GCSPrank Is Here

For people who spend the day saying and writing things that others accept, while thinking things that are infinitely more interesting.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Tall and lanky, she was either a basketball player or a volleyball player. Turns out volleyball was her sport.

Elizabeth had straight, shoulder-length blond hair and she walked like an athlete, with springy steps and slouchy posture. I saw her playing racquetball a couple of times on the “outer” courts, numbers 2 through 10, where less capable players usually played.

I hung around Court 1, the showcase court with the plexiglass right-hand wall that extended up some 20 feet. Known as the “Challenge Court,” winner stayed and that was all that mattered to me.

Racquetball was a new sport to me, but taking advantage of my reflexes and sheer “I won’t get hurt” bravado, I quickly gained some basic skills and what was once “one-and-out” became “Uh-oh, here he comes” looks that I collected like trophies.

I was on a roll one afternoon, having easily turned aside five challengers, when Elizabeth walked over and said she wanted to play me. I nodded, tossed her the ball and went in. Several players gathered to watch and within a short time, I had won 21-6. Elizabeth had excellent reach and was smooth moving forward and back, but she was slow in lateral movement and unless planted, had very little power. So I kept her moving from side and side and changed pace so she was never really set for any shot.

We shook hands and I started another game. I won and she challenged me again. I won 21-8, but several points had to be replayed because she “crowded” my shot. Instead of giving me a clear line to the front wall, Elizabeth would partially “block” my line. The first time I hit a weak sidewall shot, but after that, I did what I did to other players: I drilled her in the back. And the right buttock. And her legs.

After each thwack, even though it had to hurt, she’d turn and get set for the replay. She didn’t change expression, didn’t say a word, didn’t even look at me.

We played a few more times and she never scored more than 9 points. One afternoon, with no other players around, she told me she preferred playing against me. As she was still crowding and getting whacked, I asked her why. “Because you play against me like I was a guy. You don’t give me anything.”

I almost gawked. “It’s the Challenge Court,” I said. “If I lose I have to wait to play again.”

She gave me a direct look. “What if we played on another court?”

I shrugged. “Same thing.” She smiled.

As we talked, a guy who beat me fairly often walked by, pulled himself upright and said to me: “She’s good, right? Beat me 21-19 last week.” He walked into the Challenge Court and was surprised to see me follow him in.

He beat me 21-17. Then he lost to Elizabeth 21-18, committing what I thought were at least 30 unforced errors. He challenged, then jogged off for water. She watched him leave. “And that’s another thing,” she said, “You never straighten up when you see me even though I’m taller than you.”

I grinned. “Wouldn’t help.”

She handed me the ball. “No, it wouldn’t.”

I beat her 21-1. That cut her down to size


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