Dr. Annand Jaggi, a full professor of our small college’s economics department, was state champion in his native India, and ranked 13th once in the world of badminton. I was of the few who would try to play with him. I finally told him I wouldn’t play with him anymore. WHY, quizzed the shuttlecock whiz?
Annand, I play as hard as I can. I can play good or bad. Doesn’t matter. The score is 21-0, 21-0, maybe 21-1 regardless. Being brahman, Annand didn’t think I had the right to quit.
I’m telling you–the guy’s backhand overhead was as good as his forehand smash. In the state finals at Duke university he always won the men’s singles. And the doubles and mixed doubles too, if his partner obeyed his single advice: You just stay out my way.
As the college tennis coach he asked me to help him learn tennis. Scary, I thought. And I I did, as we were truly colleagues. He got better. and better quickly. “I think I will play on the town tennis ladder. I saw where you are #1 singles.”
Truly, not Wimbledon and not for long. For one shining moment I clawed my way to the top, with many of the better players not competing that hot summer period. Shortly and impressively Annand climbed the ladder. 15, 10, 5, 2, phone call. “You may have noticed I am now #2 and thereby demand a challenge to you for #1!
No “fans” saw the match. Hot August day. Grim. Somehow I won 7/5, -7/5. We shook hands. First there was no comment. Then, our parting words.
Annand: Well, Tom, you are the tennis coach, you SHOULD be #1!
Coach: Annand, you are a full professor of economics, and the head of the department. You should be the richest son of a bitch in town.
I was amazed that someone picked the NCAA basketball final four bracket perfect, through the first two rounds. Fifty one games. One in a billion. I you-tubed this guy. Was it Michael Jordan or Coach K? Red Auerbach? Claire Bee from the grave? Surely an athlete. The Silver guy? A savant?
Nope. Plain as dirt. So un-athletic he couldn’t get the ear plug in for the interview.
I’m writing this and a poem (below) because my daughter in law, Angie, dissed me in family NCAA pool : ” Mom, I kicked Tom’s ass!” So did your three year old son, Lennox. and Charles BARKley.