15-Lovie

Lovie’s got a new gig. In February of 2009 she started playing tennis pretty regularly with some of her friends, but it was more for fun than anything else. Four months ago, however, she upped the ante and joined a USTA team which requires her to play several times a week. Lovie’s a tennis star now.

Lovie? Is that you?

So I’ve given her a new nickname. Evonne Goolagong.

A couple of years ago, when she was still Lovie, we had a little spell where we played a handful of times over a three-week period. During those matches, two things were evident.

First, Lovie is an excellent athlete, whose fluid motion and graceful coordination translate well on the tennis court.

But second, she was no match for yours truly, lucky to win even one game in a combined two sets.

Recently we decided to play again, and I must say, I wondered how she’d fare as Evonne. After all, between the USTA matches, social games, and lessons, Lovie’s smacking the yellow ball up to four, sometimes five times a week. Word is she’s one of the best if not the best on her team, having lost only once in all the USTA matches she’s played.

Me? I’ve not picked up a racquet since the last time we faced each other. Oh. Did I mention I’ve not worked out regularly in months? Still, the lopsided nature of our previous contests had me convinced she’d pose no real threat to actually beat me. Right?

Right.

I beat her 6-2, 6-3, and it should have been 2 and 1. I was serving, up 5-1, 30-love, just two points away from the match when something happened. I suffered a meltdown on court number three. I dropped that game and the next one, after which she let out a celebratory scream, complete with fist pump. Such an outburst bothered me. Greatly. Fueled by anger, I waxed her the next game, and walked off the court with a less-than fulfilling 6-2, 6-3 victory. The sinking feeling in my gut combined with the confident smile plastered on her face for the next four hours made me wonder who the real winner was.

Lovie means business.

One thing was clear. Lovie’s way better than she used to be. It doesn’t matter how hard I serve, or where I place the ball. It’s coming back. Same thing with ground strokes. The woman gets everything. To win a point, I have to hit three shots that would have been winners against her in the past. Combine all that with the extra five (alright, twelve) pounds of JCO I’m hauling around these days? She’s a tough out to say the least.

About a week later, we played again. Lovie took the opening game. It was the first time she had ever held a lead on me. She won the next game, too. And the next. And the next. I was serving love-four before I even knew what hit me.

No worries, though. I’ve been in that spot a few years back. I was once down the exact same score to an ex girlfriend before storming back to victory. During a pivotal point, I charged the net before becoming the victim of a perfectly placed lob. Lucky to get it, I lobbed it back, and played the rest of the point the same way–hitting lobs, each effort even higher than the previous one. My last lob nearly brought rain and landed right on the line, bouncing so high, she literally couldn’t even get a racquet on it.

“You play dirty,” she said.

“What’s that?” I asked holding my racquet up to my ear? “Fifteen-thirty?”

Comforted by the recollection of that clutch effort, I stepped up and won the next three games in convincing fashion. Crisis averted, right?

Wrong. Lovie took the next two games, and won the first set 6-3. Thanks to a time constraint, the second set was a truncated one. I lost, 3-2. Lovie had done it not once, but twice. I left the court none too pleased.

Two hours later, I dialed her cell.

“That was bullshit. I want more.”

“Relax, honey. It’s just a game.”

“Don’t tell me to relax. Get your candy-ass to the court.”

“Honey, let it go.”

“What’s wrong, Evonne? Scared?”

“No.”

“What, then? Big engagement down unda? Got some shrimp to put on the barbie, do ya, mate?”

“If I play again, will you shut up?”

“See you in ten minutes, Lady Goolagong.”

Simply put, I never had a chance. My game was a wreck, and Lovie continued to play lights out. 6-3, 6-3.

As I walked off the court, I couldn’t help but wonder how I hadΒ  actually lost. Was it her serve? Because they are hard to return. After all, her meager offerings come at me so slow I’m literally forced to stand on the service line just to be close enough to get it before it bounces a second time. It’s reminiscent of a ball gently lobbed by a four year old girl. With her left hand.

Have you ever tried to hit such a serve? While mad? I landed out of bounds more times than Ben Roethlisberger at a Florida bar during spring break.

I know what you’re thinking. All y’all love Lovie, and you’re on her side. You can’t believe what a jerk I’m being. Well I got news for you. I’m far from the sore loser this post paints me to be. I realize full well that I lost to a better player.

Forget that I had more unforced errors than Britney Spears multiplied by Lindsay Lohan. Squared.

Forget that I hit more balls out than a juiced up Barry Bonds.

She won. Fair and square.

Even if, on that particular day, I couldn’t have held my serve with the jaws of life. The outcome had way more to do with what she did than what I did.

Even if I did hit the net more times than gang of drunken trapeze artists.

I’ll get her next time. In fact, I predict a spanking.

It’s just that I’m not sure who’ll be the one administering it just yet.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • sidsillinois

    I suggest you put this to bed and never play against each other again. You’ll just embarrass yourself. Go Lovie!

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      now, pam, i’m glad you’re supporting Lovie, and all, but i can assure you there’ll be no future embarrassments. she’s an awesome player, and it’s fun to play against her!

  • sidsillinois

    I suggest you put this to bed and never play against each other again. You’ll just embarrass yourself. Go Lovie!

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      now, pam, i’m glad you’re supporting Lovie, and all, but i can assure you there’ll be no future embarrassments. she’s an awesome player, and it’s fun to play against her!

  • http://jugglingeric.blogspot.com Eric

    When I play pool with my wife and she beats me, she runs up and down the pool hall like she was the next contestant to come on down in the price is right…

    Nice job Lovie…

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      eric, that’s hysterical. Lovie gets so jacked when she beats me…it’s fun. i get pissed, but it’s fun. and she really is good. i’m extremely proud of her. (plus, i love her tennis outfits…)

  • http://jugglingeric.blogspot.com Eric

    When I play pool with my wife and she beats me, she runs up and down the pool hall like she was the next contestant to come on down in the price is right…

    Nice job Lovie…

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      eric, that’s hysterical. Lovie gets so jacked when she beats me…it’s fun. i get pissed, but it’s fun. and she really is good. i’m extremely proud of her. (plus, i love her tennis outfits…)

  • http://www.almightydad.com Keith Wilcox

    That’s what happens with practice, dude :-) Sounds to me like the proper course of action is to either start feeding her ice-cream sundaes at every meal (fatten her up so she can’t move so quickly) or actually start working out yourself (gasp!)

    LOL! So, what’s it going to be?

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      keith,

      i’ll have you know that you’re one of Lovie’s favorites. (she loved your coming home post a couple of weeks ago, as did i…)

      you bring up two interesting strategies… Lovie does like ice cream, so that just might work. but, i think the more positive suggestion is for me to get back on it. which i started doing last week. i’ll get her next time! (i think?)

  • http://www.almightydad.com Keith Wilcox

    That’s what happens with practice, dude :-) Sounds to me like the proper course of action is to either start feeding her ice-cream sundaes at every meal (fatten her up so she can’t move so quickly) or actually start working out yourself (gasp!)

    LOL! So, what’s it going to be?

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      keith,

      i’ll have you know that you’re one of Lovie’s favorites. (she loved your coming home post a couple of weeks ago, as did i…)

      you bring up two interesting strategies… Lovie does like ice cream, so that just might work. but, i think the more positive suggestion is for me to get back on it. which i started doing last week. i’ll get her next time! (i think?)

  • Lori

    I would consider her more of a Chris Everette type. She has the look of Chris and her backboard style of play would liken her more to Chris.

  • http://www.buriedwithchildren.com Jen

    Yeah, I am sure you will get her next time. πŸ˜‰

  • Lori

    I would consider her more of a Chris Everette type. She has the look of Chris and her backboard style of play would liken her more to Chris.

  • http://www.buriedwithchildren.com Jen

    Yeah, I am sure you will get her next time. πŸ˜‰

  • http://surprisedmom.blogspot.com SurprisedMom

    Yeah Lovie!

    John, it sounds like, and correct me if I’m reading wrong, that it’s ok when you beat Lovie, but not ok if she beats you. Nope, I must be reading it wrong :)

    I hope both of you have fun, whoever wins!

    Rock on Lovie!

  • http://surprisedmom.blogspot.com SurprisedMom

    Yeah Lovie!

    John, it sounds like, and correct me if I’m reading wrong, that it’s ok when you beat Lovie, but not ok if she beats you. Nope, I must be reading it wrong :)

    I hope both of you have fun, whoever wins!

    Rock on Lovie!

  • http://www.blogonkevin.blogspot.com home and uncool

    My Love joined a local USTA team and it was same deal: practice, games two nights a week. I kept hearing how she was one of the better players on the team. After about six months, we went out and played singles against each other. I won 6-0, 6-1. At that moment, I became pretty certain “tennis night” for her was code for “Chippendales’ Happy Hour.”

  • http://www.blogonkevin.blogspot.com home and uncool

    My Love joined a local USTA team and it was same deal: practice, games two nights a week. I kept hearing how she was one of the better players on the team. After about six months, we went out and played singles against each other. I won 6-0, 6-1. At that moment, I became pretty certain “tennis night” for her was code for “Chippendales’ Happy Hour.”

  • http://clarkkentslunchbox.blogspot.com/ Clark Kent’s Lunchbox

    Bwahahaha! Sorry John, I just can’t keep from laughing over the image of you taunting your wife into another match. You’re so polite.

    If it makes you feel any better, my wife spanks me in tennis too… okay so it’s Wii tennis, but it’s still me losing a competitive engagement to my wife.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      alright, there, mr. mattocks. friend or not, i’d like to see your “candy-ass” playing my wife. and just to set the record straight, my wife has beaten me on exactly one day of her life, so to say she “spanks” me at tennis would be inaccurate. might i remind you that even fat and out of shape, i walloped her 2 and 3 just days before this unfortunate set back. but don’t worry, ron. i WILL exact my revenge. and it won’t be on the electronic court of wii. it’ll be IRL. and it’ll be soon! Godspeed, my brother. (and thanks for reading!)

  • http://clarkkentslunchbox.blogspot.com/ Clark Kent’s Lunchbox

    Bwahahaha! Sorry John, I just can’t keep from laughing over the image of you taunting your wife into another match. You’re so polite.

    If it makes you feel any better, my wife spanks me in tennis too… okay so it’s Wii tennis, but it’s still me losing a competitive engagement to my wife.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      alright, there, mr. mattocks. friend or not, i’d like to see your “candy-ass” playing my wife. and just to set the record straight, my wife has beaten me on exactly one day of her life, so to say she “spanks” me at tennis would be inaccurate. might i remind you that even fat and out of shape, i walloped her 2 and 3 just days before this unfortunate set back. but don’t worry, ron. i WILL exact my revenge. and it won’t be on the electronic court of wii. it’ll be IRL. and it’ll be soon! Godspeed, my brother. (and thanks for reading!)

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    -rofl- What? JCO taunts someone? That’s NEVER happened in my experiences with you! Holy crap! That bolt of lightning just missed me! Geez…

    Seriously man, good for you for getting your whiny-baby butt back out there and getting toasted again. :-p Yeah, Lovie rocks, and she has to be awesome, cos she married one of the coolest guys I know. So suck it up, get back out there, and try to be more of a Gus Goodsport rather than a John McEnroe. Dude, you’re too classy, and Lovie is too cool, for you to let your irritation at yourself for a bad game make you talk such smack.

    And, Lovie, kick his ass again. He needs the humility. πŸ˜‰

    And how weird was it that I knew who the picture was before I even started reading the article?

    If you want to feel like a major winnah, then let me dig up my racket and you can feed me to the lions. :-)

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    -rofl- What? JCO taunts someone? That’s NEVER happened in my experiences with you! Holy crap! That bolt of lightning just missed me! Geez…

    Seriously man, good for you for getting your whiny-baby butt back out there and getting toasted again. :-p Yeah, Lovie rocks, and she has to be awesome, cos she married one of the coolest guys I know. So suck it up, get back out there, and try to be more of a Gus Goodsport rather than a John McEnroe. Dude, you’re too classy, and Lovie is too cool, for you to let your irritation at yourself for a bad game make you talk such smack.

    And, Lovie, kick his ass again. He needs the humility. πŸ˜‰

    And how weird was it that I knew who the picture was before I even started reading the article?

    If you want to feel like a major winnah, then let me dig up my racket and you can feed me to the lions. :-)

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    I agree with Lori above. Lovie sort of looks more Chris Evertish. In my book, that’s advantage JCO!

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    I agree with Lori above. Lovie sort of looks more Chris Evertish. In my book, that’s advantage JCO!

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    Rats- I think my comment was eaten by rats- or the ravenous denizens of cyberspace. Aced by WordPress.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    Rats- I think my comment was eaten by rats- or the ravenous denizens of cyberspace. Aced by WordPress.

  • http://ifmomsaysok.wordpress.com Tara R.

    I’ll tell you what I tell my kids… walk it off, ya big baby!! (No, I don’t actually tell my kids that… out loud anyway)

  • http://ifmomsaysok.wordpress.com Tara R.

    I’ll tell you what I tell my kids… walk it off, ya big baby!! (No, I don’t actually tell my kids that… out loud anyway)

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    I feel your pain. I’m so competitive it’s not even funny. And if I lose to my wife at anything, I’m much less gracious than you are. Let’s just say the wife and I can no longer go bowling. Or play Battleship. Even cribbage is out.

    I played tennis in high school after a falling out with my baseball coach. I haven’t played in 13 years. And at some point this summer I’m going to play my 18-year-old cousin, who plays 3rd singles on a pretty good high school girls varsity team. I’m confident that despite not playing for nearly a decade and a half, I can take her.

    And JCO, if I lose to my girl cousin…I honestly don’t know. I can’t take that kind of defeat. It will be ugly.

    In the meantime, best of luck against Lovie. Sounds like you’ll need it, but I think you can take her.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      face it, bro. we’re besties. FINALLY, someone stepping up to my defense.

      sounds like you play at a lot higher level than either of us. that said, we hit it around pretty good. Lovie is no slouch at all. i’ll put her up against most any of my (guy) friends.

      what is it about us, i wonder, that makes us so competitive?

      by the way, tell MJ i could kick her ass in cribbage. she can mark that down and circle it. ’cause it’s fo’ sho’.

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    I feel your pain. I’m so competitive it’s not even funny. And if I lose to my wife at anything, I’m much less gracious than you are. Let’s just say the wife and I can no longer go bowling. Or play Battleship. Even cribbage is out.

    I played tennis in high school after a falling out with my baseball coach. I haven’t played in 13 years. And at some point this summer I’m going to play my 18-year-old cousin, who plays 3rd singles on a pretty good high school girls varsity team. I’m confident that despite not playing for nearly a decade and a half, I can take her.

    And JCO, if I lose to my girl cousin…I honestly don’t know. I can’t take that kind of defeat. It will be ugly.

    In the meantime, best of luck against Lovie. Sounds like you’ll need it, but I think you can take her.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      face it, bro. we’re besties. FINALLY, someone stepping up to my defense.

      sounds like you play at a lot higher level than either of us. that said, we hit it around pretty good. Lovie is no slouch at all. i’ll put her up against most any of my (guy) friends.

      what is it about us, i wonder, that makes us so competitive?

      by the way, tell MJ i could kick her ass in cribbage. she can mark that down and circle it. ’cause it’s fo’ sho’.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    As she keeps playing you will probably find more defeat unless you start playing more too. I have never played tennis. Anyone could beat me, but I am VERY competitive as well. Arica and I don’t compete much so I am a lot more worried about when Braden starts trouncing me at things.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    As she keeps playing you will probably find more defeat unless you start playing more too. I have never played tennis. Anyone could beat me, but I am VERY competitive as well. Arica and I don’t compete much so I am a lot more worried about when Braden starts trouncing me at things.

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    That’s hilarious JCO. You should be happy she is spanking you any way you can get it.

    Funny stuff.

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    That’s hilarious JCO. You should be happy she is spanking you any way you can get it.

    Funny stuff.

  • http://bwakeling.wordpress.com Ben Wakeling

    Haha! I always find it incredibly emasculating when my wife beats me at a sport. A while back she beat me at badminton, and I just left my testicles right there on the court. I didn’t deserve them.

  • http://bwakeling.wordpress.com Ben Wakeling

    Haha! I always find it incredibly emasculating when my wife beats me at a sport. A while back she beat me at badminton, and I just left my testicles right there on the court. I didn’t deserve them.

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