A med & grad student who used to work the line in LA, NYC, SF and Napa talking about the science of cooking and cooking with science. Harold McGee's On Food And Cooking - The Science and Lore of the Kitchen never satisfied my kitchen curiosity and more than one Chef grew exasperated with my asking "Why?" I'll try to stay on topic, but you may see a kvetch or two about the school & hospital.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
Please wait while my tweets load
It's spring. A time of year that evokes confusing emotions for me. A two month window where I become manic about the weather. On the one hand, I suffer from terrible seasonal allergies and rant and rail about everything from wanting to claw my eyes out and rinse them with TRIS buffer to dreaming about slashing and burning every last plant on the planet. If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen recent rants on the matter. On the other hand, it is also a time where we start to see long stretches of dry weather in Northern California. The threat of constant rain starts to become a distant memory. As April gives way to May, the threat becomes a weirdly hazy memory. Something akin to a nightmare from two nights ago that your mind can no longer grasp or recall. This constant dry period lends itself well to one of those other passions in my life - tennis.
There are some truly bizarre myths and stereotypes I've heard about growing up in California. An acquaintance recently regaled me with a tale of how when she moved to Texas from California, as a child, the people in her new town in Texas thought that all Cali kids surfed to school. They were saddened to have this myth dispelled by her. In high school, too, we had a new transfer student from Minnesota who was just crushed that our school wasn't close enough to head to the beach every day for lunch. We'll ignore the fact that Lake Merced could be seen from the tennis courts, and that just trying to walk to Ocean Beach and back would take up the entire 45 minutes we were given for lunch.
There is one stereotype that holds true for a lot of kids who grew up in California, especially around the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. It didn't matter what neighborhood you grew up in, from Bayview, West Oakland and Compton to Pacific Heights, Marin and La Jolla, at one point in your life you picked up a tennis racket. You played at the local park with friends and parents or you played at school as part of PE. Some were good enough to be developed by clubs for University and Professional tennis. And a lot of those kids got into really expensive programs for free, or really low cost, thanks to the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The organization is well and truly devoted to promoting and growing the sport of tennis throughout the country. Everyone from the guys at the local park who rally to the kids at the Nick Bollettieri Academy running drill after drill has benefited from the USTA's work. Just about every state has, or is part of, a USTA section.
The USTA tried for years to figure out how to keep from losing players during a crucial period of time. That time being the stretch between high school graduation and university graduation. To combat this attrition of players, the USTA started its Tennis On Campus program. This gave university students who did not play NCAA tennis a chance to continue to play, and play in competitive tournaments. It's one thing to hear the ball come off your strings on a tennis court. It is another thing entirely to hear that same sound echoed through a stadium court. With people cheering you on. The schools play a format different from professional tennis. Play is by team, and each team fields players for men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles. Each field plays for one set, with cumulative set scores determining the winner.
And going on right now is the biggest tournament in the TOC calendar - Nationals. 64 teams from across the country are converging on Cary, North Carolina this weekend. Each section fielded 3 schools, and Northern California is represented by Stanford, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. Cal is the defending champion and faces University of Virginia, University of Washington and Lone Star College in the first round of round robin play. 2010 runner up University of Florida faces UC Davis in the first round round robin. I am saddened I won't get to see Cal defend its title (tendonitis), but friends at all three schools have assured me they'll keep me abreast of how they're doing with constant text and e-mail updates. So, if you see me engage in some twitter smash mouth, trash talking about other campuses this weekend, I apologize. Especially if it's your campus I'm talking smack about. Just know that I do it out of love.
This post has been viewed: 339 time(s)
That sounds like a lot of fun. I've always wanted to get back into playing pick-up soccer, but I don't feel like I ever have time :( Too bad you're injured and can't be there to cheer on your crew.
It's a fun side project. I was never good enough in HS to play even JV Uni tennis (but I did play Football, making me one of the biggest tennis players you'll see on the courts). And I have a great time networking at Sectionals, Invitationals and Nationals. I've seen people put aside the Cal-Stanford or UCLA-USC rivalry to get some O-Chem study time in (science bringing us all together?). And I know a couple grad and med students who field questions about their academic discipline and programs in between sets. So, I look at it as a great networking opportunity for people who just all happen to play tennis too.