Two rainouts, one match postponed, another match played out over two different weekends, an injury to one of its best players, and a heartbreaking loss prolonging the inevitable.
But this time around, this week, nothing was stopping the Hunter’s Green Green Machine 7.0 mixed doubles team.
On a beautiful Sunday morning, as angels hovered above, playing harps, harkening the day’s coming glory, the Green Machine pulled out a 2-1 victory over Harbour Island, sealing the league championship and clinching a berth in the upcoming state sectionals May 20-22.
“Slatterson” wrapped up the title for the Machine. Beleagured star John Slatniske, who came out of retirement late Saturday night, fittingly clinched the title at line 3, winning with Sharon Patterson by a 6-1, 6-1 score.
Slatniske was so overcome by his celebratory weeping, he had to be carried out of Harbour Island, as teammate Marisa Martin slung him over her shoulders, grabbed her bag and his, and made a quick cup of coffee for the trip back before stopping off for a quick bathroom break while carrying all three.
“It was awkward,” Martin said. “But it wasn’t that bad, once you ignored John’s weeping, and the bathrooms are really nice there, and he stayed very still on my shoulder while I was going, though I think the tennis bags were a little unbalanced and that was a problem but man oh man is the toilet paper nice at Harbour Island, and wow, that indoor basketball court reminded me of my days of shooting hoops on the mean streets of Amelia Island — I schooled people all day long — and this coffee is also delicious, it didn’t even rain today, Lucky Charms are my favorite cereal, see ya at sectionals.”
The rest of the team celebrated courtside. “Maricketts” was 6-3, 6-0 winners at line 2, and the team of “Culumtey” (John Cotey and Janene Cucumber) fell at line 1 in a third-set tiebreaker.
“I’m super excited about sectionals,” said Patterson. “If I don’t plan a trip to New Zealand, Croatia, or Sacramento’s wine country, I might show up for it. That’s how excited I am!”
“I heard such great things about the last trip to sectionals, happy to be part of it,” Ricketts said. “Looking forward to spending my nights on the beach, burning a fire, drinking beer, playing some tennis. But mostly burning a fire.”
The Green Machine has one match remaining, but now boasts an 7-1 record, and can’t finish any worse than 7-2. The best second-place Brandon can finish is 6-3.