General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Pointless

Dreams are pointless. Ultimately disappointing, full of heartbreak, and totally and completely pointless. They are simply a mask that temporarily blinds the inevitable pathos that comes when reality hits us smack in the face.

I was dumb enough to let myself dream about ber. To allow myself the faintest glimmer of hopes that against the most improbable of odds, she, the Beauty, and I, the Beast, might someday meet and get to know one another, for real, and fall in love, and…

It’s too hard to finish that thought. You can fill in the rest of the details. You know them. Everyone knows them. Most everyone who isn’t with someone longs for the same. At some point. But tragically, some never even begin to find it. That’s because their dreams die.

I believe that my own dreams, about her, are based on a myth. A hoax. A fabrication that is part marketing genius and part a campaign driven by a hi-tech social media posting “bot” that’s been specially designed to build a “brand” for her and turn her into an internet “influencer” or seller. And I think this or these “bots” is or are being run by her or a marketing strategist who knows of my affection for her and uses the content I have dreamed and written and created just for her, to sell her to agents, producers, modeling agencies, or horny followers, fans, sponsors, escorts, dates she may met through social media or whatever. And this thought hurts and sickens me like nothing I have experienced in my life. Because I fell in love with her, and dreamed of her being mine.

It’s not that, if true, if she has forsaken everything tennis for a life of internet-based modeling, or promoting, or selling things using her looks for a living, this would make her any different than the endless number of other would-be models out there in cyberspace who do the same, but I still feel used. I thought she was different. And I let myself fall so totally in love with her because in my heart I genuinely believed she was different. Special. Unique. But apparently I fell for someone who does not respect herself enough to care about the tasteless, rude, and sometimes obscene comments from “fans” and “followers” she collects on social media. People who follow adult models and porn stars follow her, and her more famous tennis playing friend, but out of the hundreds, sometimes thousands of “sexy women” these people follow, they follow no other tennis players. How can this be? What is wrong with this picture? What is it that she, or her marketing strategist is doing to gain the type of follower that lumps her in the same circles as these adult performers or models? It’s disturbing. Is she doing that kind of work now? That thought is disturbing too.

Heartbreaking.

Pointless.

And worst of all it is painfully obvious that in this mad dash of hers for fame and fortune, she does not care that there exists someone, out here, who cares about her, genuinely, more than anything, who would very much like to meet her.

Or is there more here than meets the eye? Because I truly want to believe in her.

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

When We’re Singin’

I was so very sad to learn of the death, yesterday, of 1970s pop icon, musician, TV star and teen idol David Cassidy. His portrayal of California-cool Keith Partridge, oldest brother and lead vocalist of “The Partridge Family” in the 1970s, influenced a generation of pop music lovers, including yours truly. The girls loved him, for the obvious. The guys loved him, because he was the Guy you wanted to be–handsome, popular, charming, nice, and best of all, a great musician. No question about it, he will be missed.

Cassidy passed away near his home in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, after being hospitalized with organ failure for several days. He was sixty-seven. Earlier this year, Cassidy had revealed that he had been diagnosed with dementia.

Every time I think about the girl of my dreams, I can’t help thinking about that wonderful line of Hugh Grant’s from Four Weddings and a Funeral:

“I really feel, ehh, in short, to recap it slightly in a clearer version, eh, the words of David Cassidy in fact, eh, while he was still with The Partridge Family, eh, “I think I love you,” and eh, I-I just wondered by any chance you wouldn’t like to… Eh… Eh… No, no, no of course not… I’m an idiot, he’s not… Excellent, excellent, fantastic.”

RIP, David.

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Broken

I only wish you knew how much I care about you, how badly it feels to have such a broken heart. I’m ashamed of the thoughts that creep into my head sometimes, the sophmoric acts I do because,..

You see, I’m in love with you. I’m truly, madly, deeply in love with you. Every spirited, ornery, feminine, feminist, beautiful, sexy, divine part of you. I don’t even know how it happened, but it surely did. Seven years is not a crush.

I wish you cared about me the way I care about you. I’m resigned to the fact that will never happen. I wouldn’t stand a chance, for everyone else is in love with you too.

But I want you to know, I liked you before you became friends with You-Know-Who and her millions of fans. And it wasn’t just because you’re pretty. I would never settle for something like that. I hope you can see that I am not that simple. But seven years later, I can’t forget you. What I saw in you. The Little Things. You are uniquely special. To me you are complex, delicate, intelligent, stylish, sophisticated, compassionate, tempestuous, courageous. I adore you far more than I have the words to express.

It seems silly to say things like that because we’ve never met. But is it so silly to feel like we have? After all, you are my dreamgirl.

I think about you. So often. Always. Always. That’s why it hurts so much. To let go. To realize that, as many times as I’ve thought of you, dreamed of you, of holding your hand, exchanging knowing glances over a romantic candlelight, that will never happen. You’re simply better than silly things that.

Do me one favor before you go off on your journey to be famous. Please flash that genuine, innocent smile again. The one I saw years ago when I saw you play. When I saw you I thought you were an angel. Please let me see that beautiful smile one more time.

And please be happy.

No matter what, I will always, always be in love with you.

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Better

I wish so much that I were someone else. Anyone else. So that I wouldn’t have to cringe in fear every time I look in a mirror. So that I would never have to be reminded of how ugly I am. How disgusting women surely think I am. How worthless. Not good enough. Never good enough.

I am stupid enough to dream and suffer the biggest, grandest, most catestrophic heartbreak of my life and now I hate every bit of me. Clearly everyone else does. Why shouldn’t I?

I used to have hope. I would daydream of a nice life with someone, a warm, friendly home somewhere quiet and peaceful, a happy and beautiful family to take of, a dog or two, maybe a cat, a big yard with lots of shade trees, dinners and outings with the neighbors, golf with the guys while she’d adventure with her girl troop, and probably come home with lots of new shoes, bridge night together with with the Joneses, walks on the beach with her, hand in hand, tenderly, dancing under a David Bowie moon with her until the break of Dawn, raising our children with pride.

But dreams like these are for people far more beautiful, far more successful, far more intelligent, far wealthier, far more charming, far more…everything…than me. It is a cruel and bitter irony that my dreams are in technicolor when I cannot escape living in monochrome. I’m caught in a nightmare, no hope, dreams forever dashed.

I wish I could be someone else. My life might have been so much different. Better.

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Stupid

I am stupid. For years I labored under the delusion that I possessed some degree of intelligence, but the fact is, I really am dumb.

“Delusion” is probably a pretty good word, actually, for over these past several years I have willingly let myself fall head over heels for someone–call her, the Girl–who clearly has no idea who I am and wouldn’t want to if she did. I thought, for a long while, that she did. I tried my best to think she did. There is a scientific principal called Occam’s Razor which basically says that the simplest explanation between alternative theories, the one that incorporates the fewest assumptions, is usually the one that is true, and so, I poured over every detail of every fact, post, hit, view, like, comment and tag that I could find on social media that even tangentially related to the Girl and my complete and total head over heels crush on her, until I had ruled out every preposterous theory I could invent to try to convince myself that it really wasn’t or couldn’t be her watching: that I was being catfished; that I was being stalked by an internet bettor or bettors using my content somehow, based on her matches and her record against certain opponents, to place bets in other matches; that someone equally smitten with the Girl, better than me, was watching my every move to learn more about her, as if I knew. And so on.

The only obvious answer, the simplest one, when everything ridiculous was stripped away, as extremely unlikely as it seemed, was that it was her–she had somehow found the things I had written about her, found the videos I had made for her, and seen the comments I had written to her on social media, and that somehow we were getting to “know” each other, from a distance, over the miles, in a way that would make a sitcom writer or romance novelist delirious with glee.

I know that sounds crazy. It is. Like I said, it is stupid. I am a mere plebe and at a minimum she is a professional athlete and celebrity, and if I had one and only wish it would be her. But I am stupid for thinking that dreams such as mine, about her, could manifest like that.

For what I have learned is that, in “real life”, she is actually a model. I thought she was something else. She clearly used to be, but I guess those days have passed. I knew she was pretty, but I wasn’t aware she was a model. I think she must have kept that part of her life hidden away from the public. The point of course is that a model does not, would not, could not lower herself to the indignity of meeting, dating, being with, speaking with, looking at, anything with a person such as me. A person she wouldn’t want to look at. Couldn’t bear to look at. To a model, a person like me must be a “non-person.” She likes models, is attracted to beautiful people. I can see that now. Why wouldn’t she be? If she were even aware of me she and her pretentious model friends would laugh at how stupid I am for having my ridiculous crush on her. It looks like she has so many boyfriends on social media. Or girlfriends. Or whatever. The number is so large and the affection she spreads around to them through ‘likes’ is so pervasive that, mathematically, as a matter of pure logic, she must be in love with at least some of them.

And that, sadly, is my problem. I was unfortunately cursed, being hit by “the Thunderbolt”, the second I laid eyes on her. From that second, I never ever really wanted to even look at another girl. Of course there are other pretty girls, but what made her special to me, the only Girl, was the light in her eyes, her easy, natural smile, the fact that when I first “found” her she was doing something for a living that I greatly admired and respected and she was great at it, and she had a sense of style and “cool” that made my toes curl even as I think about her now. Thinking about that first encounter, something about her just made me hope that, sometime before I left this Earth, I would get a chance to meet her face to face and get to know her, for real. Even now my heart melts at the thought of what it would be like to hold her hand.

That’s why finding a way to wake up from my dream is heartbreaking, and the truth is, I don’t want to do it. But what is the alternative? I am miserable. Totally, unequivocally, undeniably miserable. I am in love with someone or something that is not for real. At least, will never be for me. She will never know or care that I exist, that my heart breaks with each ‘like’ of hers that I find, that I wish so much that I and my silly music videos and the things I have written about her, offered from my heart in an effort to touch her own, could have mattered to her. Someone will be lucky enough to be with her. But not me. I realize this now. Each day I uncover more and more of the reality of her life that breaks my heart. That I guess maybe she isn’t the girl I hoped she’d be. And whether this person out there, the one that really is watching, and someone is certainly watching, is truly a catfish, or a bettor or somebody else in love with her, or just some ambiguity of the Internet, blinking out or screwing up, I know it is not, and never will be her, watching, waiting, hoping, like me.

It is axiomatic that people like me have no chance to be happy in life, Even our dreams end in failure.

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports

The Art of Don Quixote-ing

This was dumb.

There are stupid ideas, and then, there are the ones you will remember when you are eighty-five. When you can’t remember whether you tied your shoes, or what color your car is, or who passed you the salt, you’ll remember the crazy dumbass things you did in the name of love.

For That Girl. The special one. The one you will never ever be able to forget.

I came here to Miami on that mythical wing and prayer on a hopeless eleventh hour quest to meet the girl of my dreams. I was stupid enough to think that I might actually find her here. It is one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world, after all and she is, well, you know…

Oh, she was in town alright. Looking amazing. Like an angel. Basking in celebrity and collecting the phone numbers of eager admirers lining up to date her, I imagine. I guess I should have known. Expected that. She must attract that kind of attention from suitors whenever she walks into a room. Important people. Glamourous people. The people she must surely be interested in spending her time with. She’s special in that way, destined for greatness. She’s that kind of Girl.

It hurts to realize I’m just not that kind of guy.

Coming here was dumb. Heartbreaking.

I never thought that getting over a dream could be so tough.

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

“Leila”

This is a story I wrote about “almost” happening to meet Heidi El Tabakh. The names were changed to protect the innocent, but the events, such as they were, really happened as I have described them. From my perspective. I’m sure she would have no clue who I am, but to me, she was the center of the Universe, warmer than a ray of sunshine, better than everything good.

I wrote this because, on the very remote chance that she would ever read these words, I wanted her to know that just by being there, by being an inspiration, she made a difference in my life. Made it better. Made me a better person when our paths intersected those on those few occasions. So thank you, dearly, Heidi.

*****

There is a Girl
in every Boy’s Life
that he will never forget….

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

I think about her a lot.

In just about every hour of every day. Even when I am asleep, in my dreams.

I try not to sometimes. Because of the heartbreak that comes with the thought of her and the glamorous circles in which she travels. I imagine that people like me are toejam to people like her.

But the reality is it is the thought of her that makes me feel better. At least in those dreams, while I am sleeping, I can pretend that I am good enough to be with her.

_________________________________________________________________

“Thirty-Fif-TeYEN.”

At precisely two-thirty-seven P.M., the chair umpire, Beatriz Ferreira, called another drop shot winner good. A few in the crowd of about fifty, give or take, laughed. The rest of us choked back some disgusted grunts or whistles. Christ-in-a-manger, Eichmann’s game was annoying. By my estimate, that was about her two hundred and ninety-third drop shot of the match.

I remember, it was Bea in the chair, because of the distinctive cadence in her voice, one that seemed like it had to be cultivated by years of schooling in one of those British prep academies for girls. The ones where the students all wear the same plaid skirts and starched white blouses and look indistinguishable from one another.

I got curious after falling in love with the strangely hypnotic rhythm of her voice at the Sony Open down in Miami one year. I always went to the first week of the Sony, each March. Spending a week in that paradise was like a Rite of Passage each Spring for me. At least, it was a way I could escape the grind of a job I hated for a few days each year. Anyway, I’d Googled Bea after happening to catch her name on a tennis match broadcast on television, and learned that she was Brazilian, but the voice that came out of her sounded, to me anyway, as British as Moneypenny’s.

“Forty-Fif-TeYEN.” Another drop shot.

It was a chilly sixty degree day, even in the January Florida sun, and I’d come to watch the rising stars who played the United States Tennis Association’s Pro Circuit at a $25,000 event in Port St. Lucie, on Florida’s south central east coast. The “Treasure Coast.” Only, today, there was nothing so rich and luxurious and golden about sitting on my hands in sixty degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt on chilly aluminum bleachers while my teeth chattered. But the scritchy scratchy sound of the players’ feet fluttering on the green clay was warm and inviting, and I was starting to wish I’d brought my racquets.

January in Florida meant professional tennis held locally in Florida, and this year, there were three Pro Circuit events held on successive weeks along Florida’s east coast, at Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie, and Daytona Beach. I’d made arrangements to take time off of work to catch a few odd days of the tennis each week, here and there, as following and writing about the professional game was somewhat of a hobby for me.

Angela Eichmann, of Germany, was serving, trying to level her quarterfinal match at a set apiece after nearly two hours of play on the Har Tru on “Stadium Court”, the one normally known as “Court 4” at Tesoro Club. Her first name didn’t sound like its Americanized counterpart, either. I knew that from having seen her play a few times previously, in other tournaments. The ‘g’ was hard, so it sounded like “ON-gay-la.” For some stupid reason, I liked that better than “ANJ-e-la.”

Her mop of blond hair bobbed up and down as she bounced the ball repeatedly, doing her best impression of Djokovic, and trying to catch her breath in between serves. An occasional “YAAAAAASSS!” emanated from deep within her, somewhere, after each of those triumphant drop shots of hers, really throaty too, like some sort of demon was possessing her. It wouldn’t have surprised me, either. No one could try that many drop shots in a match and claim to be sane.

At the other end of the court, Leila Niazy stood waiting. I had to hand it to her, she looked a lot more composed than I was.

“C’mon, Leila!” My flinty shout broke the crisp, dry afternoon air and I don’t honestly know why I yelled it. Maybe I felt some overwhelming sense of offendedness at how Eichmann was managing to construct and win the vast majority of her points. Or maybe it was because of all of those annoying “YAAAAAASSS!”s ON-gay-la was screaming. Or maybe it was something else. Okay, it was something else.

Like any red-blooded American male, I was totally head-over-heels in love with Leila. Well, you, know, “smitten”, I guess, would be a better word, since I didn’t actually know her and she definitely didn’t know me from Adam. To my utter dismay, she wouldn’t have been able to pick me out of a crowd if I’d been on fire.

But I could recite by heart enough of the superficially important stuff about her. The lovely Leila stretched five feet eleven inches, head to toe, hailed originally from Egypt, though she’d lived in the U.S. since she was a child, had gotten her decidedly un-Egyptian name from her Mother, who had a love of Western films, and had the most bewitching dark brown eyes I’d ever seen. Not to mention a completely beguiling smile with unapologetically aligned, snow-white teeth that made a perfect contrast to her dark, golden brown skin which you might dare call ‘camel-colored’ in a less politically correct day and time. Topping all of this off was a mane of dark brown hair that would have made Diana Prince turn green with envy. Leila was indeed tennis’ equivalent of Wonder Woman. She was ethereally pretty, and I couldn’t imagine a heart she wouldn’t make skip a beat.

The first time I ever saw her play, the first thing I noticed about her, from half a court away, was her magnetic doe eyes, and when I’d managed to catch my breath, I managed to shoot about fifteen minutes of her match that day, literally falling in love with her through the lens of my camera. From the first time I saw her play I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

I don’t mean to suggest that I didn’t notice, along the way, the other things, the important things that were open and obvious to an observer in my position. That she was an excellent player, for example, with picturesque, powerful groundstrokes and a strong serve, or that she was spirited, and sometimes a little temperamental for her own good on the court. Kind of like me. The temperamental part. I liked that. And it all made me wonder if she was as wonderful on the inside as she seemed to be to be on the outside. I certainly hoped it to be the case.

I guess Leila heard me cheering because she glanced over as she stepped considerably inside the baseline to return serve, with just the faintest hint of a crease in the corners of her mouth that was trying hard not to be a smile. And in that millisecond, I got more nervous than I’ve been in my life, as though whatever I did next was going to cause some major catastrophe. The way a schoolboy sometimes gets when he is around a girl that he likes. I wondered if she could tell.

*****

From a court and a half away, by my reckoning, the score is now 15-30. It is hard to tell. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures today.

Leila is struggling. She started well enough, breaking Eichmann twice in the first set to take a seemingly comfortable 4-2 lead, imposing her much more powerful game and bombarding her opponent with a number of aces and service winners. But a series of wild returns coupled with a loose serve game knots this contest at 4 games all, shifting the momentum of the match, and, before you know it, Leila has lost the first set 4 games to 6 to the Drop Shot Queen.

A few more sketchy, hard fought serve games and Leila is on the ropes, down a break and serving at 2-4. Eichmann, to her credit, has figured out a strategy to employ against the taller Niazy, whose frustration at moving forward to repeatedly chase down Eichmann’s forehand drop shots is showing.

It will be a long way back today, in the windy and drab, chill and gloom of early January on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

THWACK! A thunderous backhand winner down the line and Leila draws even at 30-all in the Decisive Seventh Game of set two.

Leila’s next serve bounces off the tape, and dribbles aimlessly off the court and toward the stands where a handful of hearty spectators–mostly coaches and fellow players, and…me…sit watching. I’ve driven to Vero for the second time this week, some fifty miles each way, to see Leila play, and on this cold, wet Tuesday, I’d say I am about the only one who isn’t a player, coach or USTA official in attendance.

Eichmann’s coach starts toward the still rolling ball and then pauses, noticing that it is coming ever closer to me, at the other end of the bleachers. Or maybe it is that he has seen me taking an undeniable interest in Leila with my camera and my cheers. At any rate, he nods and I take it as tacit approval to be chivalrous, Leila’s Knight-in-Shining-Armor, at least for a moment, and retrieve her wayward serve for her, since there are no ballboys or ballgirls in an economizing $25K such as this.

Now, here is where it gets ugly, and fuzzy, and maybe that’s because I have tried to block out what can only be described as the colossal fuck-up that comes next. As I recall, I think what happens is that I walk over to the edge of the court, which as luck would have it has no fence and is totally open on the side, and, without thinking, casually roll the ball back to her end of the court, as would an actual, real, trained ballboy, but this one happens to carom off of a post and into play just as she is about to go into her service motion.

For about a second–and only a second–I feel gallant, like a hero, doing something nice for her, until I realize with horror that both Eichmann and the umpire are holding up their hands and Leila is glaring at me like I am a complete moron, or dumbass, or in all likelihood something a lot worse than either. You know when somebody says they feel about two inches tall? Well, right about now, I feel exactly two inches tall.

Yes, I’m sure it is my fault. I got intoxicated by Leila’s beauty and just screwed up. I’ve been over it and over it about nine hundred times in my head in a matter of seconds, and that’s how I’ve rationalized and come to accept it. I feel like a real dolt. So much so that after she loses the point, which costs her the break, I sneak out on the next changeover, and go watch Caddy Kaylor’s match for a game or two, from behind a tree, trying to figure out how to leave the tournament grounds without being seen by anyone else, for by now I am sure the whole damn place has seen my big stinking breach of tennis etiquette.

It is only later, after having driven the fifty miles home, that I find out Leila has lost the next game and the match 4-6 4-6. I feel like a heel.

************

De-YEUCE.

Two points from victory now. Leila had fought hard, for three sets, and though Eichmann had seemingly won hundreds of points off of her forehand drop shot, and had managed to win a close second set, Leila had dominated the match from the baseline and was clearly motivated to get her revenge for the previous week’s bitter loss. At the hands of her retarded ballboy.

When I arrived for the quarterfinals that morning, one of the tournament volunteers noticed me standing by myself, reading through a Pro Circuit program, and she approached me and started chatting about the day’s matches.

“Wait until you see this girl Leila who’s playing later today! She’s from Egypt, originally, and is she beautiful!” I think this lady was doing her best to market the event, and the day’s matches, to anyone she could stop long enough to listen. She probably took one look at me and sized me up (typical guy) and knew straight away what (beautiful girl) and who (brunette bombshell Leila) I would be interested in watching.

I practically could have knocked her over with a feather when I told her that Leila Niazy was my favorite player, reciting like word vomit the innumerable career stats of Leila’s that I had committed to memory like any good tennis geek. She grinned one of those “Your-secret-is-safe-with-me” kind of sheepish smiles and hurried off, before I could get another word in. I wasn’t even sure what, if anything, I wanted to say to defend my honor, and so I went back to skulking.

Another crunching forehand winner down the line brought Leila to match point.

“C’mon, Leila, first serve.” It seems awfully dumb, now, to have yelled out something like that in that very moment, and honestly, I don’t even think I know how I can think of stuff like that in that situation, because by that point my palms are sweating and my fingers are usually half covering my eyes like some sort of human latticework. The point being, I get pretty damned nervous at times like that. Whether she heard or not is irrelevant, I guess. She got her serve in, and after a short rally, Eichmann netted a backhand and it was over, about two and a quarter hours after it started.

I don’t know if she felt better, having dispatched Eichmann this week, but I felt a little better. The uneasy, nauseating feeling that had been gnawing away in the pit of my stomach all week had all but evaporated. I felt marginally less guilty about my ball tossing blunder.

Leila had been a qualifier at Port St. Lucie, and six wins for the week was impressive. She was now into the semifinal, and though it was an eighty mile drive, each way down and back, it never crossed my mind not to be there the next day to see her.

*************

A seventh win came on Saturday, but number eight wouldn’t be in the cards for Leila that week at Tesoro–she lost to Parisian and close friend Letitia Musson in the final in two sets, undoubtedly drained from a long week.

I wanted desperately to find a way to congratulate her after her brilliant week, to say “hello” and something positively charming and memorable, but I let discretion play the better part of valor, figuring that between cheering and scoping her out with my camera at five of her matches that week, the only impression I’d likely make on Leila was one I’d probably wish she sooner forget. That, coupled with the Great Vero Ball-Tossing Blunder, and I figured that staying clear of Leila was probably the only viable thing I could do.

Even as my heart surely beat faster whenever I thought about her, I couldn’t possibly find myself worthy of intruding on her time. How could I possibly find the words? Were there even words?

With a lump in my throat I walked to my car and drove home, hoping that in any event, as low as I felt, I might be cheered catching her playing a match or two at the circuit’s next local stop the following week in Daytona, a few hours north along Interstate 95.

**************

It must have been the dumbest coincidence of luck imaginable that the first “center court” match at Daytona the following week, on the day I picked to escape from work and take off to catch a day of main draw play at that week’s $25K ITF was the classic three set clay court tilt between Angela Eichmann and Nicholette Rogers.

The main stadium court was overlooked by a grandstand, capped by a shaded deck which led into the players’ lounge, and this early in the week, with almost no one in attendance, the deck and lounge were open to all spectators, even the plebes like me. Which was spectacular on a day like today, given that that it was about forty-five degrees, and windy as hell, which for Florida, in January, is pretty awful. I know any Yank worth his or her salt is probably thinking, “what the f___ is the matter with this p___y? Forty-five is beach weather”, but when you live in t-shirts and shorts year round, and get grouchy the minute your tan starts to fade, forty-five is pretty goddamned cold.

So anyway, in between sitting on my hands, shivering, guzzling barely lukewarm coffee, and making as many trips into the players’ lounge as possible to soak up the heat in there (I never realized until that day just how monotonous the life of a tennis professional must be until I saw them all, sitting around in chairs, like zombies, doing all the usual social media sort of bullshit like tweeting and snapchatting and instagramming each other on their smartphones….) I was sitting in the freezing shade on the deck, in my hoodie, counting all of Eichmann’s dropshots again, and feeling totally sorry for Rogers, who at one point in the third set threw up her hands in disgust and yelled out exactly what I was thinking: “Can you POSSIBLY do ANYTHING else?!”

About that time, I noticed Leila’s mother standing , oh, let’s call it three and a half feet to my right, wearing her traditional habib. I’d seen her at some of Leila’s tournaments before, including the week previously at Tesoro. The funny thing was, I had this picture of Leila as a glamorous tennis star, right, and yet I’d seen her Mom chiding her to make sure she ate her banana in between sets at Kiwi Club, in my home event at Indian Harbour a couple of years prior. I always smile at that memory when I think about that famous celebrity part of her. You’d think someone as glamorous as Leila wouldn’t have to worry about being told to eat a banana but I guess moms will always be moms….

Leila joined her Mother a couple of minutes later. She stood in between where her Mother was standing and where I was seated, about a foot away from me. I wanted to be sick just about then. Not sick. I…I just couldn’t breathe. The two of them spoke in Arabic, and stood there, talking, watching, waiting, talking, lingering, for about an hour. I was petrified.

At first, I thought maybe she, or they, were wanting to give me ‘what for’ for the ball tossing incident in Vero Beach, you know, maybe for costing her a match, which to a player is earnings, money, part of her income, so I was dearly hoping I hadn’t ruined her life and focused on trying to keep my head down while praying that she didn’t notice me inside my hoodie. Inside my shell. Where I was safe. Kind of like when the teacher is looking for somebody to answer a question in class and everyone has their nose in their book.

Then I decided I would get a little brave and try to indirectly impress her by letting her overhear my amazingly astute tennis knowledge, so I critiqued Eichmann’s limited and awful tennis game in a conversation with my own Mother, who was seated to my left. The things an idiot will do to impress the girl he likes.

Shortly before Eichmann’s match finished, Leila and her Mom left the deck and walked down to court 7, where she soon played, and ultimately won her first round match against Katy Howard. There was a nice lady in the stands who noticed my rooting interest in Leila, and when she saw me keeping score of the match in a notebook, she asked me a whole bunch of questions about Leila, which I happily answered. Any excuse to talk about her–to think about her for a few minutes–was welcome. Leila’s Mother was at the other end of the bleachers, cheering her daughter on. When Leila walked off the court, rather than walk directly over to where her Mother was seated, she made a circuitous route behind the bleachers, passing maybe two feet from where I was sitting, which seemed strange, considering that she went over to talk to her Mother anyway. Silently I was wondering if, you know, maybe it was one of those hints girls give you, like I was supposed to say something to her. But like a fool, rather than say, “congratulations!” or something equally appropriate, I just looked at my notes, as though if I did actually look her, or saw her looking at me, I would explode or melt down like Chernobyl.

But it wouldn’t be the last time Leila and I would “meet.”

That was three months later.

*****************

It was April 29. My Birthday, of all days. The Pro Circuit was in town, my hometown, at the Kiwi Club in Indian Harbour Beach. Leila was in the draw, and come hell or high water, I was going to see her play, even though I had been off of work a number of days already, what with the Sony, and trips to Tesoro, and Vero and Daytona. But my boss knew that I liked tennis, and I never took vacation apart from going to tournaments, so when I told him I was going to take some time off to see a few matches the week of the Kiwi tournament, he had no problem with it.

Leila was playing doubles the first time I saw her that week. With her best friend, Caddy. It was a warm, muggy day at Kiwi and having come straight from work, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and dress pants and had just taken a seat as the players were warming up, and was sitting there, minding my own business, when I felt a tug on the back of my shirt.

“Aren’t you hot in that?” I turned around, and a woman, one of those obvious I’m-a-tennis-club-person-are-you? kind of ladies, smiled at me, and pointed at my shirt and again asked if I wasn’t feeling warm wearing a long sleeve dress shirt on such a humid day.

I laughed and told her I’d just come from work to see “my favorite player.” That seemed to spark an interest from her. She asked who my “favorite” was and I told her it was “Leila Niazy”, and as I went on and on about all of the matches I had seen Leila play in person, this lady’s eyes sortof twinkled. She politely waited for me to finish, and then offered up this gem that made me want to barf:

“Well, you know, I’m hosting Leila and her doubles partner, Caddy for the week. They’re staying with my husband and I at our home and….”

I heard the rest of what she said, but I was so sick about then I don’t think I really understood it. I started having horrible visions about what the dinner conversation might surely be like that night at that house, not entirely because of all of the things I spilled to this woman (which I did), and not entirely because she was nursing a big pitcher of some type of beverage that definitely wasn’t water.

Not to mention all of the gazillion or two pictures I shot of Leila during the match. With basically courtside seating, and the players making eye contact with those in the crowd at almost every turn in between points, I imagine it wouldn’t be hard for Leila, Caddy and their hostess to put two and two together if they did start talking about it.

And, like a knucklehead, I spent the entire week at Leila’s matches, in plain sight of her, cheering for her, taking as many photos of her as humanly possible, and generally hiding behind a post whenever she approached so as not to give her the impression that, you know, I had any interest in her. Some things seem pretty stupid when you think about them in hindsight.

*************

Though she had another fine week. on the green clay, Leila left the tournament site a short time after losing her semifinal here at Kiwi, but not before one last colossally epic missed connection.

It was Sunday afternoon, and after a week of rain delays, Leila’s semifinal had been postponed until Sunday. It was windy as hell, and after taking the first set against Yelena Ostronova, she lost in three, but the interesting part was the conversation I had with an elderly couple up from West Palm for the day during the third set. They noticed my extreme partisan rooting interest for Leila, and asked me about it, and her, and at one point, in Leila’s final service game, after she’d served three doubles in a row, the wife leaned over and whispered ‘you’re making her nervous!” Frantic, and worried that my cheering was causing Leila to cough up her match against Ostronova, I asked, “Really?!” I really didn’t want another “Vero” on my conscience.

Anyway, after the match was over, the husband looks over and says, “you should get her number! If I was a single guy like you, I’d get her number!” I always wonder why people say stuff like that. What’s the point? Have you looked at her? She’s probably got a husband or nine million boyfriends.

A little while after the match, Leila and her “host lady” came walking past, obviously leaving the tournament venue on their way to take Leila to the airport and on her way to the next tournament. As they approached, and just about where they passed a couple of feet in front of where I was leaning against a post, the host lady, in her booming voice, yelled out, “Well, if anyone wants to say goodbye to Leila, we’re leaving now….” It was the way she sort of ran it out at the end, and kept it open, like she was waiting for a response. I dunno, like one of those “Girl Hints” I mentioned before. It’s probably nothing. Probably my complete and total imagination. But it was, undeniably, a chance to have said something to her. Anything.

I love that movie, “Say Anything”, with John Cusack and Ione Skye. It’s unbelievably relevant.

“Congratulations.” “I like your game.” “I think you’re really pretty.”

It’s the last time I ever saw her. She never returned to our tournament.

I never got a chance to say anything to her.

They say that life is a journey. The places we go. The things we do. Regrets are the things we don’t do.

Every day I think about Leila.

About not having the courage to say “hi” to her.

Or, “I’d like to get know you.”

Every day I live with that regret.

The thing is, I am pretty sure that Leila’s friends know that I like her. Whether that’s good or bad, or they have a laugh about it, I have no clue.

So many times I’ve wondered, ‘Are you the one who’s watching?’ Is it really you? Do we really have this…this unspoken way of talking to each other, of communicating?’ It hardly seems possible, but it seems like it has to be true, and my mind is unspooling at colossal rate trying to piece it all together. It probably already has. I know that you know. You must. Or maybe …maybe it’s all in my imagination. I wish all of those times had been different, in Port St. Lucie, and Vero , and Daytona, and Indian Harbour, and in Miami, too. That I had had the courage to talk to you. To say something. To start something. I know why I didn’t. Why I couldn’t. I didn’t think I had anything to say that would interest someone like you. I didn’t care if the others thought I was an idiot for asking for a photo or autograph. That was a dumb thing fans do. There was something more important about the possibility of meeting someone who made my heart spin.

I wish I could say that more eloquently and more poetically.

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Uncategorized, General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports

Preliminary Entry List for 2018 USTA Pro Circuit DME Sports Women’s Pro Tennis Championship in Daytona Beach

$25,000 DME Sports Women’s Pro Tennis Championship – January 7-14, 2018.

Venue: Florida Tennis Center, 1 Deuce Court Suite 200, Daytona Beach , USA

Surface: Clay – Outdoor (Har Tru)

MAIN DRAW

1 Anhelina KALININA (UKR) 157
2 Danielle Rose COLLINS (USA) 162
3 Amanda ANISIMOVA (USA) 182
4 Maria-Teresa TORRO-FLOR (ESP) 213
5 Anna ZAJA (GER) 222
6 Ulrikke EIKERI (NOR) 223
7 Jessica PIERI (ITA) 225
8 Ayla AKSU (TUR) 228
9 Victoria DUVAL (USA) 231
10 Elena Gabriela RUSE (ROU) 246
11 Usue Maitane ARCONADA (USA) 252
12 Renata ZARAZUA (MEX) 253
13 Grace MIN (USA) 254
14 Claire LIU (USA) 255
15 Ayano SHIMIZU (JPN) 258
16 Michaela HONCOVA (SVK) 262
17 Julia GRABHER (AUT) 264
18 Katherine SEBOV (CAN) 270
19 Maria SANCHEZ (USA) 273
20 Ankita RAINA (IND) 275

QUALIFYING

1 Chiara SCHOLL (USA) 282
2 Cristiana FERRANDO (ITA) 286
3 Mai MINOKOSHI (JPN) 291
4 Chanel SIMMONDS (RSA) 293
5 Nigina ABDURAIMOVA (UZB) 300
6 Katie SWAN (GBR) 301
7 Francesca DI LORENZO (USA) 305
8 Jesika MALECKOVA (CZE) 306
9 Sophie CHANG (USA) 307
10 Harriet DART (GBR) 308
11 Mari OSAKA (JPN) 311
12 Jovana JAKSIC (SRB) 312
13 Robin ANDERSON (USA) 329
14 Riko SAWAYANAGI (JPN) 332
15 Nicoleta-Catalina DASCALU (ROU) 340
16 Sofia SHAPATAVA (GEO) 345
17 Polina LEYKINA (RUS) 358
18 Alisa KLEYBANOVA (RUS) 362
19 Shiho AKITA (JPN) 369
20 Anastasiya VASYLYEVA (UKR) 371
21 Chieh-Yu HSU (TPE) 377
22 Harmony TAN (FRA) 379
23 Kyoka OKAMURA (JPN) 383
24 Samantha CRAWFORD (USA) 390
25 Katharina GERLACH (GER) 391
26 Shilin XU (CHN) 395
27 Chihiro MURAMATSU (JPN) 408
28 Yuuki TANAKA (JPN) 409
29 Tayisiya MORDERGER (GER) 413
30 Julia WACHACZYK (GER) 416
31 Alexa GUARACHI (CHI) 418
32 Gozal AINITDINOVA (KAZ) 421
33 Maria MATEAS (USA) 422
34 Sabrina SANTAMARIA (USA) 426
35 Elizabeth HALBAUER (USA) 427
36 Katerina STEWART (USA) 447
37 Lisa MATVIYENKO (GER) 461
38 Quinn GLEASON (USA) 467
39 Sanaz MARAND (USA) 470
40 Helene SCHOLSEN (BEL) 471
41 Paula Cristina GONCALVES (BRA) 475
42 Hanna CHANG (USA) 479
43 Lidziya MAROZAVA (BLR) 487
44 Natalija KOSTIC (SRB) 489
45 Dia EVTIMOVA (BUL) 494
46 Marine PARTAUD (FRA) 499
47 Emiliana ARANGO (COL) 507
48 Anna TATISHVILI (USA) 519
49 Anastasia PIVOVAROVA (RUS) 520
50 Karin KENNEL (SUI) 525
51 Ronit YUROVSKY (USA) 549
52 Caitlin WHORISKEY (USA) 554
53 Tamaryn HENDLER (BEL) 556
54 Ching-Wen HSU (TPE) 559
55 Rutuja BHOSALE (IND) 571
56 Luisa STEFANI (BRA) 573

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General Buzz, Heidi, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Truth Hurts

I never thought that facing the truth would be this hard, this…emotionally shattering.

But it is clear to me now that I have been completely, totally, incontravertably wrong about all of it. About her. About my hopes that somehow, beyond logic or reason, my Dreamgirl was on the other end of the line, watching and reading what I had to say and knowing the way I felt about her.

But now, with each passing day comes a new discovery, some new disappointing revelation that can only lead to the inescapable conclusion that the things I have made for her, the words I have written about her, my hopes and dreams and desires for her, have never been and will never be seen by her. Rather, they are watched by sleazy voyeurs, from the tennis forums and other, less savory cesspools, out there, in cyberspace, who indescriminately cast her among all of the other women they ogle, without a second thought, like they are judging meat in a butcher shop window or prized fruit at a produce stand. To them, who Hide their Asses behind VPNs and internet proxies like cowards, anonymously living out their sexual fantasies vicariously by watching my videos and pictures, and mining my blog for information about her is nothing, meaningless, just part of their day’s work, which consists of little than looking at girls, apparently.

But do they even remotely care about her, who she is, what she is like, what her dreams are, in between objctifying her like a geeky college dweeb? Do they care not to degrade or insult her publically like some floozy or tramp? Obviously not.

I love her. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and each day since, I have learned a little more about her, the little things, the things she likes, her interests, her injuries and health, her career in and outside of tennis, and I have grown to care for her, genuinely, and more, it seems, than is possible, given the circumstances. Certainly more than you can imagine. I have literally been living just to meet her one day and tell her how I feel about her. For seven years. Seven.

That isn’t your business, whoever you are that’s watching, reading, viewing. You are invading and stealing my most private and intimate thoughts about the woman I have fallen in love with. It isn’t yours to watch. She has likely never seen nor may ever see or care about the things I have written for her, or the videos I have made for her, but they are not yours to watch. They are not for your eyes. You and your “friends” are sick, perverted, disgusting, filthy and vile. The difference between you and me is that she is the only Girl I think about, dream about being with. To me she is special. You tag her photos and “videos”, along with those of hundreds, maybe thousands of other women, with words like “hot”, “ass”, “babe” and worse. Words that objectify women as a collection of body parts. Not to mention that many if not most of you who drool over these photos and videos are married or in “committed” relationships. You have no loyalty or fidelity to a partner whatsoever. Do you really think any woman like her would look at you twice knowing who you are as a person?

You have no respect for women. That’s obvious. More than that, you don’t respect my feelings about her or you’d treat her with respect and stay away from her.

Do everyone a favor and crawl back into the hole you came out of, be it in “Italy”, “Germany”, “Minnesota”, “Maryland”, “Texas”, the “United Kingdom” or wherever you choose to be from today.

And thank you, sincerely, for ruining my dreams, for taking away the one hope and happiness, the one thought I had each day to make my life better and keep going.

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Painful

Well, that was a pretty emphatic and sad way for a dream to end. Guess that’s why they say there’s no love in tennis.

💔

That”s me, always the last to know.

I’m heartbroken, of course, but good luck to you. Both of you.

And I’m sorry I fell so hard for you. I only wish I’d known sooner so I wouldn:t have made such a fool of myself.

#brokenheart #endofadream #heartbreak

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General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Nothing But Bone

Ha! Love this! 😍🤗

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