Tennis not always a civilized sport

Published 8:43 pm Thursday, May 14, 2009

Anyone who knows me from my days growing up in Baldwin County will not be surprised about this, but my athletic career was nothing much to write about.

And, as most of you have read in recent weeks, my athletic prowess on the golf course is also nothing to brag about, either.

In high school, I had many interests, primarily of which was band because the girl-to-boy ratio was heavily in my favor.

But, in my junior and senior years, I competed on the high school tennis team.

Now, Robertsdale High School was known for many things at the time I was attending, but a tennis powerhouse was not among them.

In Baldwin County, we often played teams whose members were members of exclusive country clubs in the Gulf Shores area or the Eastern Shore areas that employed top-notch tennis professionals and instructors.

Many of these teams had players who were born with both a silver spoon in their mouth and a silver tennis racket in their right hand.

Our team, on the other hand, included young men who needed a sport to stay in shape before football practices began, or at least knew how to keep score in the game.

Over a two-year stretch, though, our team had a perfect record. In 32 matches, we went a combined 0-32. Perfect.

We didn’t enjoy being the Detroit Lions or Auburn Tigers of the tennis world. We competed hard and made every attempt to win.

In two such occasions, our lack of a win, in addition to a few snide comments from those “silver spooned” individuals, made for interesting matches that would have been confused for a hockey game.

In two matches, I, in addition to a few of my teammates, became upset at what we felt were inappropriate comments, and we responded in kind.

So again, in two years we were 0-32 involving tennis and 2-0 involving hand-to-hand combat.

I know tennis is supposed to be a civilized game, but what do you expect to happen when you combine teenage boys, testosterone, tennis racquets and winless frustration?

If you think this is a bad example of sportsmanship, you should have met our chess team.