Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bazza's Boycott Bombshell

I've lost emotional attachment to a lot of things lately, including tennis. During last night's doubles match I was really just going through the motions. I watched people on adjacent courts (and mine) throw their rackets, give their partners high-fives and make authoritative pointed-finger "OUT!" signals, while I really couldn't see what all the fuss was about. We lost our match 6-4 6-4, a score that flattered us slightly. My apathy continued into the singles, though that changed somewhat as the contest wore on. It turned out to be my longest-ever singles match, certainly by number of games and perhaps also in terms of time (I have however played longer doubles matches, most of them involving Bazza - for the latest news about him, stay tuned). Unfortunately I lost, 7-6 4-6 7-5, having been just two points from victory at 5-3 in the decider. Unusually we had a few spectators towards the end of the match, which came just shy of 10.30. My opponent employed topspin to good effect, had a surprisingly strong backhand and was generally a much better all-round player than me, so while on one hand I was disappointed that I couldn't finish the job, I was also pleased I could compete with him for so long.

Bazza has pulled out of playing tennis. I won't go into the reasons in detail - suffice to say that as he played in last season's winning team, he thinks he should be playing in a higher grade this season than the one he's been assigned to, so he's decided to boycott. The competition organisers have made some strange rule changes this season, and to be honest Bazza is probably in the right. The problem here is that in the absence of a job or a family or any of those things that keep people occupied, and as a general consequence of his condition, Bazza has become obsessed with tennis. Not just the game of tennis, but points, grades and league tables. For the last four seasons he's been ringing me up almost daily to ask about results of matches he hasn't even played in. He'll never bother with pleasantries like "how was work?" or "hasn't it been a lovely day?" - he'll always get straight to the point, or rather, the points. So for him, interclub tennis grading is Very Serious Business. On Sunday I phoned him and tried to reason with him. That's never an easy task and he hung up on me. Twice. I'll pop round and see him tomorrow and try to at least arrange a game of singles with him. My biggest fear, if he quits the game completely, is for his health. Instead of two obsessions he'll be down to just one: food.

On Saturday I spent ten hours making puzzles. For once, because someone was paying me, this no longer seemed a frivolous activity. Instead it was a very enjoyable one. I'm excited by the prospect that this could lead to something bigger.

I had a very productive session with my psychologist today. That's despite making my job-search frustrations very obvious. Realistically I now have ten weeks to move, but still no idea how I'll do that.

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