Nov. 3, 2011
Flushing, N.Y. – As the nation’s top ranked doubles team, Kevin King and Juan Spir qualified for the ITA National Indoors, and after winning the southeast regional championship, Kevin also qualified for singles. The National Indoors is being played this weekend in New York City, at the site of the U.S. Open. Being a close friend and a former teammate of these two guys, I decided to hop on Air Tran’s University Stand-by program and fly up to NYC to support them.
When Juan texted me this morning, “Hey could you grab the black dressing shoes I have in my closet and bring them to ny?” I didn’t get the best feeling about the way we were starting our trip. I was heading to the airport to fly stand-by a few hours after Juan, Kevin, and Kenny had taken off for the Big Apple. I didn’t know when I would be getting in, and Juan needed his “dressing shoes” for the 5:45 player banquet. My feelings about getting started on the wrong foot quickly changed when I was booked on the first possible flight to LaGuardia, and ended up sitting in an exit row with an empty seat on both sides of me!
I landed in New York at 5:05 and arrived at the tournament site at 5:30. (A big thanks to my taxi driver, who lived up to every rumor about the haste of New York City cabbies.) Upon arriving, I delivered Juan’s shoes, (but was unable to provide him with an extra tie) and Kenny worked his magic and got me into the player banquet.
The player function included a great tour of the USTA National Tennis Center and Arthur Ashe stadium. By a stroke of luck we ended up in the first group and arrived at the dining hall before anyone else. The player party featured a delicious buffet that the three of us visited more than once, and the guys left well fed and ready for action tomorrow. After snapping a few photos around the grounds, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.
Doubles action for the Jackets starts at 9:30 tomorrow, which means a 7:45 practice court and a 6:30 wake-up call. Juan and Kev will play a team from Columbia University, and Kevin will play Vasko Mladenov from St. John’s at 2:00p.m. Kevin’s parents will be joining me in the cheering section tomorrow morning as we try to help Georgia Tech Men’s Tennis bring home its first national title!