I'm back home drinking coffee and trying to stay in vacation mode for one more day before work intrudes. I always hate to unpack because that means that the holiday is truly over. I suppose that I will have to get to that if I want to wear clean undies tomorrow.
I left you after our day with Bob & Mike Bryan, dad Wayne and Coach David Macpherson. I was up with the sun having coffee on the patio. The gas fire pits that were at Rancho Las Palmas were wonderful. Instead of writing, I was warming my feet, watching the sun rise, sipping coffee and talking to Laura about all the fun from the day before and eagerly awaiting our moring session on the courts with Lindsay Davenport and her husband John Leach.
The first thing you notice about Linday is that she's tall (as you can see by the picture). I'll grant that I'm short (5' 3") but I don't think I've met a woman that tall before. Immediately after what strikes you is her smile and cheerful eyes. Then she gets on court and what beautiful form and strokes. Not only does it look easy but it's beautiful. Again, like with the Bryan's, I fully expected to feel at least a little intimidated the first time I faced her waiting for a feed. But not a bit. So easy and natural, all I felt was that I could do it.
We were the last group to rotate down to where we were working on hitting specific spots on the court. Lindsay told us there was a prize for hitting one of the cones but they didn't know what it was because no one had done it yet. The gauntlet was thrown down. I had already won a prize with Coach Allam for the hop-hit drill (like chewing gum, walking and patting your head and stomach at the same time), could I do it again?
One of the best things about this trip was finding out what I do right. It's easy for me to know when I'm doing something wrong, but even when I'm winning it's not so easy to know if I'm making good decisions, if the other person is making bad ones, etc. In this drill I found out that one of my favorite spots to aim at is one that you should aim at; the #4 spot, the back corner of the ad court. Sure enough, my 3rd time through the line I landed a ball smack on the cone. Elation! [It really doesn't take much to make me happy].
A very interesting experience was playing a game against John Leach. Three people on court playing games. When time was called, the winner moved up a court, the loser down a court and the middle person stayed. I had won one game during the 3rd round when John stepped in to play against me, and he's going to serve. First thought "oh right, like I'm going to have any chance at all"; second thought "ok, make him have to exert himself to win". Crazy kick serve, hard but not unhittable. I do have to face 4.5 guys in mixed. Put it back short and we both came in, 4 or 5 volleys a piece and I caught him going low a put a lob-volley over his head. 0-15. Next serve was a bit harder but I got it back and he gave me a short ball but I was afraid to come in and he blasted my return down the line. 15-15 Good coach that he is, he pointed out that he had given me a chance and I should have hit a back hand short and wide (#5 spot). I agreed and he said "so why didn't you do it?" and I said "because it's you over there". He laughed and said "doesn't matter who you face, go for the right shot even if you don't make it". Excellent advice. Another exchange, in to the net, frantic (on my part) volleys and a low back hand shot at his feet...some times it doesn't pay to be tall. At this point the court next to us has stopped playing and is watching. 15-30 Now I get this serve that kicks up 20 feet over my head; I'm back against the fence and I couldn't hit it. We're both laughing and and I said "if you have to hit a serve like that to win a point you must be afraid of me". Fun, fun.
I had planned to spend the afternoon floating around and around the lazy river pool but it had turned cold so several of us decided on more tennis after lunch. Three sets later I was half wishing that I had taken a nap but heck, I can sleep in Savannah.
On to the tournament grounds where the Bryan Brothers Band was playing. Almost didn't recognize the boys in street clothes and hair. They were up on the stage in the Food Court with Michael Johns (American Idol star) on vocals, Bob on keyboard, Mike on guitar, George Holdcroft on sax, and Jim Bogios (Counting Crows -among other things) on drums. Now we had already met Jim on Wednesday. He's a very good tennis player and he came out and played with us when Bryans came out. He is an excellent tennis player but it was magical watching the sticks come alive in his hands. People were packed around the stage but Laura and I did get to say "hi" to Jim when he came off stage for a couple minutes and we just happened to be walking by that side. It was quite funny to see 5 fans approaching him to obviously ask for an autograph stop dead when he saw us and gave us each a big hug. I could just see them thinking "who are those women? are they famous? should we know them?"
Finally made it into the main stadium where we had seats about 20 rows up from the court. It was freezing. I had on a shirt, a jacket and then a fleece jacket. I was sitting there thinking that I should have put on my sweatshirt too. Angelica sits down with a blanket and says that she told Mark that he didn't have to buy her another birthday present for the rest of her life if he would just buy her a blanket [I have a feeling she might get something anyway]. Made it through one set and decided to go buy a blanket. Paul's sitting next to me and says "are you cold?" and I said "yes, my legs. The jeans are doing nothing to keep out the cold." He says "do you want my coat (leather)? I'm not cold." I look at him in disbelief, everyone is freezing (Mark has 3 coats on and he's cold) but he's not? I said "Really, you're not cold?" "I'm from Scotland, mate, this is nothing". All my scruples about taking his coat vanished and I was halfway comfortable through the next set. I was glad to hitch a ride back early to the hotel though, climb under the wonderful down duvet and drift off to sleep praying that the rain stayed away for the next day.