I’ve been visiting Moalboal regularly since my college years but it was only recently, during the start of the pandemic, that I got to play tennis here. The sport is well-loved and alive here, and if the same holds true for other tennis towns, the Philippine Tennis Association should revisit its defiance of the International Tennis Federation’s mandate to open its membership, but that’s for another topic.
Consider the Moalboal Parish Tennis Club, for example. It’s just one club but there are four distinct groups that play regularly and it’s based on schedule.
There’s the Sunrisers Group, which includes the Vice Mayor and some of the seniors, the “Panghapunon” (afternoon) group, which has some lady players and foreigners, and the evening group, which I’m told features the best players of the town. Me? I belong to the Monday group, which also sometimes play on Thursdays and we get to the court after the Sunrisers and just before afternoon.
Groups aren’t exclusive, of course, and you get to play those who belong to the other “schedules” if you want. The Sunrisers hold regular tournaments and I got invited to join them.
Their weekend tournament started two weeks ago and I, together with Kito Tampus, who owns HK Resort, got to be “Pair H.”
We went 0-2 on the first day, losing the first match Fr. Gilbert, who only picked up the sport some three months ago, and Molly, 8-2, a college teacher here, and the second match to my cousin Estoy and Carding, 8-4. If the scoring trend continues, we’ll lose our next match, 8-6, and probably win the next one. I hope.
Playing for fun and playing in a tournament are two different things. It may be the same court against the same guys you’ve played against but you either tend to play it too safe and miss or go for winners and miss.
That sort of makes you look at the pros who battle from love-40 down in the final game of the final set in a different light.
The prize money of the tournament isn’t much because, as Vice Mayor Titing Cabaron loves to say on the sidelines, “Our purpose here is for camaraderie, not the prize.” But of course, seeing how the players react to errors or winners, one might think we’re playing in a grand slam.
The tournament will last until December and I hope, come December, the sun won’t set in our Sunrisers’ stint.