Rubber Match, an unusual tennis story in e-book by Marcus Paul Cootsona.
Plot: the reader is introduced to Wally Woodrow Wilson a 59-year-old tennis professional with his most attractive wife Danielle who are visiting colleges with their high school senior son Deuce who is quite adept at various form of magic and would prefer to try his hand in Las Vegas. They are accompanied by their red merle Australian Shepard, Rod Laver, the dog. They also have a daughter Addie who is in college and has a best friend, Ashley Margincall. Ashley is the daughter of an immensely rich parent who gives her huge amounts of money which apparently she employs in a highly successful entrepreneurial manner. From this point the story takes off to provide a tale of a stolen Dutch masterpiece painting, search for which involves Wally, his family and a host of other amusingly unconventional characters in a rambling story most prominently involving a remake of the format of the Davis Cup Tennis Tournament.
Discussion: The author is a highly regarded tennis professional and “lapsed playwright” with two other books and routine contributions to Tennis Magazine to his credit. His story here is an amusingly presented parody of tennis – and more specifically of the Davis Cup Format. Here he references the changing mentality of modern society. Tennis was begun in another era when life moved at a more leisurely pace. Today the average attention span of any millennial, the fastest growing group of consumers, has been found to be EIGHT SECONDS. Thus sports are increasingly being criticized for time consumed. Golf is ridiculous; 3 hours of football includes actual playing time of 11 minutes; baseball, 18 minutes; tennis time wise, probably is the best at 31 minutes of activity in 3 hours. An interesting example the author provides is the fact that Nadal takes as much as 45 seconds between shots compared with a match in 1969 between John Newcome (deceased Australia) and Rod Laver where time between shots routinely was clocked at 6 seconds. With respect to the flow of the story, it does so nicely except for some slightly annoying proofing errors more prominent in the later pages. Of particular interest and fascination to this reader was the author’s inclusion in this zany story of a deeper conviction: “96 % of the universe is dark matter. Nobody has seen it. Nobody may ever know how it works. That’s you.” You are controlled by destiny. “So, you can’t sit back and ask destiny to do its worst. Because it will. And nothing will happen. At least nothing good. You have to participate. With faith. And with goodwill. And without expectation. The way to be in control is to make a decision. Even if it seems risky.” A most thoughtful suggestion.
5* Amusingly unconventional story of tennis and assorted other activities