Friday, March 2, 2012

Blog Vacation Starts Today at 8:08AM

Editor's note:  Beginning today and thru next Friday, March 9, I will be on a blog vacation traveling through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska with my wife, my youngest son and my travel buddy, Wilson.  All stories appearing this week were written prior to today and will appear daily at 8:08AM.  I will not be able to respond to your comments or emails until I return to cyberspace one week from today.

Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday night was my last tennis session in my hometown.  I got the opportunity to team up with Doug Failla, the local pro.  When your partner is a tennis pro, it means all the balls are going to be it at you.  I was on the hot seat all night and our opponents, Larry and Mike, were relentless.  When we were all at the net, Mike fired a shot that struck me directly on my right breast.  It felt like a bullet.  I had to stop playing for several minutes.  Once I recovered, we went on to close out our victory.  At the end of the match, I received a large autographed poster made out of vinylI told the group I would hang it in the basement of our new place in Iowa and look at it every day for inspiration.  Our team was nicknamed "Smashin' With Passion."  This team lived up to its name.  And now it's time for me to continue that passion that was rekindled on the tennis courts of Ramona.  I will take it and the poster with me.  And I will write with passion.  Some of my stories will be stinging, just like that tennis shot from my buddy, Mike.  That's what passion is.  When you write from the heart, readers feel your emotions.

Thank you, my precious team-mates, Larry, Mike, Doug, Olivier, Chris, Jim, Brooke, Stacey, Shelley, Corri, Tori, Terri, Ninon; my honorary team captain, Elliott, and all the support people including Leland, the nationally ranked tennis player who recently won the Mr. San Diego award for male tennis player of the year.  Our 5th place finish at the national championships is the result of commitment, hard work, and help from Leland as well as professional guidance from Doug Failla, his brother, Greg, and Greg's wife, Katrina, all former high-ranked tennis pros who played on the tour.

I will savor great tennis memories for a life-time.  And I will follow the rising stars in Ramona who will be the tennis stars of the future.  Among them are Doug's son, Christian, Greg and Katrina's four children, and my left-handed nephew, Adam, the only player to make the high school varsity as a freshman.  Adam will be coached by my good friend, Doug, and he will build enough memories to last a life-time.  I know I have.  And I will never forget the great people of Ramona.  They will be in my heart everywhere I go.

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