Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tennis Tuesday - HPTA Highland Open 2015 Tournament Recap / New League Starting

Over the weekend, my tennis partner, Devon and I participated in our very first real tournament, the HPTA Highland Open 2015 for Cystic Fibrosis!  (I had previously been talked into doing a in-house tournament at my home courts, but I don't really count that because it was all just YMCA Members and I was just barely into learning the game then!)

The weather going into the weekend was forecast to be really rainy and yucky.  Fortunately our first match was scheduled for 5:30 on Friday and it was only supposed to rain overnight, so we were able to get that match in with no problems.  Saturday, we weren't so lucky with the weather but by Sunday it turned out to be gorgeous and sunny - albeit HOT!

(Also note, unfortunately there won't be too many pictures as my official photographer, ahem - Mr. Skinny Geek, was too engrossed in watching the matches that he "forgot".)  But I digress...  I did manage a couple.

Registration and check in areas were on the side and this was the raffle/silent auction area.  Inside the building was the players lounge stocked with food and drink (and beer).
Right after work, I changed into my tennis clothes and headed to the courts.   The weather was cloudy and very humid.  All day long, my normal pre-match nerves were hitting me hard.  I tried to not think about it but it was hard to not concentrate on anything but being nervous.  Devon said she felt the same way.  I brought a Quest protein bar to eat once I got there since I wasn't sure what time I'd be getting home to eat or if I was going to just eat there at the park.  After, I arrived, I stayed in my car trying to absorb as much a/c as I can and played a little Cookie Jam on my tablet.  Not long after, Devon arrived so we just decided to walk around a bit and go ahead and check in and also get our swag.  No pics, sorry it wasn't all that great other than the tank top, a nice draw string bag that looks like a tennis ball and a chip clip.  The rest was an emery board, 2 pens, a small notepad, stress ball and a State Farm Insurance Fridge magnet.   (I'm not ungrateful - I promise, but have tons of that stuff around, so it all promptly went in the trash once I got home)

Oh!  Before I go any further, let me tell you about my tennis partner, Devon!  She is one of my teammates from the Mid-Court Crisis team that I captain.  I had sent a email out to everyone seeing if they were interested in this tournament and she was the only response.  She isn't my normal league play partner, but we have played together on a few occasions like round robin and also during practice but we haven't actually played a real match together until this tournament.

After we got checked in, it was only just a few minutes later that the lead organizer called for us over the megaphone that our court was ready!  I hurried up and scarfed down my Quest bar and then we met up to get some last minute details and instructions for the match and also met our opponents.  Since the organization knew that we were expecting lots of rain this past weekend they decided to change the format a bit of the tournament and only allow no-ad scoring. This means that if we get to deuce (40-40) then normally it would be advantage next, but in this scenario to keep the matches going quicker, they made it to where the next point would win the game.  So that was a little different than what we were expecting but not a huge deal. 

Then off to the courts we went!  We introduced ourselves to our opponents and they tried to feel us out asked if we had ever played in a tournament before, to which we said no, and that this was our first one.  They were friendly enough and said this was only their 2nd time playing this particular one and that it was a great one for first-timers!    After a nice little chat we started to warm up a bit with some mini-tennis then full court hitting and then finally serves.  After that, we were ready to get started!

Devon and I were both extremely nervous but just couldn't quite overcome this team.  I think we could have beat them too.  This pair actually went on to be in the final round of the winners bracket and they came in 2nd.  We just couldn't quite get with it with this match.  My serve was not consistent at all and we kept making silly mistakes.   Nervousness 1 - Desiree' and Devon 0.   We lost 6-7, 2-6 (at least the first set was close!)

We lost "face"



Our second match (Consolation round or, like I call it "loser round") was scheduled for Saturday at 11am but because of the rain delay, it got pushed back until 4:30.   Chris and I left the house around 2 and decided to swing by Target and pick up a foldy chair for him to sit in rather than on the few bleachers that the park has.  While we were at Target, Devon calls me and asks if we can head that way now.  They were ahead of schedule even with the rain delay and wanted to see if we could get there by 3:30 and that we would play then!  We hurried and checked out and headed to the courts.

Once we go there, we checked in and got to hang out a few minutes and met with Devon.  My mom has been wanting to see me play for a while so she was able to come out and watch the first set at least (she had somewhere to be Saturday evening).  We finally got called to play and we met our opponents.

These ladies were really nice too (much like the first round opponents).  Going into this match, Devon (I keep wanting to spell her name Devyn, which is my daughter's name...)  and I felt better about it.  We felt more calm and controlled and we communicated on the court a lot more.  This match we just felt all around better.  I was hitting some decent alley shots and we both were very good up at the net.  Devon's serves were accurate; whereas mine were still 'off' on my first serve.  My second serve I "tapped" in so it was playable at least.   During this match it started to sprinkle on us and we were worried that we would have to stop playing and continue later.  Momentum was in our favor here, so we definitely didn't want to do that! 

This match was pretty historic for both Devon and I though, because after 2 sets, we were tied at one set apiece.  It went to a "set" tie-breaker.  Devon and I both are like 0-5 at winning tie-breakers, so the pressure was on us to actually see one through and that we did!  We won this match 7-5, 2-6, 1-0, which put us in the Consolation round final on Sunday.



Sunday arrived and it was absolutely gorgeous outside.  The weather was sunny and beautiful.  We were scheduled to play at 11:00 am.  Chris and I arrived at the courts a little after 10:15.  I called my mom to confirm that we were playing at 11 (she and my aunt were coming to watch this one) but once Devon and I checked in, the officiant said, the other team is here and you can start now! 

I hurried and texted mom that we were starting asap!  We got to the area where we meet the other team and lo and behold, it was a team that Devon and her normal partner, Carly had lost to earlier last month.  Devon hurried and explained what she remembered about them - that they love to lob the ball and the other lady is domineering at the net.  Uh oh. 

The nerves made a reappearance.  This was the hardest fought match I have ever played in.  We wanted this so badly and I truly feel that we could have beat these ladies.  They did exactly as Devon remembered.  Lobbed us, used angles and when the amazonian lady got fed a ball at the net, it went down our throats.   Now, mind you we did get some good return shots back at them.  We found a couple of their weaknesses - we have to hit it past Net Monster Amazon Woman and at the feet of the other lady.  Also, my little alley shot worked great when N.M.A.W. was playing back - the other lady didn't have the reach to return it, so when she was covering that alley, we would just drop it over the net on the opposite side.   A little dirty, maybe, but they were playing dirty too.   A few times (we had gathered some people watching and they would tell Devon and I that they were calling things out that weren't.

We learned from this match too that we need to be confident in calling the ball.  Most of the time if there is a point in question, we usually give the benefit of the doubt to the other team.  We have to communicate better because a lot of times Devon had a better eye on what was happening while I "played" the ball.  And vice versa.  So yes, this was definitely a learning experience.  And heat was also starting to play a factor in this match.  It was over 2 hours long!

We lost this match 6-4, 3-6, 0-1.   I want a rematch now so badly I can taste it.  Again, I feel that Devon and I could have won.  With a little more practice, I truly believe we can. 



All in all, the weekend was a wonderful experience and I can't really say anything bad at all.  I wish the weather would have been kinder to us but we did manage to get all the matches in so it wasn't all bad!  I also wish I wasn't so nervous and I could have had a bit better control of my serve.  But that's all on me and I will get there, eventually.  I will definitely be doing this tournament again next year! 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

During the course of this tournament, I received an email from a lady who is looking for more players for her Mixed Doubles league.  She and I emailed back and forth a few times and eventually she offered me a spot on her team and I gladly accepted!  So, I am now playing on a summer Mixed Doubles team ---- and I'm not the captain this time!  First practice for this team should be in a few weeks, actually she emailed me that it was going to be the same weekend that I am to be in NYC, so I had to decline that practice.  She said that they will plan to have one sooner with just me, her and 2 others so I can meet with them and check it out.   I'm definitely looking forward to continuing to play, even though it is in a different format (and with guys!).  This league is for 40+ year olds, so no youngsters - Get off my lawn!!!   :)

13 comments:

  1. Wow! You made me feel like I was there watching - even without pictures :) I think it is sweet that Mr Skinny Geek was too engrossed to remember pictures.

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  2. Wow!!! I love reading your 'tennis' journey. I went and googled and realized that my nearby Y doesn't have tennis at all!? wth? boo.

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    1. Thanks April! Boo to your local Y. Maybe you have another tennis center nearby?

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  3. What an awesome match! You will take down NMAW next time, I just know it!

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  4. Awesome match, Desire!
    My kids are going for tennis lessons daily, they are still at he novice level, but I'm really hoping it adds up to their health in general!

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  5. Oh my gosh your "get off my lawn" comment is killing me!!

    Dang girl, you did a great job in this tournament. I am so impressed, I would be so nervous to compete in somethign like this! And yippee to the mixed doubles league where you DON'T have to be the captain! So excited for you!

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this! I know nothing about tennis, so it was very interesting. I'm also amazed that you ran close to two miles on a tennis court!!

    Great job on this tournament! You'll get that team next time. ;)

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  7. I love that you're getting so competitive with tennis! That inner athlete is all fired up! :)

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  8. hey! It sounds like your first "real" tournament went amazing! It's so much fun to read your tennis posts, especially since I'm such a newb at tennis, I love that you're totally owning it! "Net Monster Amazon Woman" - I LOVE IT!

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