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Sport or Art: The Big 3 as Terracotta Warriors, Sculpture by Laury Dizengremel

What’s the most impressive thing about the Egyptian Pyramids, the Terracotta Warriors? More widely known today than in their infancy, they have endured over 4 millennia. The pyramids and the contents within—the pharoah’s chair, his portrait hewed out of hardest stone, are built to last not only as monuments to the dead but as memorial […]

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Arkansas Wins Southerns: Waffle House, Redemption, and a Shot of Bailey’s

Day 1: Driving all day to Dothan, Alabama. 12 hours in the car with Doug and Bill. We talk tennis, theology, politics. BS, too. Remnants of Hurricane Nicole greet us with wind and rain an hour outside Dothan. Right next to our hotel is a Waffle House. Bill says let’s eat there. It feels like […]

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Esther Vergeer: Fierce and Vulnerable

I cry when I see that picture of me as a little girl. Helpless and alone after the surgery, she must lie on her stomach for a week. No one told mom or dad she might need a wheelchair. Alone in the bathroom after another gold medal, I must produce for the mandatory doping test. […]

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“Towards an Indian Gay Image, Oberoi Hotel, 2020,” Art by Sunil Gupta

Note: When I played high school tennis in the 1970s, I heard many say tennis was a “sissy” sport. Not sure I even knew what that meant: effeminate, gay . . . (not sure I even knew what “gay” meant at 15 years old). Those days are gone. Intriguing, though, that Gupta’s gay figure carries a […]

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J.J. Wolf Goes Lefty, Hits the Shot of the Year

“God gave me two hands. I might as well use them both.” –Randy Sontheimer In the finals of the Colorado State Open, I hit a sharply angled crosscourt backhand. No way my opponent, Randy Sontheimer, could reach the shot. Suddenly he went lefty on me and punched a topspin forehand down the line for a […]

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Three French (S)heroes:  Yannick Noah/Amelie Mauresmo/Suzanne Lenglen

Miscegenation. I first read that word in a Faulkner novel. Métisse (mixed race). I first heard that word in one of Noah’s hit songs.* Half man whispered in the women’s locker room after Mauresmo came out as a lesbian. A mere decade later, a muscular body such as hers was accepted by everyone, desired by many. […]

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Autumn at the Stagg Invitational

Mike Roberson and I shake hands after the final match. We both lost our wives this year. I am the lucky one. At 65 years old, two decades older than Mike, I can already check the box called a long, happy life: a blissful marriage of forty years with two beautiful daughters of intelligence and […]

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Jimmy Arias and Luke Jensen Visit Team Luke

The Sixth Annual Play for Team Luke Tennis and Pickleball Event takes place on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Hardscrabble Country Club in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Click here for more info. Special guests are Jimmy Arias and Luke Jensen. Jimmy Arias: So good so young so slight so overpowering he scared everyone. Hit the forehand so […]

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Louis Armstrong’s Trumpet

Is there a greater story in American history than how Louis Armstrong developed the improvised jazz solo before white and black audiences in the 1920s? Playing before white audiences, Armstrong would rarely stray too far from the tune. Give them something familiar, easy on the mind. Don’t what those white people to have to work […]

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Tatjana Maria: The Forehand Slice in Wimbledon’s Garden of Eden

Tatjana Maria’s grand slam record before reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2022: 13 losses in qualifying rounds, 23 losses in the first round; 10 losses in the second round, 1 loss in the third round. In other words, her greatest success by far comes at age 34 a year after giving birth to her second […]