Sunday, August 21, 2011

Irish Fest 2011

Another Irish Fest come and gone.

On Friday, we worked at the souvenir store at the north end of the Summerfest grounds. Because of the department-store-ish setup, we were more like t-shirt bouncers lurking at the fringes. It was a challenge to feel useful, but we got to step up and work the registers later that night. Way better (I love to do math in my head!).

We spent Sunday at the Marketplace, safely hemmed in by stacks and stacks of t-shirts. Here we are with the best sellers this year (this I determined from my tenure at the corner of the booth).

Then it was time for food. Per tradition, Denise had reuben rolls. I had a better-than-average shepherd's pie on Friday: the potatoes were swirled atop the ground beef. Yum! Next year I'll need to remember that it came from Trinity. And tonight I had a loaded baked potato.

Eating at a picnic table by the lake, it was hard not to mourn the ending of summer. But I wouldn't give up the fun of the fest, so I'll look forward to doing it again next year. See you there.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tennis: Honey Badgers team party

The Honey Badgers journeyed to the Firefly to celebrate our season.

We ate. We drank. We reminisced about our matches — the ones we won, the ones we didn't. That is my new euphemism: winning and "not winning." "Losing" is such a harsh term, and doesn't seem entirely accurate in describing us (unless we're talking about the Princeton bageling, ouch). It was a terrific season!

And a memorable party. Dianne, thank you for the heartfelt words. You are so gracious!

And everybody, thank you for the generous gift card. I'm going to use it for a lesson with Tom. Honey Badger needs a more consistent serve!

Some of the HBs couldn't be there, but Patty and I have party favors for you: notes from your teammates about what they admire in your game. Whether it was one word or many, I hope they'll be reminders of how you've contributed to our team's success.

I will miss you, Honey Badgers. Sure, we'll play permanent court time and maybe a tournament or two, but it's just not the same as seeing each other every week during the summer.

Not only did I love the excellent tennis, I also loved getting to know you better. I will miss all the phone conversations late at night, in the morning on my drive to work, and even occasionally during work.

Thanks for giving me lots to blog about. I'll also miss the strange exhilaration of staying up late after matches so I could make my Thursday morning deadline.

I can't wait to do it all again next year.

Go team!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mixed troubles

Though I've loved playing lots of tennis this summer, one thing I've missed out on was Monday Night Tennis. For MNT, Jean organizes four courts of mixed doubles at Brookfield Central.

Tonight, a few minutes into hitting, it started to rain. Almost everyone decided to go for an early dinner.

But Terry and I stayed and played against Dan and Mary.

"Safety first" — i.e., not running for a ball because the court was slippery — ensured that this wasn't the best tennis ever.

Mary asked, "Are you going to blog about this?" She was kidding, but I like a (moderate) challenge.

It continued to drizzle. The balls got waterlogged. Oosh.

But this being my first Monday of tennis this summer, I was glad to be out there hitting badly. (If you're wondering, Dan and Mary took the set, 6-4.)

So then we went to Hooters. Apparently Becky wanted to "try something new" last week, and this was also the choice tonight.

We sat at the same table as last week. I think we even sat in the same seating arrangement. My burger was just okay (better than the buffalo nuggets and stumpy fries I had before).

When Kevin and Colleen arrived, he said, "We're here to meet a bunch of morons."

The hostess said, "The tennis people are over there."

Mediocre tennis and mediocre food? Sounds like an okay Monday to me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tennis: Honey Badgers final 2011 match

Tonight we trekked to Oconomowoc Lake Club for the last match of our season.

It was a night of sunshine, tennis whites, and only a few mosquitos.

At #2 singles, in only her second match of the season, Melanie was the first person to finish. She played with a lot of poise — and topspin! — and won 6-4, 6-2. Melanie, you did great tonight. Congratulations on your perfect record! And thanks to Mike and Katie, who also came to cheer her on. (Katie, I also enjoyed hanging out with you and hearing about who else you're playing tennis with!)

At #1, Kelly did her best against the opponent she played five weeks ago. Though she didn't come away with a win this time, she played hard and I could tell both players had a great time out there. Kelly, your sportsmanship is commendable (and reflects well on all of us!).

At #1 doubles, Jean and Marilee won in straight sets. Marilee has played with five different partners this season and adapted easily. Thanks for being such a flexible and versatile player! And Jean, way to end your season with a strong finish. (Sidebar: If you haven't already, be sure to congratulate Jean and Jan on advancing to playoffs with their senior team. Go Senior Honies!)

After losing the first set, Dianne and Sandy took the second. They played riveting tennis. I couldn't figure out what was different about Sandy tonight. I thought it was the sunglasses; Patty said, "She put her competitive face on."

We were having so much fun hanging out, Dianne had to shush us. (Sorry, Di. We were in our own little world.) It was so exciting to see you both excel against a very competitive team. Top-notch tennis and sportsmanship to match — a fitting end to your season.

As the sun was setting, Beth and Colleen were giving it their all. After losing the first set, they brought the second to a tiebreak. And won it! You two showed great mental toughness. Colleen, I loved how you hit sky-high lobs. And returned them, too! And Beth, way to fall down and get right back up. Literally. You are such a resilient player. Even though your opponents ultimately won the match, it was inspiring to see how hard you made them work for it. Very honey badgerish!

Tonight we also celebrated Colleen's birthday, the year of which she would not divulge ("It's not a milestone," she said). So we hung out in the clubhouse and reminisced while Colleen read birthday cards at arm's length.

Happy Birthday, Colleen! And happy end-of-season, Team!

Our season overall: 31 and 19, for a solid second-place finish.

Tremendous year, Honey Badgers! I'm looking forward to celebrating with you next week.