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Friday, April 20, 2012

Carondelet Park - You found what on the court?

Yesterday was a gorgeous St. Louis spring day that was perfect for a tennis match.  Carondelet Park in the Holly Hills neighborhood in south St. Louis city was chosen as the venue.   Our match was scheduled for 7:30 am.  Stan prepared the night before by dining on Nepalese food.  At 7:30 Stan was nowhere to be seen and Scott had plenty of time to inspect the facility.

The park and courts are beautiful.  The five courts sit right on Loughborough Avenue and the only parking available is on that street.  There is no clear walkway to the courts and the gates are all on the opposite side of the facility.  There is a also a building housing bathrooms and a drinking fountain area.  The bathrooms are locked and the drinking fountain is no longer there. The courts are right next to the Forestry division of the city of St. Louis and as you would expect the trees are beautiful all around the courts.

On to the courts - The five courts are lighted and the surface is in great shape.  Everything was looking good until a fresh almost steaming pile of dog doo was spotted on the courts.  This was unprecedented in the in the annals of stlforgottencourts.   Accordingly a court was selected far away from the excrement.

At this point Stan arrived and the match was on.  Almost with the first ball hit we noticed this was an extremely slow and gritty surface.  Balls had a lot of bite and drop shots and underspin were particularly effective.

Stan pulled out his racket strung with gut and immediately went to work picking on Scott's backhand.   The strategy worked and Stan sprinted out to a 4-1 lead.   Scott got back to 4-5 and fought off three set points before Stan finally closed it out.

Stan was feeling a little queasy from his dinner the night before but had enough confidence to switch rackets.   Scott came out firing in the second set hitting his backhands harder and was able to easily win the second set 6-2.  Stan fought hard in the last game and survived a couple set points before Scott hit a down the line backhand winner for the set.

Although Scott did not verbalize it, his diet of Mr. Wizard frozen custard for dinner and a Snickers bar for breakfast was beginning to fail.   The lack of quality food was translating into a lack of energy.   First six games were dead even at 3-3 and then Scott had the opportunity to serve for a 4-3 lead.   The game was tough and there were about 5 deuces.

Stan finally figured out Scott's lack of energy and began to stretch the points out.  After the longest point of the match which Stan won it was over.   Stan closed out the next two games for a 6-3 win in the third.  If we had finished later, we would have surely stopped at The Haven Pub or the Hilltop Inn for refreshments and lunch!

Location of courts rates an 8 and the condition a 7( the surface is 9 or better).  Rating 7.5.   The low rating on the condition is mostly for things such as lack of net straps, poop on court, etc.    The surface is really good and fun to play on.

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