Braveheart BraveBart


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Here is a true story.[1. …with some exaggeration for dramatic effect.]

My tennis partner Anna has gone back to New Zealand more or less until February. As I’ve been enjoying my tennis a lot lately this leaves me in a predicament. So last week I contacted the ‘captain’ of the MANZA tennis group, Monika, to see if I could join in on their Monday game.

“Well, we had a man once”, came the reply (MANZA is a group that supports stay-at-home expat wives and partners, like me :) “…but we’re not sure what happened to him”. Hmmph, that sounds a bit ominous. “Let me consult the ladies and get back to you … Can you wear a wig and shave your legs?”

After a day or so the verdict can back “We are looking forward to welcome you on the courts”, but it was not without a caveat “Let’s see how you can cope”. It still sounded ominous, but what sort of a man would I be if I was afraid of a handful of part-time tennis expat wives?

Well, maybe a man that goes missing…

When I arrived at the hallowed Duta tennis courts, Monika found me and brought me over to ‘the meeting place’ (If that isn’t ominous, I don’t know what is). There were two other ladies who greeted me with a smirk smile and introduced themselves. I thought, “Cool, these look like fun sporting ladies, not too serious. Surely they couldn’t’ve scared that last bloke off, right?”.

And then the other ladies arrived. 13 more of them. I found myself recalling that scene from that documentary where those sharks gather and slowly, nay ominously, circle their prey. They had hardcore shoes and hardcore racquets and hardcore grimaces. Some of them had their knees and elbows strapped. I get nervous around women who play tennis so hard their own bodies can’t cope with the demands. I twisted my ankle once when I was about 10. These women probably twisted their ankles for fun.

It was then I began to sweat. It is humid in Malaysia, yes, but my body has become used to that. These were beads of that other type of sweat. The same beads of sweat the sharks’ prey were probably sweating. Underwater.

“Everyone seems friendly”, I thought as I fumbled for my towel, “Everyone’s smirking smiling at me, and besides, they’ve already given me the nickname ‘Brave Bart’. That’s a good sign, right?”

  • Michelle Park
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    Michelle Park

    I wonder if there will ever be a part two or are you chum by now?

  • Barto
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    Barto

    I was gonna write a part two, but I liked the mystery and abruptness of just this part. Everything is exaggerated, but I did get that nickname. The three girls I played with were rad. I’ll be going back for more although I need to practise before next time.

  • Monika
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    Monika

    Ha Ha Bravebart, you’re a good storyteller! Glad we did not scare you off completely, a few sweat drops are normal :-) Once you come boozing with us at the Xmas party you will get to know our relaxed and fun side.. Question is, are you ready to party with 20+ ladies? The shaving was not so successful but the long hair is good. It’s nice to have a man on the courts, perhaps your bravery will entice others to follow suit some day.. uhh, except if they read your story above ;-) See you again soon!

  • Barto
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    Barto

    Heh, I did a cooking course with 9 or so ladies once — it went ok, so 20+ shouldn’t be too hard. If the ladies booze on as hard as they play I might be in trouble :)

  • Tori
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    Tori

    I loved the part where you wrote they probably twisted their ankles for fun! Glad you’ve found other tennis partners while Anna is off getting married.