My wife, the Angel of Death got me to the finals in the mixed doubles club championships at the club. I am only mediocre, not even in the top ten at the club, but my wife is the best female player around here.
But, there’s only so much a superior partner can do with the likes of… well me. We’d lost to the couple we played to do many times, never gotten a set off them.
Today though, I played above my level, and my wife was a demon. My first serve was on, which is the best part of my game, and at one point the opposing male drilled my very best first serve straight back at my wife at the net. With a grunt and a hop though she caught the 100mph plus return perfectly on her racket, absorbing all its force, and dribbling it back over the net , like a lifeless hackeysack for a perfect dropshot (that’s what Angels of Death do, suck out all your power.) Then a few points later she’d drop her head and unleash her scorching backand.
All the miles I’d run paid off in my untalented body, and while my wife wreaked havoc at the net while I ran down every attempt at lob.
We had about 20 people watching, and it felt really good and we took them 6-4 in the first set.
…And then I started thinking about it. How well I was playing, and how we might win, and how badly I didn’t want to screw up… And I completely fell apart. I became tight and artificial and they started beating on, and we got killed 6-2 in the second set.
Though she held her toungue, I could feel my wife, the Angel of Death’s Ire rise towards me. She was trying to cover for me, and poach but that forced her to leave her alley open, and they abused us bad. My serve deserted me.
And, in the third set it all changed again. I remember thinking that if I was going to lose, I might as well go down swinging hard instead of playing defense. The opposing man served to me first, and I cranked it back, holding the racket loose and easy and stepping into the shot. I followed it in, and on the weak return I put it away. This got a look of mild approval from the Angel of Death (who generally turns to stone during a match, and doesn’t like to talk,) and that was all it took. We broke 'em.
Then I served, and my right arm was a thunderbolt again. I tossed high and in front of me, and then twisting hips, body, shoulders head, and cocking the arm, I’d leap after it and uncoil snapping my wrist at the apex, and sent the ball like a rocket straight into the net.
I knew it was on though, and instead of spinning the second serve in, I went for it, and it also caught the net. Double fault. Then my wife missed a put away, and I hit one into the fences, having gotten behind it. Love-40.
But, I just knew. My serve was no longer the thunderbolt. My arm was the right of God, and I was about to do some smiting. I dipped back, looking for that little extra bit on my back swing, and instead of uncoiling, and letting it happen, I pushed it and hit the next serve with everything I could muster, following it in. But, I didn’t have to. He couldn’t return it.
And, there were two more just like it, waiting, and I brought it back to deuce without the Angel of Death hitting a ball. But this guy I was serving to was good. He was adapting. He was ready for the heater, so I gave him a dark ball, a changeup, a cheesy spin serve. He had to hit it in No-man’s land, and I was able to pressure him with my volley until he popped it up to the Angel of Death, who was getting impatient. She killed it for a winner.
Not wanting to push my luck, I gave the lady about an 80% heater for my serve, she tried to lob it over my wife’s head, but I was there, caught a lucky high bounce, and gave it an overhead smash.
We broke the lady in a close game, and the Angel of Death served. I found out later that her arm was killing her, but she didn’t hold back. Her serve is nothing, but she’s able to follow-ups like nobody else from the baseline. She’d keep up the pressure and return pace with pace, junk with junk, each shot putting her opponent a little more off balance, until they broke. They tried coming into the net, but it didn’t help she’d unleash that devastating head down two-handed backhand, and crush it up the middle. They got one of these and it came back straight at me. I took a lucky stab at it as I fell, and my wife finished 'em off. That made 4 games to zip.
The man served again, and lifted up his game to take us quickly, but it didn’t matter. It was too late.
As I served, I knew that whatever had touched my arm briefly the last time was gone, and it was just me, serving. I played smart, and my wife poached, and I held. The opposing lady was serving, but her heart wasn’t in it. She was already defeated, and we closed it quickly.
That’s how my wife and I one the club championship at this dinky little Country club we play at. Wimbledon it ain’t, but it’s good enough for me. I’m proud. My wife carried me in previous years, and even carried me this year to the finals (she basically won our semifinal match singlehanded.)
This time we won because I held up my end. I played great, and that doesn’t happen all that often. I outdid myself.
All day long my wife and I have been call each other “Champion.”
“What would you like for dinner, Champion?” she’d ask.
“I think we should go out to dinner tonight, Champion. Don’t you agree?”
“I certainly do Champion.”
So now we get our name forever ensconced on the plaque in the dining hall, and we get a cheesy trophy.
So I feel very happy, pleased, and lucky and proud out of all proportion.
Now for the fortune cookie.
I’ve been walking around with a big cheesy grin on my face all day. Thanks for reading my story. I hope that something good that you want happens tomorrow for you, so that you walk around with a great big idiot grin to match mine.