The annual trip to Palm Desert this year was not a disappointment. The weather, as usual, was incredible. The hospitality was second to none. The tennis was sensational. What more could we ask for!
On Friday night, we were hosted to a potluck dinner by the wonderful Hank & Sandy Abouaf in their home at The Lakes in Palm Desert. We drank and ate and were merry for hours, seeing friends and family that we had not seen since last year at this time in some cases.
On Saturday, we played tennis at Ironwood Country Club and our teams came out a little ahead with us winning most of the matches and in some cases, mixing around with their players in friendly men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles matches. As always, Marc Dubois, the Ironwood director was a wonderful host, offering fruit, muffins, and juice to our players in front of their fine pro shop.
Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed cocktails at Nancy & Larry’s new home in the “college” streets of Palm Desert. The house looked gorgeous. We then hiked over to The Nest for a rowdy dinner with 25 people in tow and our own private back room at the hottest spot in Indian Wells. We ate crab cakes, filet mignon, and other goodies while enjoying wine and beer throughout the evening.
Sunday morning, we all dragged ourselves out of bed for more tennis at Woodhaven Country Club. Leif and Melanie were our tennis hosts, offering up courts for us to compete on. We played tennis amongst ourselves then went to Maureen and Richard’s home to watch football, talk about our tennis exploits and prepare for the long drive back to the Marina.
All in all, this trip was a blast, with so many different levels of player and personalities, how could anyone not have a good time!!!
We would like to start an evening doubles tennis clinic for women at the B-level. The proposed time is 7-8:30pm on Thursdays. Please contact Gene if you would be interested is this clinic. Cost would be $25-30 / player with a minimum of 4 players enrolled.
We’ve started a junior tennis clinic at Mcc on court #3. The class meets on Wednesdays 4-5pm and is coached by Gene.
Cost is $15-$30 / child depending on attendance.
The class is co-ed for beginner – intermediate players who want to learn how to play tennis and keep score in real matches. Open to ages 9-11 (flexible depending on ability and size of the child).
Please contact Gene at email@example.com or call 310-578-4949 to enroll. Enrollment is on-going, so until the class reaches capacity (8 students) Gene will accept students, then consider starting another class.
In a match of biblical proportions on a rainy, windy Saturday, the “dia de los muertos” featured “Neon” Deion Reed and Chris “Debonair” Debonnet against Lamont “Can’t Lose” Cosby and “Stormin'” Norman Jones. The match started with all the hallmarks of good competitive tennis, rapid fire points, and solid first serves. Through six games, everyone held serve, then at 3-4, with Deion serving at 15-all, Lamont tracked down an angled volley by Chris and bunted it back as he ran into the west fence. Chris tried to finesse the shot over, but caught the tape, giving Norm and Lamont a leg up. With that small advantage, Norm hit a solid return to force an error to go up 15-40. Deion came back and hit an excellent forehand through the middle to make it 30-40. Once again, Norm produced solid tennis to force another mistake as Jones / Cosby took the break to go up 5-3. Norm served out the set in fine fashion at love, giving them the set 6-3.
The second set was very touch and go, as the players tried to eke out an advantage, but no one could take advantage of the few break points there were. Big serves produced many return errors as both teams held to 5-5. The pressure was palpable. Deion served to maintain their one game advantage, but after a couple missed shots, suddenly Lamont and Norm were up 0-40, with four break points in the no-ad format to come. Chris and Deion slapped away the first 2 breakers with a strong overhead and a good serve, however, Deion netted a shoe-lace volley, finally conceding the first break of the second set. With Lamont set to end the match with another hold, the spectators were bound to be disappointed as they wanted more good tennis in the form of a second set tiebreaker. After a double fault and a missed volley, Norm and Lamont were down and it seemed possible a tiebreaker was in the offing. Sure enough, a solid shot by Chris and another by Deion produced errors that led to a break, giving the fans exactly what they hoped for.
In the tiebreak, Norm and Lamont built a 3-1 advantage, but an errant forehand, let Deion and Chris back in. At 5-5, Norm hit a wide serve and Lamont put away a floater across the middle to arrive at match point. Deion hit a solid serve to Norm’s lefty forehand. Norm hit a sharp angled return that sent Deion over the fence and his shot into the tape. Lamont and Norm were triumphant 6-3, 7-6(5). It was a wonderful match with good sportsmanship and plenty of tension. Congrats to all the players for showing what great athletes they are.
The Calcutta was an amazing tournament this year. Although we did not raise as much cash for the Boys & Girls Club of Venice ($402), we did have a great weekend of camaraderie and exceptional sportsmanship this year. Every player showed genuine concern for fairness. The athletes were jovial with one another throughout, even when the big money was on the line in the latter stages of the tournament.
Ten teams entered, but unfortunately, only four teams could finish “in the money.” In the finals of the Gold Division we had Sheelagh Boyd teamed with Mike Skolnik against the fearsome duo of Barbara Rubin and Jack Hubka. This match as a barn burner, with the outcome in doubt to the very last point. In the end, Skolnik and Boyd took the Gold trophy 32-28, 31-32, 32-31 in the third set after a see-saw battle in the first two sets.
In the battle for third place in the main draw, we had Elliot Nache (last year’s finalist) teaming with a newcomer to the Calcutta, Linda Fuller. On the other side of the net were Maureen Hunt (last year’s Calcutta champ) teamed with Carl Hoppe, another Calcutta virgin. Linda and Elliot proved to be too much with a deft blend of Elliot’s power and Linda’s consistency, they triumphed in two close sets.
In the main draw finals, the two lowest handicapped teams battled it out while the rest of us ate burgers and chips. Karen Berliner and Carlos Dunkerly (Calcutta champ in 2011) had a handicap of 5, while Mio Charles and Jim Richards came in with a handicap of 4. Mio and Jim established a tempo right from point one, with Mio being aggressive from the baseline and Jim swarming the net. Along with a high first serve percentage, they played very high level tennis and never let Carlos and Karen get rhythm or position long enough to make a dent in their armor. Although Carlos and Karen tried every trick they knew, Mio and Jim had a date with destiny, dominating the final 32-13, 32-21. Congrats to all who were able to sustain a high level of play in this challenging and unfamiliar format. Thanks to all the people who donated their time and money for the auction and for this exciting brand of tennis. I hope to see some more of you participating next year as there’s no tournament like the Calcutta!