This exciting but dubious strategy kept me in the game to the end. which still sends chills up my spine when I think about it. I have to hand it to you, Marty. I thought as the score reached 18—all. You must have tremendous confidence in your ability...or else a pitiful lack of it in mine. Imagine a hacker like me three points away from eliminating Marty Reisman. All I needed was more luck.
Each point became so tense that the crowd's reaction was what it might have been at a U.S. Open final between Reisman and Miles. Still behaving as if he were totally oblivious to how close he was to defeat. Reisman continued to make acrobatic returns, taking the ball between his legs, behind his back or switching the bat from right to left hand in midpoint.
Incredibly, with the score 19-18 in my favor. Reisman took a big swing, missed and then recovered in time to retrieve the ball an inch from the floor. Overwhelmed by such guts. I banged the ball into the net. and it was 19-19. The crowd groaned, and I heard someone call out, "Hey, Marty!"
Then I got lucky. One of my smashes caught the top of the net and trickled over for a winner to give me a 20-19 lead. One more point! All I needed was one more point to achieve what I felt would be the world's biggest upset. Sweat poured from my brow. My right hand shook as if I had palsy. One more point, I said to myself. Stay calm!
The same voice called out again, "Marty!" and it must have been a familiar one, for Reisman, the smile still on his face, interrupted his serve to look around. Someone appeared out of the crowd and grabbed his arm. I could hear him say: "For chrissake, Marty, it's two out of three, not three out of five!"
For the first time since he had arrived, the smile left Reisman's face. "It's three out of five," he said. "I read the sheet."
"No, man! They changed it for the first round. Just before you came. It's two out of three now."
Marty looked at the umpire. "What is it? Two of three or three of five?"
"Two out of three, Marty," the ump said resignedly. "I announced that at the beginning."
"Get me the tournament director," Reisman ordered, putting his racket on the table and leaning against the umpire's chair. "They can't change the rules without informing me." He still seemed remarkably calm. Now it all fell into place for me. Reisman had been fooling around for the first three games, thinking he had two more to play. Most state and regional tournaments were three of five in every round. I could see how Reisman could've made such a mistake.