#462 Darby Park, Inglewood

I took a 6-0 beatdown here last Sunday from a nice friendly guy I met via PlayYourCourt, a very good app for connecting with tennis partners. Until now I’ve mainly been using the Facebook “Tennis Players in LA” page, which is also really good. The tennis player culture online has proven to be courteous and reliable — hurray for something good about social media!

This new tennis friend of mine might have eased up in the second set, or I might have dug down for some extra “You’re better than that, let’s prove it” type of grit, ’cause I roared back to lose the second set 6-4. Typically if I bagel someone in the first set I’ll ease up in the second, to let ’em get at least two. But I think four shows extra-good improvement and I will do even better if I keep working on hitting deeper. I found these useful two-player games on leegues.com and worked on them today with my daughter — we were openly cavorting and scampering about. I think this practice will help me get nice friendly revenge against my new tennis friend, who was kind enough to sign the ball, a new tradition here at centrodegozo.

Darby Park, meanwhile: great view of SoFi Stadium and the Forum. You really feel like you have the eagle eye up there. I rode my bike for this outing since Inglewood isn’t far from home — I’ve been riding my bike to play tennis in Inglewood for 20 years. The big change in my tennis bike-riding nowadays is I got panniers for my bike (side-saddles, or bike-packs) so I’m not lugging a giant bag on my back — hurray for an actual weight off my shoulders!

On the bike ride home, I stopped by the Hilltop Cafe and sure am glad I did. That was the day’s true highlight. The dream is real over there, the dream about people of the world all getting together. It was like, people getting ready for the train to Jordan. What a blessing it is to find places like this, where everybody fits together, enjoying their java and a breakfast treat in high-ceiling’d, wide-window’d glory.

Published by MarkGozonsky

Mark Gozonsky is the author of The Gift is to the Giver: Chronicles of a 21st Century Decade (Keppie Usage, 2022). His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Sun, and Lit Hub. Mark’s essay, “Gritty All Day Long,” is anthologized by Norton and featured in Best American Sports Writing. He has been writing since his emergence as a gigantic music nerd in early-1970’s San Antonio, Texas. Stints as a regular commentator on public radio’s Marketplace and Internet 1.0 exec preceded a 20-year run as a public school teacher. Marko’s favorite writing topics include unorthodox pedagogy, well-intended gardening, and the intersection of baseball and urban bicycling. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, where he is working on a new book about his quest to play tennis on every free public court in LA.

2 thoughts on “#462 Darby Park, Inglewood

  1. Hurray for something good coming from Social Media!
    Hurray for taking a load off your shoulders!
    Hurray for quoting Curtis Mayfield.
    May we all, some day, be together, in the Hilltop Cafe.

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