Snow-outs were not
a problem encountered by Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors when they played for
UCLA or by John McEnroe when he was at Stanford. But that's the big time. When
you're in the smallest time, struggling to get through a college tennis
schedule during March, April and May in the Northeast, such impediments are
routine. A chance to tour even a few miles south of the Gowanus Canal was not
to be scorned.
would appreciate that life on the road isn't always as glamorous as it might
be, but the main idea is to keep on the move—and out of reach. Abbie may have
become the most famous of our movers at Brandeis, but he wasn't the only
There was Jacques,
a lefthanded French exchange student, who was nearly as scarce then as Abbie
has been lately. After he was thrown out of school, we learned he'd spent most
of his time hibernating in girls' dormitories—not a bad tactic, considering the
gelid springtimes of Waltham.
frequently missing from practice was Steve Reiner, whom we called Farouk
because he was a wealthy bon vivant. He conned me for a while by saying he had
a five o'clock lab he had to attend, but I soon learned that his five o'clock
lab was held at Rockingham Park, a racetrack.
At least I could
depend on King Kong Cohen, who weighed 102 pounds and always had sore feet, to
show up for workouts. He always did his best. He made the team and tried to
live for weeks on the lunch money I handed out on trips. Kong's feet ached
because he wore sneakers with lots of holes in the soles.
Kong," I shouted at him through the wire fence enclosing the court,
"get going! You can't stop in the middle of a match." He was sitting on
the steaming asphalt court, wincing and rearranging the remains of his shoes
with bicycle tape. His opponent stood there, fuming. Kong's feet must have been
broiled. I motioned him to the fence. "Why aren't you wearing the shoes we
issued you instead of those rags?"
shoes?" His voice was faint.
nice. I'm saving them."
senior prom? You'd better have them on at the next match."