A stinging forehand
In the process of commenting on the zippy new surfaces at the Washington Park tennis courts (now the Velasco Tennis Center) in “Courting new fans,” I mentioned that I used to play there in the 1960s and ‘70s.
The courts at Washington and Lincoln Parks in those days were of clay in the classic mold, and compared to asphalt one encountered in most neighborhood courts they were a player’s dream. The raw material was
literally dirt cheap. But clay has to be rolled and striped – you can’t paint dirt – and some bozo could always be counted on to try to play on them when they were wet, which had the same effect on the surface as opening a bill in the General Assembly to amendments from the floor. Ground-nesting bees such as digger or miner bees regard hard-packed clay as the perfect neighborhood to build a home, and they would occasionally infest one of the courts. When I played on one I could forget about trying to hit the ball to my opponent’s weak backhand and just hit it where the bees were.