The joys of playing someone better

Lately I have been getting in lots of tennis. Some pleasant times with my friends Riot Kitty and Mr. Riot Kitty hitting the ball around, some great doubles tennis with JJ and Molly from softball and Betty from C-list...

I have really grown to love doubles. I like the wideness of the court, the speed of the game, and have even learned to not hate letting my partner hit the ball.

We have had some great rallies.

It is cool to have one of those epic volleys where everyone hits two or three shots that seem beyond their capability and keep the rally going.

In the end, though, there is a certain consistency...everyone has won at least one set. Everyone other than me has lost at least 3 sets. So we all get to experience winning which is cool and fun for everyone.

However, at the risk of coming across wrong...there is a slight lack of satisfaction in some of the tennis I have been playing.

I know...or at least strongly suspect...that when score is kept, I will be on the winning side.

But I fell in with a Romanian quite by accident where things are much the opposite. He is better than I am at almost every phase of the game.

Our first set he won 6-0. I cannot remember the last time I got skunked.

The second set I actually clawed to a 5 games to 4 lead...and he then got serious and won the set 7-5.

I have to really play strong just to win a point, much less a game or a set.

And that is a beautiful thing...because I can watch myself get better almost on a game by game basis.

My serves are getting faster and nastier. My ground strokes still struggle and I have no finesse...but I am getting better and better at getting to the net, blocking off angles, and hitting winners.

I actually was up 4 games to zero in the fourth set I played him...but then lost 6 straight.

I like playing people who are learning the game, but there is something about playing someone I know is better and that charge of winning games from them, even if I have yet to win a set. But I will. Soon.