June 8, 2019

June 8, 2019


The Suncoast Tennis League is a huge conglomeration of people living in Sarasota and Manatee counties, Florida. From October to March each year 1,900 players compete in doubles. There are 32 clubs officially signed up for competition. The league began in 1980 when John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg were both at the height of their powers. Once a week team captains are responsible for telling the public the results of every match played. Most captains send out newsletters. But only one captain (Jon Dietz, President of the Paradise Duffers Golf Association and captain of the University Park Red tennis team, uses the newsletter as an opportunity to tell wild outlandish tales. Sure, the scores are accurately tabulated. But beyond that, what one reads is as likely to involve aliens as often as carbon-based lifeforms (CBLF). What you will be reading from now until the league starts up again are selected archived newsletters that have tickled the funnybones of lots of people.  The stories may be dated, but then so was every joke Henny Youngman ever told over a sixty year career. Enjoy. - Jon

Dateline MARCH 3, 2017 (Blast from the past )


Things were looking awfully dire. Peter Payer looked like Opie Taylor after learning his pony had been stolen. UP had just lost Court One (6-1). But yours truly knew what had to be done. I told Peter ‘I guarantee we are going to win this next set. I am going to hit cut forehands right at their feet. When I do, you charge the net and put it away!’

Our opponents, Tirro Luckino and Bob Darbee, were feeling pretty cocky. But they were not ready for that forehand that comes across the net like a line drive and bounces maybe an inch. When they did get in back, Peter was right there like a trap door spider. Boom! See you later! Second set UP wins (6-2). The Venetian boys failed to adjust and they lost the third set by the same score. Once again it was Peter’s leg speed that saved the day. My bum left leg held up, but just barely. Ten more minutes and I would have been Peg Leg Pete! Court Two was a slaughter. Bill Mutryn and Mike White bested Lew Perry and Glendall Smith (6-0, 6-4). Then came the marathon on Court Three. Nat Colletta and Jerry Birnbaum decided to keep the ball in play at all costs, but so did their opponents, Don Butler and Paul Gress. Back and forth, back and forth. I was going to order dinner at courtside when finally Nat and Jerry beat their opponents (6-4, 7-6).

Great Balls O fire! It was a happy ride back to Sarasota. I had two guests in my car, Colletta and Mutryn. I have to tell you about the trip home (it was a riot). It seems that Bill Mutryn and I have a love of music from the fifties and sixties, and I just so happen to have the Time-Life collection of nine CDs from that period. Nat Colletta, of course, is a very erudite man and he wanted to discuss geopolitics on the way home. Oops. No such luck. Nat would start prattling on about some international event. Just then a CD would kick in and Mutryn and I started singing along (‘Wake up, little Suzie, Wake Up!...). Nat would interject, ‘hey guys, this is important!’ Next CD (‘Why do fools fall in love…). I could see Nat in the back of the car, rolling his eyes like he was in traveling asylum. When Mutryn and I started synchronizing our hand movements, I was certain Nat was going to jump out of a moving car. When I dropped the boys off, the radio was blasting ‘Splish Splash, I was taking a bath…). My only regret was that Nat escaped before Bill and I could finish the song. -JON