Here I am at 11 losing — badly — to Boyd Bryan in the quarterfinals of the 1973 Texas Sectionals for Boys’ 12-and-under.
I’d estimate the score was 6-1, 6-2, maybe 6-2, 6-3. Boyd never missed and when I was 11 I had already started serve-and-volleying, and I missed a lot.
- The terrycloth hat;
- The “Blue Head” — Head Master racket, still one of my favorites;
- The wristband with stripes — chosen with utmost care;
- The tentative second serve;
- I know it’s a second serve because I apparently did not clear the ball from the missed first serve — it’s right there in the middle of the court.
The match going on behind us might actually be more interesting. There, Paul Crozier (visor) is beating Brad Stoffel. I’d recognize Paul’s quietly intimidating presence and Brad’s bouncy enthusiasm anywhere.
I know Paul won that match because he beat Boyd in the finals that same tournament. The two winners that day were 12, the two losers were 11.
We — meaning Brad Stoffel and I — played in the finals of the next year’s 12-and-under Sectionals, a match he won in the midst of his 15-match-winning streak over me.
Fortunately, nobody beats me sixteen times in a row, but that was another blog for another time.