For the past few days, Windward Lake Club’s sidelines have seen parents and umpires expressing their dissatisfaction when a young girl conveys her displeasure via a banged racquet or a verbal outburst. As these young athletes chase the elusive gold ball which signifies the national champion, the Girl’s U12 Supernational tournament resounds with frustration. We see parental reprimands and authoritative commands where parents order their children to control their emotions and to stop acting like a child. Irony, however, is a cruel mistress.
With matches scheduled to begin at 8:00am, Mother Nature intervened today. A 7:56am downpour left the club’s courts looking like last night’s Olympic Swimming venue. At 9am, the weather broke, and parents and umpires took to the courts to squeegee (think giant sponge on a stick) off the water in preparation for play. Ten minutes later, another rain cell came in. Groaning ensued. At 10:15, the radar showed blue skies ahead and all hands came on deck once again. They pushed water for nearly forty-five minutes and the players saw a few dry patches appearing. Two minutes later, the skies opened up again and rain flooded the courts for a third time. Umpires moaned, parents cursed, and the local maintenance staff banged squeegees into oblivion. Equip the kids with the authority to call code violations and you’d have had many defaulted adults. One sensed Kubrick’s chimps would have been more courteous.
Thankfully, the kids weren’t around. Instead, they were in hotels playing card games and watching some version of SpongeBob or Snapchat on the small screen. If they could have seen these adults acting out in frustrated tirades, they’d have had “You’re such a hypocrite!” fodder forever.
Eventually play got under way. I got another chance to watch the Katja Wiersholm. She’s an interesting talent. After winning clay courts with solid court awareness, she comes into hardcourts as the number two seed. Her long red ponytail and bubbling personality belie a severely competitive kid. At age twelve, we expect focus to be about as narrow as Bill Clinton at a Miss America pageant. Katja though, has found a range where champions compete. She is mentally and physically engaged in every single point. It is said war is “hours of boredom with moments of terror.” For Wiersholm, she is winning the battle. Today she entered the round of 16 without dropping a set. On the opposite side of the draw sits defending champion Nikki Yanez. From their intensity, one gets the sense their meeting in the final is destiny. Then again, we’re talking about not yet fully-evolved humans, which I guess takes us back to those parents this morning. 🙂