I currently play tennis about 2 times per week. I started around 12 years old and played through my teenage years. On the east coast, you play more in the summer and less in the winter so my play was erratic.
My game was OK, nothing special. I played middle of the pack. And then when I went to college in freezing cold Buffalo, NY, I basically stopped playing for 22 years.
Then in 2014, I was invited to hit with three women: Charlene, Aki, and Wanda. I tried a new racket. Holy Cow! Rackets and strings sure have improved since 1992. I played great. I could hit topspin and slice. Wow!
Charlene introduced me to Rick who introduced me to the USTA. The USTA is amazing. There are leagues and it’s easy to sign up. They have matches and a whole system in place. I had no idea this existed. I would have played more in my thirties!
You can see I have been playing more and more matches each year as I joined more teams. My winning percentage has been in the 70’s except 2016 when I had my wrist surgery. I have been consistently a 4.0 player this whole time.
This year, however, I joined a 40 and over Men’s 4.0 league in San Carlos. This team, through luck, skill, heart, and more luck, made it all the way to the Nationals in Surprise, Arizona.
This is a big deal. People do not get to the nationals all the time. You have to win your league, your section, and your district all to qualify for the big show. 16 teams from around the country out of thousands
We came in 11th. Not great, not bad. We had a terrific experience. I will remember it for a very long time.
Yesterday, 8 of us got bumped up to level 4.5 by the USTA
I think this is pretty weird. Some of us were borderline for sure. But others are clearly 4.0 players and are going to be crushed at the 4.5 level. As a rule of thumb, a 4.5 player will beat a 4.0 player 95% of the time. A 4.0 player will beat a 3.5 player 90% of the time. I am going to be pummeled.
So what do I need to do now?
I need to join teams as a 4.5. Very few captains are going to want to play me because I stink as a 4.5. So either I need to lose alot and get bumped down…OR I need to take lessons and get better and compete at the 4.5 level. (Not easy, considering I am old and decrepit.) So likely scenario is that my win percentage plummets and I play less because captains lose faith in me.
This is what I get for going to Nationals.
I don’t want to be a whiner, despite the evidence that I clearly am whining. I am just nervous about playing. I love tennis and want to win. Hopefully, I can raise the level of my game and compete. Leveling up, here we go.