Monday, May 23, 2011

Fair Play: It's the end of my world as I know it

IF YOU are reading this, it either means you’re here stuck with me, left to languish in hellish Earth until October or some crackpot minister has been caught laughing his way to the bank.

Either way, you’re here and it’s not the end of the world, for us.

But just last Friday, it seemed it was the end of the sporting world for me. I couldn’t move a muscle and laughing brought me to tears. When climbing the stairs, it seemed I was carrying the spirits every other guy has drunk and when I lifted my right arm, it felt I was lifting a metal cross.


Nope, I didn’t run butt-naked from Capitol to Cebu City Hall, which I had planned to do today had the world really ended last Saturday.

Rather, I did something more taxing.

Thursday night, I spent some three hours playing tennis with Jana Pages, Hannah Espinosa, Sallymae Siso and coach Dodong Ruelan at the Casino Español de Cebu tennis courts. It was part of the Sportswriters Association of Cebu regular activities but it wasn’t just sportswriters who joined.

City Hall reporter Princess Dawn Felicitas showed up with her mean, two-handed backhand, and photographer Ruel Rosello, who is also a runner, cyclist, painter and sketch artist, showed he can add “tennis player” to his resume. Boxing reporter Edri K. Aznar, who gamely played the part of a ball-girl, was also there, together with Jingo Quijano, who I think almost knocked the lights at the court, out. Twice.

Our intern from UP, Mia Faridoon, showed up too with her buddy (and fellow beauty
queen) Cheska Geli and both, as well as pugilists/writers Edri and Jingo, got treated to knockout lessons by coach Ruelan, Sallymae and Hannah.

My brother Max was there, too, but he left after challenging and losing to me, 3-2, with the game ending on a line drive to the baseline. (However, he may have a different recollection of the game and the result.)

Of course, it wouldn’t have happened if not for SAC president John Pages, who showed that he maybe decades removed from the junior scene, he still can wallop that ball.

John also shared some tips and also took part in a short drill with Mia and Cheska.

Like a drill sargeant, John later watched as his daughter Jana and Niño Baylasis rallied for a few minutes, instructing them to try to hit 50 shots before hitting the net. I think they managed 40 before John told them again to try to hit as hard as they could.

The three-hour tennis clinic resulted in muscle-pains in parts of my body that I never knew I had but, like most participants, what we wanted to know was, “when’s the next session?”

The fact is, we had too much fun playing tennis John had to practically beg us to take a break as the food was getting cold. And I think that was the only media-gathering that I was in where food was ignored.

The Thursday clinic reminded me of how fun tennis can be. During time off from college, my friends and I would spend most of the vacation on the court for hours, just goofing off.

Facing Sallymae and Jana was my highlight of the clinic. I knew both were holding back but they were hitting quite solid shots at me. I managed to return some but I was thinking, the guys I faced, some of whom were the top players in my town long before the two were ever born, didn’t hit as hard as the two!

Sallymae was even impressive, she used that classic wooden racket and it didn’t even seem to affect her shots. I think she could have updated her Facebook status while returning my shots.

I had so much fun that I’ve vowed to end my non-tennis world, and play the game, regularly! Blisters and body pains be damned.

4 comments:

Cebu Football » Fair Play: It's the end of my world as I know it said...

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Cebu Football » Fair Play: It's the end of my world as I know it | The Tennis News said...

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