Tennis Anyone

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

My neck hurts. I’ve been watching the back and forth volley regarding resurfacing the tennis courts. The baseline-to-baseline action has been fast and furious. Many Laguna spectators have given up altogether and have switched to the lawn bowling action in Heisler Park.  “Much easier on my neck muscles,” reports a disavowed tennis spectator.  A few, who have been hooked on the resurfacing match have been transported to Mission Hospital where their necks have been immobilized in dog cone collars that prevent excessive mobile phone usage, the primary cause of neck injuries. Animal Crackers reports a recent shortage of dog cone collars and has scheduled a fundraiser called “Bite & Brew” to be hosted on the beach in front of the Surf & Sand Resort.  Volleyball will be prohibited at the event in order to prevent further spectator neck injuries and the need for more dog cone collars for participants. Dogs are welcomed and will participate in a slightly altered fundraiser called “Bite & Bite,” a typical outcome of greets and meets.  Dates and times will be announced shortly.

In my younger days, I was hooked on any sport that had a racquet.  I had wooden tennis rackets, wooden golf clubs, wooden racquetball rackets, wooden baseball bats and wooden teeth. Of course now, this equipment seems quaint. But it was anything, but quaint.  I got so many splinters as a kid that I developed an allergy to hydrogen peroxide and was advised by doctors to burn my racquets and wooden teeth. Now my racquets and teeth are made out of titanium, a material that guarantees me to be the victor in all future meets and greets.  I challenge anyone to bite me.

In the early ‘80s, I participated in a Chicago tennis opening and clinic. The guest of honor was the great Billie Jean King.  All the courts were full of doubles and Ms. King went from one to another providing tips and playing for a few minutes against each guest.  When my turn came she commented that my backhand was the very worst she had seen. I held back my tears and nodded agreement. Then when I got the chance to play Ms. King one on one, I unleashed my dumpy little backhand and watched it roll slowly by her.  Ms. King holding back tears said, “Maybe it’s not as bad as I thought.” It was my most glorious moment in sports. To celebrate, I showered myself with a special Gatorade and hydrogen peroxide concoction.

For readers who are not familiar with the tennis resurfacing match, let me review the action to date. It’s a doubles match with two players on each side.  The home team is made up of the school district and the village.  The guest team comprises an architectural firm and tennis court construction specialists. The game began years ago, with the guest team scoring early points. At the beginning of play, the guest team was up $620,000 to love (no points) for the Laguna home team.  Then in the middle of the first set, the guest team pulled out a trick shot dubbed the post tension slab overhead and the costs shot up to a score of $1.8 million to love.  According to resurfacing officials, the post tension slab shot prolongs the life of a tennis court, prevents cracking and is the way to go to assure the game winning point, game and match.  For now the game has been called because of darkness.  “What’s with the lights?  Aren’t lights included in the bid?”


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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