Ritter me this: Who’s on fire?

For months, Andrew K. Ritter wandered the tennis landscape in search of answers. His forehand had abandoned him, his backhand had rejected him, and his drop shot laughed in his face.

One day, with Ritter looking at an 0-9 record with just one set won in 2016, teammate Erik Hajek put his arm around Ritter and said two simple words: “Andy, if you are going to hit it, then hit it hard, for fuck’s sake.”


“Take that, ball!!!!”

Ritter is doing just that. Paired with the legendary craftsman Peter Groer on Saturday, the Green Machine duo rallied from 5-2 down in the second set to post a dramatic 6-3, 7-6 win over the Tampa Fusion to improve the Green Machine’s record to 2-0 on the season.

John Slatniske and Ron Reiter picked up a 6-2, 6-1 win at line 1 to account for the other win. LIne 3 was a forfeit. But Ritter made sure it didn’t matter.

“On a roll since my new coach, Erik “Big Bear”Hajek, told me to hit the ball hard,” Ritter wrote in an email, oblivious to the fact that it has been the team slogan and written on all the team uniform shirts since 2014. “The difference in this match was playing with the thinking man’s tennis player. Peter quickly identified opponents tendencies and put a plan together to exploit them until they adjusted their game. Steady and smart player — pretty good combo for me (unsteady and wide-eyed). Thanks for the pairing.”


Groer explains his drop shot and the benefits of Ritter hitting the ball hard.

Groer said he was not surprised. He explained that it was just a matter of using good solid tennis paired with astrophysical metamorphosis theorems.

“We employed mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena, like my drop shot,” Groer said.

Groer said playing a team named the Fusion and identifying ways to harness them is easy money for him due to his years studying stuff no one else on his team can even pronouce.

“Well, Fusion power is the generation of energy by nuclear fuseon, and the Tampa Palms Fusion are high energy reactions in which two lighter atomic nuclei fuse to form a heavier nucleus. Cleary, their forehands are not strong enough to do this,” Groer said. “Stellar nucleosynthesis is the process in which stars transmute matter into energy emitted as radiation. But you really need a strong first serve, like John Cotey’s, for something like that.”

Ritter’s dreadful start to 2016 is now looking up, as he once again finds the antidote to his problems — the 6.5 combo season.

Ritter is now 2-0 in combo play. “The Green Machine is like a warm, soft blanket for me to curl up with in my times of need,” Ritter said, or didn’t say.

Speaking of undefeated Green Machiners, Reiter once again carried one of the 3.5s to victory: last week Cotey, this week Slatniske.

After showing off a striking two-handed backhand last week, Reiter flexed some deftness at the net this week.

“Let’s be honest, I shouldn’t be driving 45 minutes every week to play with these schmoes, they should be driving to me,” Reiter said. “But as long as Cap’n Cotey keeps picking up my Uber tab, I guess I’ll see where this takes me.”

The Green Machine will be back in action Saturday at Tampa Palms, hoping to take the Fusion down once again.





About johncotey

John was a sportswriter and columnist for the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay Times for 25 years, before being pushed from the Titantic, and hopes all of you non-subscribers are happy reading your free news on the internets while his journalism brethren suffer. Not that he's not bitter or anything. His real true joys, however, are his wife, kids and tennis, though not necessarily in that order. Unless his wife is reading this. Then DEFINITELY in that order.
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