (charity) and signed up.
I got an email about an hour later asking what level I played. The registration indicated there were two levels for singles, 3.5 and below and 4.0 and above. I thought it was odd ut then again, foamball, so maybe that evens the field a bit. I e-mailed back to say technically I was 3.0 but had just been bumped up to 3.5 with the end of season ratings. The reply comes back "can you play 4.0". Normally, I would NEVER EVER consider it but I know tournaments can be short players in one bracket or another so I told them I was pretty sure I would get squashed like a bug but since it is foam ball, I will give it a go. My assumption, as naive as it might have been, was that these are foam balls and I have more running speed than most so maybe it won't be the complete crush that it normally would be if I played a 4.0+ player.
After the email on Wednesday, I never heard back. I finally emailed this morning to ask if the tournament was still on and, if so, what time was my match. My first match was 6:30 tonight. They guaranteed 2 matches so if you lose in the first round you feed into the consolation. A little bit better than spending $45 for one match.
I leave work a bit early to make the hour+ drive over to Windy Hill. I pull in around 6:15. The club is very nice - indoor and outdoor courts, swimming pools, several floors. Nice. I make my way down the hall to the door leading to the courts and notice the draw. There is only one for singles. Four people total. OK, not the end of the world. I walk out and check in. The guy hands me the t-shirt (they said "gift bag" on the flyer... don't get me started on that as I do love gift bags and there was not one...). Strike one. As he hands me the shirt, he says "these are nice shirts, just ignore the first line on the shirt". I read the first line. 1st Annual Foam Ball Tournament. I think oh, maybe these are leftover from last year and this is the *2nd* annual event. LOL. My foam ball fun tournament fantasy went off like a puff of bug spray on a hot summer night. Strike two. I am still not deterred. I convince myself that maybe there are other innocent victims such as myself in the draw.
My opponent shows up. Marni was cute as a button and fairly young. As we are walking to the court, I feel obligated to tell her I thought this was a foamball tournament and this might not be much of a match for her. I asked her what level she played. She proceeds to tell me that she just moved here, was just getting started and didn't know her level. Brief moment of relief. Then she says, "yeah, I haven't played since I was a junior when I was 18". I said, "really, was that last year (laugh)". While I did think she was young, I thought mid to late 20s. She laughed as if to say, no you silly old lady. Then she says "no, I am 21, it was 3 years ago". CRAP. Strike three.
We proceed to warm up. Junior Marni does the little bouncy junior thing in between hitting. She has that perfect forehand, backhand, and serve that I can't return. Can we just say this was no fun AT ALL? All I can do is to try and relax and laugh it off. Lesson learned. I did manage to get 1 game off her in the second set of which I am quite proud. I am pretty sure only 1 or 2 games were anything other than 40-0. It was over fast. Not fast enough to suit my taste but pretty fast. I tried to maintain a good attitude but part of me was thinking the tournament director should have known better than to shove me in there knowing I was barely 3.5. He should have been up front and told me there were only a handful of players and given me a choice.
There is a consolation taking place tomorrow at 11:00. I let them know that I am really sorry but this was a big misunderstanding and I am not driving an hour out there for another beatdown. I really hate it for them because I know it means the other person won't get that 2nd match but they should have given me more information up front. Honestly, if it weren't so far I would suck it up and take the beating but there is no way I am driving 40 miles to kick my butt kicked. Again. Too bad, I am in a serious slump. I didn't need yet another match to chip away at the remnants of confidence I have in my game. I was actually excited about the foam ball thing. Just damn. On the bright side, I can get a much needed run in tomorrow!