Marko at the Net, Chapter 9

Marko keeps on rat-a-tat-tattin’.

So proud of him! There he is at Rancho, near Dorsey, in many ways the alternative stomping ground; indeed these courts are truly the proving ground, where Marko o’er the years has had to hang in there and just assert his right to be.

And by that I mean, back in olden times, early 2000’s, games would shift, people would indeed leave, rather than play with Marko. Yes. There was a learning curve and it wasn’t just about tennis, either. But that was long ago and now he is One of Us; he even has a Rancho membership card in his wallet, albeit expired.

I have a feeling he’s gonna re-up after yesterday’s ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong performance, which was highlighted by his partner Clarence saying, “Go with the big first serve. If I had that serve, I would go with it first and also second. It’s a gift and would be a shame not to use it.”

Honk if you think Marko was charmed out of his kneesocks to hear his big first serve thus affirmed!

___ Honk!

___ I really have no idea what you’re talking about right now.

All right. If you checked #2, I respect you for hanging in there. It reminds me of Marko, not moping after his poor outing in a match, when was that even, does anyone remember?

No not really because we flushed it. That was wise. And here comes Marko charging back, rocketing that first serve and often enough even getting it in, which is a decided plus. He and Clarence rolled right over their first opponents, although there sure were plenty of deuce points on Milton’s serve. Lotta back and forth there, lotta let’s get this one!

Milton was wearing himself quite the Trump cap, a surprise perhaps but also perhaps not given Milton’s penchant for truculence. Marko played with Milton months ago and Milton was just not having it with Marko’s own penchant for blowing a dandelion seed over the net instead of a firm and deep return. Milton, who was battling back himself from a bout of gout, yes, gout, but even hobbled, or perhaps because of being hobbled, Milton got truculent about Marko’s well-chronicled weakness for the puffball.

To our hero’s credit, he did take away a useful point of instruction from Ray about doubles strategy: “Drive ’em into the fence.”

That’s straight to the point!

In Milton’s honor, let’s get straight to the point here: Marko had a jolly time on his first post-retirement from school-teaching outing at the Rancho courts over by Dorsey High. He hopped onto a court right away as opposed to having to wait around. In his first game he matched up with John and they were rollicking and frolicking until one of their opponents called one of Marko’s rocket serves out even though it was so in.

Marko would have been content just to look agog but John took it one step further and walked off the court. Marko followed — you gotta go with your partner! Also, Marko was under-thrilled by that Trump cap. The combination of Trump cap and blatant cheating just made Marko feel like, we can do better. He walked over to the guys sitting around on the bench at the back of the courts and said, “There have to be some kind of rules, we can’t just make stuff up.” It was a veiled commentary.

He does kinda want to ask ol’ Milton next time, hey, tell me, what do you see in Trump? But at the same time, he also doesn’t want to ask, doesn’t want to know, let’s keep those toxins sequestered. Free speech, sure. All the free speech you want. Marko was wearing tie-dye himself, that’s a statement. Tie-dye and the big long socks, that’s a statement indeed.

My point being I am liking his shots much more nowadays. He seems to have weaned himself for the most part from those dandelion seed-style puffball returns directly to the guy at the net. We’re seeing much more cross-court service returns with considerably better results in terms of Marko winning points, which is what makes us shout hooray.

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