nodot nodot
Wild Cards
March 2008 Article

Latest Wild Cards Article

Wild Cards Archives:
2004 - Present
1998 - 2003

Tennis Server

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

Tom Veneziano You will join 13,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano.
Best of all, it is free!

Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:

Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
Tennis Server Match Reports
Editor's Letter
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
Tennis Links on the Web
Wild Cards
Green Dot
Tennis Warehouse Logo
Green Dot

Elaine The Pain
by Tony Severino
Certified Instructor 4A
Professional Tennis Registry

Tony Serverino Photo
Tony Severino

It's morning at the Lakeside Tennis Club. You hear the pluck-pluck, pluck-pluck rhythm of tennis balls resounding off racquets' sweet spots. It's inspiring; almost exhilarating. It's what Home Security might term Condition Yellow.

Too soon, the Yellow escalates to Orange. All eyes notice but pretend not to. Play continues, although somewhat subdued. She has arrived; Elaine-the-Pain.

She saunters across the patio, taking mental roll call; who is here; who is not. Elaine is on the club's board of directors and she struts around like she owns the place. Well, why not! She's been a member since Major Wingfield "invented" the game from the Greeks and called it Sphairistike. The game survived but the name did not. You can see why.

"Anyone for Sphairistike?"
"Not today Humphrey."

Elaine is my Aunt Hazel's sister: Aunt Elaine. No one calls her Aunt Elaine. Everyone calls her "Elaine-the-Pain." Even her closest friends don't admire her, but a good gossip is a magnetic draw.

Although members are aware of the rules and generally comply without prodding, Elaine likes to direct court traffic whether it needs it or not. She can be a real pain.

Aunt Hazel obviously doesn't like her sister Elaine at all.
"She's so vain. She's a pain! What's she ever done for this club? Tell me that!"

Friend Sylvia retorts: "Well she's here every morning making sure the courts are groomed, the grounds policed and the club house clean and in order."
(Oh boy! This has been an ongoing argument between these two and, as usual, it is going to be nip-and-tuck. Let's follow their argument in the framework of a Match Tie Break; first to ten by two. Let's call Hazel's opening remark a service ace, and Sylvia's response also a service ace.) (One All. Sylvia to serve.)

Aunt Hazel reacts to the challenge. "Well yeah. But what else does she do?"
(Sylvia spins in her serve. Hazel rips a return down the line.) (Two One, Hazel.)

"She organized the women's morning robin round which is very popular. We play in it."
(Sylvia rips back Hazel's serve with a backhand down the line.) (Two All.)

"Oh that! But what else!"
(Hazel's next serve. It's weak)

"She's here all during the USTA- sanctioned tournaments, adult and junior, everyday helping out."
(Sylvia's return is a sharp crosscourt winner.) (Sylvia, Three Two.)

(Hazel's response to Sylvia's slice serve is a feeble drop shot attempt. Sylvia jumps on it with a shot deep to the corner. It's in.) (Hazel is down, Two Four)

"She buys the food. And helps prepare it."
(Sylvia's serve. She spins another slice serve wide.)

"That's it? Anyone can do that! What else does she really do for the club?"
(Hazel's response is defensive. She can only lob and it is short. Sylvia, with perfect form, turns, points and angles her overhead to the service box corner.) ( Five Two, Sylvia)

Sylvia, still on the offensive: "She's on the board of directors and oversees the club tournaments. She's our liaison to USTA."
(It's Hazel's serve, but it is short and Sylvia executes a text book drop shot.) (Six Two Sylvia.)

"Anyway she's too bossy. Always telling people what they ought to do. They don't need that."
(Hazel aces down the middle for Three Six.)

"Well, what would the club be without her?"
(Sylvia serves, now on the defensive, then nets a top spin crosscourt attempt.) (Sylvia still leads Six Four.)

"Oh someone would pickup those chores."
(Sylvia's strong serve is blocked back by Aunt Hazel.)

"Really! Who? No one has so far!"
(Sylvia answers with pace. Hazel frames it.) (Seven Four, Sylvia.)

"Oh that's limp!"
(Hazel serves an ace.) (Seven Five, still Sylvia.)

"Maybe, but it's true!"
(Sylvia returns Hazel's next serve, moves to the net and volleys too deep.) (Seven Six, still Sylvia.)

"Come on Hazel. Elaine may be truly a pain. But most clubs have someone like her who makes it a better club. Didn't you vote for her to be on the board?"
(Service Ace by Sylvia.) (Eight Six.)

"No one else was running for the office!"
(Hazel nets the next return of serve) (Sylvia, Nine Six)

"No one ever does."
(Sylvia, Service Ace.) (Game, Set and Match.)

Hazel and Sylvia can banter the arguments all day, and probably will, but the issues are clear. We all love to go to the courts and play, but few are willing to take on the day-to-day chores of keeping the tennis club a better place. Those who do can sometimes be a pain. It's always the same few, the doers, who make it go.

Maybe it's a justified attitude. Elaine has been a member of the club since Bill Tilden played there years ago, and feels some ownership.

She's there every day, mentally logging in who is and who isn't. She may dominate board meetings with her opinions, too often wrong but never in doubt. The tennis club is her home. It's her life.

Like the Lakeside Tennis Club maybe your club has an Elaine-like person; call her Floss-the-Boss, Bill-the-Pill, Nosey Rosie, Frank the Crank; those persons who make the tennis club a better place. Maybe your Elaine person is not such a pain. Your's may even be Neat Pete, Genial Jenny or Dan the Man, but they all make the clubs go.

So a salute to Elaine-the-Pain, Floss-the-Boss, Bill-the-Pill, Nosey Rosie, Frank the Crank, Neat Pete, Genial Jenny, Dan the Man and all those like them who make things keep going at our tennis clubs. Because of their actions the pluck-pluck, pluck-pluck rhythm of tennis balls resounding off racquets' sweet spots continues. It's inspiring. It is exhilarating.

Thanks Elaine; thanks for the pain.

If you wish to provide a comment to the author of this Wild Cards column, please use this form. Tennis Server will forward the comment to the author.

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Wild Cards Archives:
1998 - 2003 | 2004 - Present

If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by the author, all rights reserved.


Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
Australian Open Tickets
Dallas Open Tickets
Delray Beach Open Tickets
ATX Open Tickets
Mexican Open Tickets
BNP Paribas Open Tickets
Miami Open Tickets
Credit One Charleston Open Tickets
US Men's Clay Court Championships Tickets
Wimbledon Tickets
Citi Open Tennis Tournament Tickets
Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Tickets
National Bank Open Womens Tennis Canada Tickets
Odlum Brown Van Open r Tickets
Tennis In The Land Tickets
US Open Tennis Championship Tickets
Laver Cup Vancouver Tickets


Popular Tennis books:
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
Most Recent Articles:
October 2022 Tennis Anyone: Patterns in Doubles by John Mills.
September 2022 Tennis Anyone: Short Court by John Mills.




"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

The Tennis Server receives a commission on all items sold through links to Amazon.com.


Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
791 Price Street #144
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy