CRAIG

Craig is my doubles partner in the gay tennis league.

In my league, doubles partners are assigned randomly when you register each season. I’ve played for five seasons now, and I’ve had a different doubles partner every time. Mostly, I’ve had pretty good luck. Alex, Karen, Sean and Joe were all really nice. Craig’s kind of a jerk.

This Wednesday, we played in the doubles finals for the season. Wednesday was the day I was so sick that I took an actual sick day (meaning a day when I was legitimately too sick to go in to work) for possibly the first time in my life. I hadn’t slept much the night before because of my persistent cough, and my throat was so sore, I could barely speak intelligibly, making me unable to perform my work duties. But I showed up for tennis because, well, I didn’t want to disappoint Craig.

Whenever we play, Craig insists on serving first for our team. I don’t have a great serve, but I don’t think I’m bragging when I say it’s a lot more consistent than Craig’s. We’ve lost entire games because his serve was shitty, but I’ve rarely double-faulted more than once or twice in a set. But the point isn’t who serves better. It’s who’s less of a jerk. The person on a team who’s more inclined to share the serving duties is less of a jerk. Again, I’m not bragging when I say that’s me.

Craig is about my height, but he’s very stocky. I’m not good at estimating people’s weight, but he’s probably about 80-100 pounds heavier than I am. He wears the same blue shirt and gym shorts every week. He’s kind of nerdy and apparently runs some sort of comic book website. There’s really no reason to point any of this out, but there’s no reason NOT to either. In case you haven’t noticed, this is the blog post where I rag on Craig.

On Wednesday, as sick as I was, I played possibly the best tennis of my life, and we lost the doubles championship because of Craig. He played poorly all night, double-faulted constantly, and hit error after error. Meanwhile, I hit more winners than ever before and got a lot of compliments from players who are much better than I am. Fine, this time I am bragging when I say I played great, but I feel safe doing that and knowing I’ll still come off better than Craig in this story.

Craig and I won two matches out of three (matches in my league are just one set long), and the one we lost, we lost 7-5. But that was enough to cost us the championship, and at the end of the night, even Craig had to admit that I carried the team. We would’ve won if not for him, he confided.

He said that, but he still didn’t let me serve first in any of the matches that night. He still hit balls that were clearly headed for my side of the court (and usually hit them out of bounds). He still behaved like a sore loser and a jerk.

But that’s okay. I didn’t want the trophy, and I didn’t want the gay tennis league Wednesday doubles title for Spring 2003.

I wanted to lose, and I wanted it to be Craig’s fault.

It was the best season ever.

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