You read that right. Casual Sets. Clever team name, huh? What a fun tourney! Heck any tourney would have been a fun tourney after over a year of no tourneys, but this one is especially fun. Put on by our local Capital Area Tennis Association, most all of us approach it as a “just for fun” tourney even though you can advance to a statewide tourney if you take it all. Of course, we’re tennis players, we like to win, DUH, but we also like to have fun, especially in these non-USTA kinds of team tourneys. I was thrilled to even be asked to join in. My knee has been iffy-at-best on the courts, but I was assured our team was made up of ladies who really were doing it for fun. We, as it turned out, were the walking wounded. We laughed about that quite a bit. We had two severe cases of tennis elbow, my post surgery knee, a new sore knee, and a Achilles injury.

We lost a couple of rounds and won a couple of rounds. I feel so lucky that I got to play at all. I’m excited to know that maybe I’ve still “got it” after-all. My partners and I won both of our matches. My knee, that after my

Whatever it takes! Do what you love!
Whatever it takes! Do what you love!

recent MRI was declared un-fixable, held up all right. You see, my knee isn’t fixable because there’s just no cartilage left in the inside part of my knee and the attempt at micro-fracturing didn’t work, not that it does work very often. They say that it was worth the try though. This new “bionic” brace is built to “unload” the inside part of the knee and “load” the outside part of the joint. After two long matches, I needed a “joint” not of the knee variety! Ha! I kid you, but holy wow, I was sore. It was well over 100º out there. To put it mildly, my absence from the courts has left me un-acclimated to the heat, much less the rigors of tournament play. The stronger of the two opponents in our first match was serving burners out wide. I got tired of just clapping my racket and saying, “great serve” as I let her ace me. That stubborn streak I have just sort of reared her head and I started bolting out to return them by pushing off that left knee. Let’s just say, my opponent took every advantage of my obvious limitations (smart dang player, props!)… well, until I said “Nope, not gonna take another ace because of a bum knee.” We won that match, dammit, in a double tie breaker through gritted teeth and tenacity not only from me, but my awesome partner too. FUN! Ridiculously sore, and worse after my next (much easier match) on day two.

Here’s how this combo tourney works. Because it’s a “combo” tourney, you have two USTA ratings levels of players. Our team was in the 4.0-4.5 category. So, I was paired with a 4.0 level player and we played doubles against another 4.5 player and her 4.0 partner. We played 3 lines (dubs teams) that each played best 2 out of 3 sets. Whichever team won the majority, (best two out of three sets and two (or three) out of three lines) won the match up. There may have been more than one bracket, I don’t even know, I just showed up when they told me! It was really good tennis. It was the best my knee has performed in the last year! This big brace, (did we talk about that?) seems to help take some of the pressure off my worst area in my knee. It does its job.

I love you Dirty Nelly!
I love you Dirty Nelly!

It feels so good to be active again! Love those ladies I play with!!! This mountain biking doesn’t hurt either. Oh, well, it hurts, but it hurts so good. Watch for updates about me and Nelly soon. She’s a beaut! It’s love.

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