GET THE GAME ON

• HBO recently ran an excellent documentary on Sports in America. There were lots of celebrities, sports heroes, historical events and such. Jesse Owens and Hitler and the 1938 Olympics, that sort of thing. I watched it faithfully remembering the Yankees vs Dodgers and others “classics”. I was puzzled for a while during one interview. Who is this rather nondescript, older guy? I listened quizzically as he dryly unfolded the tale. Much like me, the man as a youngster was from an extremely religious family. Stern father, to the point that none of the four brothers even voiced complaint when multiple “dress up” weekly trips to church were required. Not only did the family know discipline, the minister admonished the entire congregation about the real possibility of hell’s fire for eternity. Later I appreciated the artistic touch of the film makers, who super- imposed Elmer Gantry like evangelists, screaming the Devil’s powers, with flames leaping all around.
There was common ground between Father and sons: BASEBALL. Not only that, they lived in the California home town of one Eddie Matthews, he of future Hall of Fame credentials. Eddie was currently joining teammate Hank Aaron in knocking shit out of baseballs for the then Milwaukee Braves.
It was 1957. And there was a new “player”: TELEVISION! Not only television, but baseball on the television. Imagine the joy the boys felt when Dad brought home a new set! Not only that, the Braves had made the World Series. Eddie Matthews in their living room.
Alas, all was not joy. As fate would have it and because of the West Coast Time Zone, the pivotal game was to be played on Sunday, during church time.
Gloom itself. Still there was nothing said on Sunday morning. All six piled in the car, not a peep the entire trip to the church. They knew better. And again, a thunderbolt would surely accompany some of the unspoken wishes had they been even meekly uttered.
Sunday school was hard to bear. GAME TIME WAS NOT FAR OFF. And then something very unusual happened. As the boys, gathered to enter their usual pews, the parents met them at the entrance. An odd kind of “ushering” today, as Mom and Dad nestled the startled brood toward the family car.
The only emotion the narrator had expressed occurred here. A slight smile as he claimed to be the first to realize: We are going home to watch Eddie Matthews in the World Series!
Even then there was dead silence. Would a train smash their family? A fire due to “faulty wiring” usurps local family”? A dichotomy of emotions? You bet. Even as a great game unfolded, random unspoken concerns radiated like static within the home.
But the drama of the game finally imposed itself over the fears. You couldn’t make it any better or tense than this. Bottom of the ninth, one on, Braves are down one. Hometown and home family hero, Eddie Matthews at bat.
At this point the stoic narrator seemingly became even blander. As he concluded the final touches to this childhood highlight he spoke two brief sentences;
“‘Eddie Matthews hit a home run.”
“We never went to Church again.”

Ivory League

HUMOR
• One local grandparent was gaining rambunctious grandchildren at a rapid pace. He countered the consternation by buying a dog. The largest, laziest big basset hound he could find. Trained
the ally to locate between Grandpa’s recliner and the TV set. Named the dog SPEED BUMP. • On a lark a recent graduate with a meager 2.6 grade point average applied to the Harvard
MBA program. He, for some reason, was granted an interview. The committee member who chaired the interview opened the process by asking: Do you have any idea why we granted you this interview? NO, the obvious answer. “Well, frankly, the old professor explained, “…we’ve never heard of Pfeiffer College in Misenheimer, North Carolina!” The applicant swore his
answer got him in. He countered, “…that’s all right, Sir. There are a lot of people at Pfeiffer that ain’t ever heard of Harvard.

UCLA–The University of Campbell between Lillington and Angier.
The Harvard of Harnett (county).

ACC- “Another chance at college, or LSU (Lee Street University).

“SHE BLONDEENED HER HAIR”

•Malavai Washington was inducted in the college tennis hall of fame. Long time curator, Dan McGILL ramrodded the press introductions and explained each inductee would have his picture displayed. Then the
grand old patriarch of college tennis couldn’t help jokingly add, “…of
course, Malavai already has his picture in here.” Oh no, was all Malavai could say. Reason: When Malavai played Richard Krajicek in the Wimbledon singles final there was the formal introduction ceremony at the match’s beginning. Full house and all the proper British royalty.
A beautiful, quite blonde young woman “streaked” the group in only a sheer top. As she passed the ensemble, Malavai of course included, she lifted her top exposing her total front to the group, and her total rear to the photographer. Coach McGill couldn’t resist. He asked Malavai why, when all of the other group’s eyes focused on the streaker’s upper half, Malavai was clearly focused lower. “… I was trying to make sure she was a TRUE BLOND.”

“CRASH” LENDL

• Tennis great, Ivan Lendl, quickly adopted golf as a retirement obsession. Lendl, the father of five daughters, passed that love to the girls. Except the youngest one. This one was tough, to the point of being identified as “Crash”. As a preteen youngster, Crash approached her father with the admonition that she did not want to play golf. Her sports minded father said that was fine, but she had to do something, and what would it be? Women’s hockey. No question.
Okay, said the Dad, there is a women’s college hockey game on tonight and we’ll stay up and
watch it. Hunkered in front of the TV, Father and young Crash, watched the game begin. Almost immediately a play near the boards caused Crash to pose this question of her Father and the game itself: “Why didn’t that girl body check her opponent when she had her right there at the board?”
Her father explained that in women’s college hockey there is no legal body checking. He was then surprised as this obviously disappointed youngster rose and walked out of the room withthe comment “…forget it then, I’ll just go ahead and play golf.” (From THE NEW YORKER). P.S. I believe the fact was included that while all the Lendl daughters were fine golfers, Crash
won the local club championship at 11 years old. Wonder where she got that.

TENNIS EXCUSE LIST

  1. The balls were too fluffy.
  2. The balls were too heavy
    (light, yellow, white, old, new).
  3. It was too hot.
  4. It was too cold.
  5. I have a cold.
  6. I have a headache.
  7. It’s too windy.
  8. It’s too humid.
  9. I can’t play indoors.
  10. I can’t play outdoors.
  11. I have a blister.
  12. i have tennis elbow.
  13. The sun was in my eyes.
  14. I can’t play when the sun’s not
    shinning.
  15. I can’t play at night (under lights).
  16. I can’t play early in the morning.
  17. I was thirsty.
  18. I can’t play on an empty stomach.
  19. I’d just eaten.
  20. My racquet’s dead.
  21. My racquet has a broken string.
  22. Slipping grip.
  23. I have old shoes.
  24. I have new shoes.
  25. I can’t play on clay.
  26. I can’t play on hard surface.
  27. He’s a pusher.
  28. He cheats.
  29. He accused me of cheating.
  30. My partner double faults.
  31. My partner talks too much.
  32. Partner thinks I’m cute.
  33. Teammates are too intense.
  34. Teammates are too loose.
  35. Too many drunks on the team.
  36. Not enough drunks on the team.
  37. My opponent is an airhead.
  38. I can beat that guy any day
    (but today).
  39. I didn’t think we’d play today.
  40. I’m tired from yesterday.
  41. This tournament is run like
    a circus.
  42. I was worried about my
    girlfriend.
  43. I can’t play when someone’s
    watching.
  44. I can’t play when no one is
    watching.
  45. I was watching instead of
    playing.
  46. Sweat got in my eyes.
  47. I can’t believe he called that
    ball out.
  48. The linesman blew it.
  49. Tennis is a groggy game.
  50. I think the court’s too short.
  51. Snuff nerves!

HARVEY PENICK’S BOOK

About the time I started trying golf
Harvey Penick (with Bud Shrake) wrote
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book (Simon and
Schuster, 1992). Penick, the longtime golf
coach at the University of Texas and golf
professional in Austin, describes the book’s
origin in the first part of the book:
“An old pro told me that originality does
not consist of saying what has never been
said before; it consists of saying what you
have to say that you know to be the truth.
“More than sixty years ago, I began
writing notes and observations in what I
came to call my Little Red Book. Until
recently I had never let anyone read my Little
Red Book except my son, Tinsley.
“My intention was to pass my Little
Red Book on to Tinsley, who is the head
professional at the Austin Country Club.
“With the knowledge in this little book to use as a reference, it would be
easier for Tinsley to make a good living teaching golf no matter what happens
when I am gone.
“There is only one copy of the red Scribbletex notebook that I wrote in. I kept
it locked in my briefcase. Most of my club members and players who came
to me for help heard about my Little Red Book as it slowly grew into what
is a slender volume
considering that all the
important truths I have
learned about golf are
written in its pages.
“What made my
Little Red Book special
was not that what was
written in it had never
been said before. It was
that what it says about
playing golf has stood
the test of time.

“I prefer to teach with images, parables and metaphors that plant in the
mind these seeds of shotmaking. These, too, went into the notebook— if they
proved successful.
“Maybe it was wrong to hoard the knowledge I had accumulated. Maybe
I had been granted these eighty-seven years of life and this wonderful career
in order that I should pass on to everyone what I had learned. This gift had not
been given to me to keep secret.
“A writer, Bud Shrake, who lived in the hills near the club, came to visit me
under the trees on this particular morning. “That morning under the trees we
opened my Little Red Book.”
Wikipedia states the book became the number-one selling golf book of
all time and calls Coach Penick perhaps the best golf coach of the
mental game. Among his star pupils, Mr. Penick lists Ben Crenshaw
(Masters Tournament champion) and Tom Kite (in his day the top money
winner for professional golfers and a U.S. Open champion).
The book is essentially 80 golf lessons, clearly stated in one to two pages.
A few are longer. What struck me immediately was the common-sense
approach, yielding succinct lessons. Lessons Coach Penick describes as
proven help. I doubt if anyone could make me much of a golfer. But more
than golf was the realization that this man knows how to teach and coach.
And he was the same kind of professional gentleman as my mentor,
Mr. Jim Leighton. Coach Leighton was Harvey-in-tennis. Perhaps not as
well-known, but he had the same kind of effective teaching techniques.
And, as I read Coach Penick’s book, I was stunned by the similarities with
Coach Leighton and the career experiences I had gathered over 50 years
of teaching and coaching.
Coach Leighton finished his career at Wake Forest University. The tennis
stadium is named for him. His book, Inside Tennis: Techniques of Winning is
a stellar tennis work.
My own writing is limited. I tried to compile a guide to coaching college
tennis in the early ’80s but abandoned the effort until 2007. Play Is Where
Life Is was about one-third tennis.
Like Coach Penick, I thought that was it. However, Coach Penick
published three more books. I like all of them, especially the title of his
second: If You Read This Book You Are My Pupil, And If You Play Golf You Are
My Friend. My son Dan says I am “on the other side of the digital divide” and
introduced me to blogging. The Little Red Book of golf may be the
first golf blog. I doubt if Harvey realized what was to come.

My blog (www.tomparham.wordpress.com) was a way to continue
writing—and writing about tennis especially.
I do not consider myself in a league with either Coach Penick or Coach
Leighton. I do have an admiration and appreciation for both. And a
realization that they both went about conveying proven valuable lessons
in a language and style that is quite similar.
Bob Dylan sang, “you’ve got to get up close to the teacher if you want to
learn anything.” (“Workingman’s Blues #2”). The Little Green Book of Tennis is
my attempt to pay tribute to these two great teachers/coaches/
gentlemen and their techniques.
Like Coach Penick I have tried diligently to select the lessons that
are valuable and true in tennis. Most have a connection to my many hours
spent with Coach Leighton.

PATHWAY TO GAMBLING?

 

I was a head tennis coach for forty years for two different colleges. Twenty years at Atlantic Christian/Barton College, twenty at Elon University. Most of our teams were in the National Association of Intercollegiate Association (NAIA). Elon years included NCAA 11 then NCAA 1

In 1972 the NAIA voted on college tennis’s most volatile issue; international players were completely dominating college rosters. Enclosed are a small percentage of letters I have written in an attempt to support American Junior players and their families in pursuing college tennis scholarships. This issue over the years spread from the NAIA men’s rosters to the NCAA11, NCAA1, both men and women’s teams.

*https://wordpress.com/post/littlegreenbookoftennis.com/1749

 

In 2017 my friend Chuck Kriese, former Clemson tennis coach, asked me to be a panelist at a meeting in Bradenton FL. to deal with this issue. (I thought) Coach Kriese has long been an ally on the international issue. There were ten people on the “panel” and I was asked to speak first (see notes). I did so attempting to gain support for tennis scholarships for Americans.

The second speaker startled me and others with his topic. Stripped down, it proposed to bring smaller satellite tournaments for college tennis in America. One panel member questioned where was the financing of these local tournaments coming from? Response: “we already have five million dollars in reserve.” Silence! Who is that sponsor was the question from the floor. I do not remember the name but another panelist replied “that is a gambling outfit in Europe isn’t it?” Yes was the answer. We all seemed a little stunned. And did not bring up the subject through the next several presentations.

As I exited the meeting Coach Kriese stopped me and asked “what do you think?” I was very frank with my friend –“Chuck this is an attempt to bring big time gambling to American College Tennis.” I was then no longer involved with this effort.

Concern for the game I reported this development to all involved in American tennis that I thought should be aware. Hardly anyone was aware of such a movement and I worried about overreacting and put my concern aside.

Still it nagged at me. How about the pro who revealed this scenario in the meeting: ”yes, one of my fifteen year old players asked me what to do about that man.”  Why?

“He stopped me on the way to the dressing room and offered me $1500.00 to lose the second set”.

One statistic said the volume of betting on tennis was second only to soccer in Europe.

The light comes on! With the ability to electronically report the current score of a tennis match worldwide was now technologically available to anyone as the official punched in the score. Anybody, tennis knowledgeable or not could place a bet on anything in the game. Second serve a double fault? Total number of games played per match?

Light #2. Gamblers get a 4% vigorish on any bet. The more bets the more 4% flows to management.

Voila. Where can you find the most number of tennis matches played in the world? Europe satellites? Nope. College tennis in America, no where close. Men & women, all divisions. How about Old Dominion’s number four girl against number four from William & Mary?

Will NC’s number two guy win the next point? 4% !

Today’s paper features an article entitled “New Series Seeks A Improved Pathway To Pro’s for US Tennis”.

Did I attend the beginnings of this current attempt? Is this really a “pathway to gambling”?

ORACLE is now the ITA (College Tennis) leading sponsor. All gamblers need now is that score recorder in a college referee’s hands. Worth watching this all develop?

COMMENT BY LANE EVANS

This is very insightful coach.  Well done!  I hope this is not a trend that will increase.  Gambling in tennis will paralyze our sport.  There are too many issues in sports as a whole to have this muddle the mix.  I have heard of the few regulars that show up at tour events and college matches with cell phones in hand ready to call the next bet.  Some have been stopped but just like the drug traffic, there is another right behind them to take their place.  High school, college and tour coaches need to unite in integrity.  They need to draw their lines in the sand and let the tennis world know that they are not going to participate.  Period and without discussion. Violators should be prosecuted for the fullest extent possible.  No exceptions.  No appeals.  Put me in charge of it.  I’ll take care of this quick, fast and in a hurry.  Anything that tarnishes our game is off limits.  We saw some fantastic performances at the Open over the past few weeks.  Gambling has no place among that royalty.  le

COMMENT BY DR. JOHN  EATMAN

BARRIERS

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
People literally went to the movie GONE WITH THE WIND to hear the “damn” word spoken on film.
Similar words exist today. The worst is the N word. Won’t type it. “F”ing” has become a current dodge. Two current books with “F**K in the title were on the Pearl Street book store shelf in Boulder recently.
In an earlier blog I stated the noble sage, Coach Morningstar, said sex was undefeated. Several caught me and reminded me that “Pussy is undefeated” is the quotable assertion. The late Robin Williams stated his favorite word was pussy. Pussy Galore made a Bond film. Tis a different day when the President says, “…I just grab’em by the pussy!”
What has this got to do with the current version of WHERE ARE WE NOW AND HOW DID WE GET HERE?
The Morningstar dictum comes into play often in the political arena. Think Bill Clinton, John Edwards, JFK, FDR,etc. Republicans equally. Wilbur Mills was a classic. Spike Lee calls Trump, “Agent Orange”; certainly a barrier-breaker in the world of civility.
I would have fired Bill Clinton for his disrespectful variation of the above opine. Yet revisiting the “W” days and the following, when an unjust war, written off the books, and deregulation (costing the American public 17 trillion dollars), it seems that blow jobs and balanced budgets may be preferable to what happened 2000 to 2008. Not to mention the 18 years of growing debt, bloodshed, and despair from that dishonest war decision.
It is hard to remember unity, but just prior to the 2008 election the large majority of democrats and republicans agreed, that no matter who was elected it would take a long, long time to right the ship. Literally within months after his election, Obama was being blamed for the whole mess, and chastised for not having it all forgotten. By the same token “I don’t care about anything else, Trump is a BUSINESS MAN” has been trumpeted by the loonies. And he credits himself for a nine year financial upswing. This bravado began within almost weeks of his swearing in, yet the beginning of the steady upswing goes back to 2009, OBAMA, YEAR 1-FIRST TERM.
I hope we can unify, our only chance to make America great again. It will take a long time. Whether we can return to greatness (and hopefully civility) will demand effort by all citizens, not by self proclamation.

TOURNAMENT TIME

Born male, in 1940 in North Carolina with the “love of sports” gene, son of a a Baptist minister who graduated from “old Wake Forest” ,  I was a Demon Deacon.

“WE” beat  Everett Case and the dominant Wolfpack twice by one point (71-70 and 51-50),  with my Dad and I listening to Ray Reeves on the Atwater Kent radio.  No TV yet.  Dickie Hemric, Lowell “Lefty”Davis, Coach Murray Greason, with Bones as assistant.

Bad news, good news from Raleigh’s News and Disturber:  1. BAD–The N&O has forgotten that WFU is part of the “big four”.  Coverage, current and historical, neglects Winston Salem as part of the state.   2.  GOOD:  Larry Silverberg, a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering was published today (March 3, 2018) with an article entitled MATH REVEALS THE PERFECT FREE THROW.

Malcolm Gladwell concluded Michael Jordan missed baseball “clunkering” and thus couldn’t hit at the major league level.*  Having watched the “ball bounce”  a lot of times, I was pleased with Professor Silverberg’s conclusions.  Some I wrote about on this blog in 2011.  Check blog 13 on GOLF PUTTING AND FREE SHOW SHOOTING.https://littlegreenbookoftennis.com/?s=free+throws

What a week in Atlantic Coast Conference.  Duke vs Carolina tonight  after FSU over Duke, Miami over Carolina, and Georgia Tech over State in three of the most exciting games of the year.  The “new ACC guys” upped the ante this week.

Want to know who is gonna win the final four.?   The ones who make the free throws at the end.   Clunk.

My  eleven year old grandson plays his season finale today for the BOULDER BUFFALOES.  His dad is a sub coach.  The regular coach has three young kids.  One, almost always wears his spiderman suit.  Sometimes to bed,  Coach says.  In a community center with six courts he runs the “side game”.   These are games of little brothers and sisters with their own rules and games.  This kid RUNS the side game.   Our last trip to Boulder included the eleven year old brother’s b-ball game.   Lennox is our other grandson.  He’d just turned two, but was sick.  When our family, en mass, walked in the gym, Spiderman asked abruptly,  “Where’s Lennox?”  My Son commented,  “Lennox can hang.  Spiderman likes him as backup.”   Made me proud.

*CLUNKERING”:  Gladwell say Michael missed those years baseball people put in watching the nuances of the game, or clunkering. (Spin on the ball, pitcher’s mannerisms and “tells”, etc.).         “Shop time, baby!”—Coach Mickey Brown.

 

 

 

SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS

Beach dwellers are, or should be, aware of sun and skin damage.  My bride, having worked for a dermatologist, and being a natural mother monkey, watches my elder status closely.  Ear and nose bristles are common kudzu-like growers and thus, targets. “Stand up straight!”  “Put your shirt on”.   “Your toenails need attention”.

The look on her face this summer, however, was different.    Voice alarmed as she spoke to shirtless me this summer.  “Come here a minute.  How long has that black mole been on your chest?”

Oh, that’s just a flake of a Klondike chocolate bar I ate yesterday.  It’ll come off in the ocean.  C’mon.

Am I wrong or isn’t getting harder to eat a Klondike bar without getting a flake or two on you?