Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mosswood Chronicles

These days I regularly play tennis at some very interesting courts.  They are at a park called Mosswood in Oakland.  They don't have grass growing in the cracks like my high school courts, but they are in really, really poor condition.  The reason we keep going back is because they have lights and they are always empty.  I've never once waited for a court.  Heck, I've never seen more than one other court in use.  The other court in use could easily be a soccer player as much as a tennis player.  Anyway, it's near a rougher part of Oakland, and these are some random things that have happened to me (more often the people I was playing) since we've started playing tennis there.

Fat Fan
A thug-looking man with his pants sagging stood next to the fence waiting for the bathroom on a Sunday evening.  I was on the opposite side of the court.  I could see that he was talking smack to my opponent, but it wasn't until he left that I got the scoop.  Apparently, his biggest comment was: "Don't underestimate the fat one.  I used to be fat."  My first thought was, 'does that guy think he's in good shape now?', but it changed to just being happy that he thought I was taking it to my college roommate, who is tall, in good shape, and gorgeous.
"He sure is working a lot less than you are," was the other comment he had, apparently.  I don't know whose skills this is a testament to.  Either I'm rocking the corner shots, or I'm firing wildly while he returns everyone right down the center back to me.  Either way, thanks for being the thug-est cheerleader I've ever had.

A Foot in the Grave, A Hand of Bridge
Early one hot Sunday afternoon, my old roommate and I were out there playing.  Slowly, old people started piling into the adjacent rec center.  When I say slowly, I mean that every other senior had a walker.  They cruised by the courts at paces close to a one-legged dog's top speed.  After the first dozen went by, I asked what was going on.  I was informed it was a big bridge tournament.  Not less than 10 minutes later, an ambulance pulled into the parking lot of the facility.  I immediately had a little giggle to myself, wondering what brand of hip it was bringing in for some unlucky senior.

5 minutes later, my friend joked about how the ambulance was going in circles.  I had to notify him that it was actually another ambulance that pulled into the driveway.  The ambulances were apparently just on stand-by. They were still there when we left almost an hour later.  I, of course, assume they were for the seniors playing bridge, but I guess I can't count out the short baseball players running around in the field dressed in capris with tall, striped socks and tshirts.  They were probably going for a 1930's baseball player look, but the guy that ran buy us just looked like a leprechaun with his shaped, ginger beard.

Line Judge
Annie and I were playing once, when a chubby African American kid started climbing all over the fence behind her.  Again, I could see he was saying stuff, but it is impossible to hear on these courts because they are located next to the freeway.  Apparently, he was behind her keeping score.  Annie claimed he had no concept of how tennis actually worked, and he just kept giving me points if I hit it hard and at her, no matter where it actually landed.  The best part was when I initially asked her "What was that little girl saying to you?" and Annie responded with "Actually, it was a little boy."

Beer, Anyone?
One time when we showed up to play, the trash can on the courts was filled with at least 8 broken up cases from 12-packs of beer.  I don't know what kind of crazy, homeless, house party went on in those courts, but it didn't smell like pee or puke, so whatever.

Rapper's Delight
This past sunday, the park was overflowing with loud club music, with a loud, driving bass beat.  In between points I would look over at what was going on, but I could never get a good view of anything.  At one point, a gaggle of random people collected beside the courts.  At some point, one white guy holding the leash of a bichon frise starts freestyling for the little girl on the shoulders of one of the other standers-by.  He went for a while.  I can't attest to the quality, since, as usual, I was on the other side of the court.  Maybe I should start standing by the bathrooms/rec center!  Or maybe I should look less intimidating, like the people I'm playing. ;)

I'd like to return to the Berkeley Rose Garden to play, but those bitches pissed me off when they complained we were playing too long.  We weren't.  No question.  Karma will get you old, crabby bitches.

Tennis in sketchy Oakland, anyone?


  1. It was a long day at work, definitely needed a laugh. Decided that I'd catch up on some of your postings. I'd like to thank you for making me laugh so hard that I have tears pouring down my face. Oh, and for the few times I thought I was going to pee.

    Thanks again!

  2. The # of people that are reading my blog is already rewarding.

    Knowing that I am succeeding at entertaining people with my quirky view of the world really, really makes me feel good.

    I've always thought I was a good story teller, but writing books failed several times. Glad I have a way to vent, and that you are enjoying it!

    Thank you, Megan.