Virginia Beach, Va.--A spectator looked into my eyes but received only a puzzled look in return.
"Hey, at least you're getting beat by a hottie," said the pasty, bearded man on the sidelines of the Beach Tennis court in Virginia Beach. He was referring to the trim, slender and graceful woman who stood on the other side of the sand.
A racket in her hand, she launched herself into the air--her head up and eyes burning--and delivered a rocket of a serve. It eluded my grasp, as the women cushioned their near-insurmountable lead.
The spectator was wrong. I wasn't just getting beat. I was getting my ass clobbered and thoroughly walloped by an arsenal of bullet, knuckleball and handcuffing serves. The dynamic lady tandem was for real.
Both gals, local products who have a tennis background, were mastering the transition from regular tennis to beach tennis.
They were roasting me to the recipe of some lopsided score under the sultry sun.
When I tried to put my stamp on the game by laying down a nasty hit, I overpowered the ball. I hit it far out of bounds, launching it as if I was a slugger in the home run launchpad that's become the new Yankee Stadium.
I could use some more practice. I kept telling myself it's just a matter of more repititions, but the two ladies took their hacks and got the better of us. They thrived in the center stage, impressing the announcers and rendering my Beach Tennis game garbage.
Omar, my teammate, was shouldering the burden of one-man band.
Omar was trying to put together a quick momentum surge that would break us out of the funk.
It wouldn't happen.
We continued to falter.
The ladies continued to put me in a straightjacket, pounding the ball down my throat, catching me off balance and parking serves in the sand. Albeit I was getting mauled, I couldn't be embarassed.
They got game.
Plenty of women got a taste of Beach Tennis Saturday. I was one of many dudes who got outplayed, significantly, by my female counterpart.
Tennis players from Davidson College and nearby Old Dominion University took up the courts and turned heads.
The woman from ODU made a seamless transition from the court to the sand. It wasn't a quantum leap like it was for me. (But then again, I pretty much suck).
She was picking up the slack for her boyfriend. It was certainly fun for the families and spectators in attendance, watching a chick go to work. She soared above the competition, leaving dudes with the taste of sand and defeat in their mouths.
She had some pep in her game. With her full arsenal, her entire stock of skills were on display, she suddenly became known to the Beach Tennis masses.
For women, beach tennis is a sport that's growing, growing, growing...Jack and the beanstalk style.....