Pine Nuts: Tennis anyone?

It was refreshing to see a couple teens vie for this year’s US Open Championship, and see a qualifier win it for the first time ever. Britain’s 18-year-old Emma Raducanu defeated Canada’s 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, 6-4, 6-3. Happy? As Huckleberry might say, “I reckon not!” I can just picture Emma shoving her teddy bear over on her bedroom bookshelf back home, and standing that beautiful new silver championship trophy up alongside that teddy bear.

Ranked 150th in the world, and not expecting to win a qualifying round to get her into the tournament, Emma booked a flight home for the day following her qualifying round, a flight, as it turned out, she would not need. How nice. Emma’s reaction upon receiving that big silver trophy was four little words, “I can’t believe it.”

On the men’s side, you might have heard, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, 6 foot 6 inches tall, slammed the door on Novak Djokovic’s pursuit of the first calendar-year Slam in 52 years, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. I can picture Daniil arriving at his New York hotel lobby bar and hoisting a glass of Stolichnaya to The Big Apple.

Once a tennis player myself, I was known as, “the best bad player in the Hawaiian Archipelago.” I never hit a true shot, but sliced all the fuzz off the balls in the first game. Before a big match I would run my tennis balls through the tumble-dryer at Auntie Henrietta’s Laundry Mat on super-hot. Those balls were so jacked-up, well, my opponent couldn’t tell you on which side my service ball went past him. It didn’t hurt my chances any when I poured a little formaldehyde on his towel, so when we changed sides of the court and he wiped his face with that towel, well, his eyes began to cross and his legs began to wobble.

I must confess, I took some credit last week where credit was not due, and I feel a little guilty about it now. A friend and I, both in our 70s, decided to play tennis for the first time in twenty years or so, but neither of us had any balls. At the tennis club I discovered a big bin of tennis balls that were headed for the recycling center, but the pro-shop was closed, and as there was nowhere to buy tennis balls that we knew of, I borrowed three dead balls with which to play our match. What difference could it make that the balls were dead? They did in fact actually help our game.

When I returned the flat balls to the recycling bin the next day there were some ladies watching television there and one of them said, “That’s Mark Twain!” I thought about explaining, but pride got the better part of discretion and I took their compliments in stride…

“Oh, thank you, Mr. Twain!” “Mark Twain is so generous.” I lived on those compliments for a week. I’m living on them still…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User