Tenaciously Tennis

That Time I Tried Out for the Oxford Blues

Posted in Uncategorized by Ben on October 13, 2011
Tags: , , , ,

Look at that wicked forehand and those Murray-esque features! Photo: Daniel Csete.

It’s not any tennis fan who can say that he’s traveled from working the site of the greatest tournament in North America, the US Open, to the courts used by the Oxford University Blues within the span of, oh, about a month. Needless to say, I can. (Hooray, me, right?) Okay, so maybe it isn’t  the most ground-breaking of accomplishments in one’s life, but I’m certainly going to get as much out of the experience. That is, of course, why I’m selecting to write about it when I probably should be reading “Reinventing Film Studies,” or even “The Merchant of Venice” for an upcoming tutorial. Relax, I have a week until my next!

And, yes, this little anecdote is certainly noteworthy enough for me to feel inspired to stop analyzing a Woody Allen film — yes, they let you take that kind of course at Oxford (if you can work the system to your advantage, or simply be a visiting student and an American Studies and Communications double major who can only take a Woody Allen film course to fulfill needed requirements) — for a little bit. Lord knows I’ve already cooped myself up for a day doing that. And, no, it wasn’t pretty. It’s actually kind of ironic that I was obsessing over writing an essay about obsession in Annie Hall. Woody Allen will do that to you.

Anyway, that’s a story for another time. Phew, it’s actually nice to write about tennis for the first time in over a month!

Ah, yes. Where was I? Yes, I was recounting that time in every man’s life when he decides to swallow his pride and, despite knowing he probably won’t cut it, dons his tennis gear and grabs his dust-covered Babolat rackets for a hit. He puts away his tissues, needed for the cold that comes with the UK’s wacky weather changes and from the remnants of jet lag, and gets ready to play. Mind you, this was my first time actually engaging in the sport in about two weeks, not to mention one in only a handful of times throughout the summer. I’ve decided to remember this summer, filled with internships and awesome opportunities at some of the finest institutions in the tennis media industry, as one in which I watched a lot of tennis, but played excruciatingly little.

Nonetheless, being a Goucher Gopher — and quite proud of that fact — I was confident enough in my abilities going into the fray to at least not get hit off the court. I probably should’ve taken the hint that, upon nearing the sports complex, people could actually keep a high-level rally going for more than five shots. I chose to ignore that and powered on, sniffling from my cold the whole way.

Okay, so in the end I wasn’t quite hit off the court as much as I was, politely, asked to leave the premises to allow others to use the segment of the court my embarrassing play must have been dirtying up. I exaggerate, of course. I was definitely hit off the court. But, hey, at least they were polite about asking me to pack up my bags and get the heck away! Them Brits, eh?

And, so, while I was ultimately unsuccessful in my aims to represent American Division III tennis in the United Kingdom, or get the chance at instilling fear in the hearts of a Cambridge University athlete, I do have this story.

Maybe social tennis every Saturday won’t be too bad after all? I’m just crazy enough about the sport to check it out.

For more of that exciting work in the tennis industry I mentioned earlier, check out my online portfolio here.


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