This guide is an
introduction to tennis as played by normal human beings. It covers matters not
usually dealt with in tennis instructionals, important matters that can add
hours of enjoyment on the court, cut expenses and occasionally produce a
victory over another normal human being. You'll learn how not to lose tennis
balls, how to look like a tennis player, how and when to cheat, how to exercise
without working up a sweat, and why the topspin lob should be considered
anathema in a society that produced Abraham Lincoln, F.D.R. and Martin Luther
King Jr. This guide is not endorsed by the USTA, but they've been wrong
How to be mistaken
for a tennis player
Fifteen years ago,
when my friend Lenny used to go out to play tennis, he carried his racket in a
laundry bag and when he was about halfway down the block he would yell toward
his house, "Tell Mommy I'm going to the laundry, that's why I'm carrying
this laundry bag because I'm taking this laundry to the laundry."
Because in those
days tennis players were called sissies.
About 10 years ago
tennis players came out of the closet.
happened, my friend Lenny, who hadn't yet bought one of those terrific carrying
cases for tennis rackets, would go out to play tennis carrying his racket in
the laundry bag and when he got halfway down the block he would yell toward his
house, "Tell Mommy I'm going to play tennis and I'm carrying my tennis
racket in the laundry bag until I can get a carrying case for my
But by the time
Lenny had gotten a terrific carrying case for his racket, half the people on
his block were playing tennis and had their own terrific carrying cases, and
that included Pinchik, the Poet, who didn't even play stickball when he was a
kid, and Chicken Fat Farber, who was 5'6", 225 pounds, and who breathed
heavily when he carried out the garbage.
tennis. Everybody. Everybody walked around with a tennis racket under his
So my friend Lenny
started walking around with two tennis rackets under his arm.
And that made him
feel terrific for a couple of months, until one day he looked out and saw
Chicken Fat Farber with two tennis rackets under his arm and a sweatband on