Father said. He threw the ball into the air and hit it a fearful wallop. The
ball made a noise like a cherry bomb when it hit the tape and bounced back. Mr.
Brock, his head tilted to one side as though he smelled something bad, moved up
in the court for Father's second serve, and Father let him have one in the
corner. Mr. Brock never touched it.
Now it was Larry
Brock's turn to receive. Father carefully obeyed the unwritten law. He hit a
gentle serve high across the net; the ball hit the court and spun at a right
angle off the side of the court. That made it 30-love, and the Brocks had not
yet swung a racket. Father aced Mr. Brock and then cut another serve to Larry
for the game point.
mind," Father said to Mr. Brock as he changed courts. "You'll come
Mr. Brock took
his position, said "I'm starting right in," and threw the ball up to
Father shouted. "Time!" He ran across the court and flicked an
imaginary pebble away. "Sorry," Father said. "Take two." Mr.
Brock got his first serve in and Father zoomed it back. Mr. Brock got his
racket up just in time and hit a long lob to the baseline.
Father called. From where I stood on the sidelines, the ball had looked good by
five or six inches, but luckily Father was in a better position to see.
The Brocks got
their first point when the overtrained Charley blasted the next serve into the
net. Now it was 5 all, and Mr. Brock hit his first serve to Father into the
net. His second serve was good, but Father merely caught the ball, flung it
back and said, "Tough luck, old sport, but we have to watch those foot
faults, don't we?" I had to marvel at Father's ability to stand ready for a
serve and umpire foot faults simultaneously. Now Charley and Father, without
any further ado, went ahead with their plan of action, which was simply to keep
that ball beating a merry drum roll off parts of Mr. Brock's anatomy. It was as
though Larry Brock wasn't even in the game. Wham! Wham! Those balls went
flicking across the net like bullets. Soon Mr. Brock seemed to lose courage and
began jumping aside, apparently happy to get off with his life. On such
occasions Father, sportsman that he was, would never fail to shout, "Good
The score rolled
up and up, the fourth straight game going to the Rhoadeses when Charley took
deadly aim and let Mr. Brock have one in what we referred to as "the
Brock?" Father said.
shuffled back into position, and Father cut him a serve at about 3,600 rpms.
Mr. Brock got a racket on the ball and hit it to the corner away from Father,
who raced across the court, leaped through the air like Charley Gehringer, hit
the ball, fell flat on his face and broke his glasses. The Brocks scored the
point, but Father remained on his knees, his hands clawing the court in the
general vicinity of his broken spectacles. Immediately it was plain that Father
was rendered all but blind.