News from the Ann Arbor Area Community Tennis Association February 2010
A Good Time For A Good Cause
Hit For Haiti Raises over $4000
It's funny how we make mental connections between seemingly disparate events. Consider this recent seismic event in Haiti. Yes, it was horrific, in terms of death, injury, and property destruction. Yes, the people of Haiti, already desperately poor, could ill afford the additional burden. Regardless of how we may feel about the administration of that island nation, we seek to help.
That was the goal of AAACTA's benefit on January 30th. Many of you attended - and have my gratitude for it. In the course of a fun-filled evening of tennis at the generously-provided UM Varsity Tennis Center, some 50 players and 14 tennis professionals enjoyed 4 hours of matches, drills, and other fun. We raised, for the worthy Haiti Nursing Foundation, some $4000, give or take.
That was all well and good and the literal meaning of our recent Hit for Haiti Port Au Prince Racquet Party. My mind doesn't work in literal terms, however, and I'm sure many of you sponsor creative interpretations as well.
Consider the word "laconic". The Oxford Online Etymology dictionary
tells us that the word goes back to Lakonia - also known as Sparta. It
means pithy, concise to a fault, economical with words. It is said that,
when Philip of Macedon (father to Alexander the Great, of course),
threatened Sparta, he said, "If I enter Sparta, I will raze it to the
ground." To which the Spartan envoy laconically replied, "If."
An anecdote like that would be best brought to you by a westerner far
removed from Macedonia or Sparta, both geographically and for the fact
that laconic is to Sparta as garrulous is to Ireland. Consider the
Irish. They're notorious storytellers. In the Republic of Ireland,
poets, artists, and writers are considered a National Treasure and ply
their trades tax-free. There is, in Ireland, historical precedent for
their self-consideration as some kind of storehouse of western tradition
and knowledge. I'd direct the curious, at this point, to a little tale
entitled, "How the Irish Saved Civilization". The fact that Ireland was
a bit of a geographical backwater served all well during the Dark Ages
as Irish scholars and clergy transferred old Greek and Roman knowledge
and literature back to the intellectually bankrupt Europe of the dark ages.
Here we come to the nexus occurring in my mind over the recent Haiti
benefit, one I couldn't voice until I set it to words: the laconic
contingency "if" and the transfer of light to the benighted. Remember
that next time you see a Shamrock (which should be pretty soon). Why?
Because you, we, satisfied that contingency that, coincidentally was the
subject of a poem by a well-known western writer and is, also
coincidentally, enshrined by excerpt in tennis' most famous venue, and
brought that light, as did the Irish missionaries of the Dark Ages, to a
place that had little.
Then remember that you are thanked for your generosity of spirit and
energy - both of which were on glorious display the night of January
30th. I walked away feeling that I'd not only had a good evening's
tennis but that, at less than fifteen dollars and hour, I'd just been
tricked into a solid tennis value. There are many to thank for that and
we acknowledge and thank them in this issue of the AAACTA newsletter.
See you out there on the courts...
Patrick J. Lee