Money, it must be the shoes!

marsA team shows up for a tennis match at Cheval. One of the players gets out of the car and realizes he has forgotten his shoes.

Hilarity ensues.

So was the case Saturday for the Hunter’s Green Smash, the 7.5 juggernaut combo team, which managed to pull out a 2-1 victory in a match that could have turned out disastrous.

For Chris Baker, it was still a disaster. After realizing he forgot his shoes, he had to rush out of the Cheval parking lot to Wal-Mart, which is known for its cheap prices and high-quality name brand tennis shoes. Okay, so that last part was made up.

Enter the $16.98 Air Bakers:

IMG_2186Where does one start with these dandy shoes?

The shoeslaces? I mean, good Lord, LOOK AT THOSE FREAKING SHOELACES!!!! There’s enough string there to tie a Christmas tree to the roof of a family minivan at Christmas time.

The whiteness? I mean, anyone got some sunglasses I can borrow to finish this post? Even Baker’s brand new white socks look gray.

The fit? The fact that he had to wear a size 8 when his foot is actually a size 6 had to be incredibly uncomfortable. Who knew they even carried these shoes in children’s sizes?

The fact that we had to draw straws to see who had to play with Baker? “I’m not playing with anyone wearing Starter shoes,” said Cotey. “I have a reputation, for God’s sake.”

The stylish logo? Here’s some actual reviews from Wal-Mart’s website:

“I only put on this shoe two days and left my feet painful with boils. Not comfortable.” — by Momita1234

“Bought them when they were on sale for under $10 a pair. But not regret that they were returned.” — by zwasdlf

“This shoe is comfortable. A bit firm light weight but there is no memory foam in the shoe. Usually the pad inside the shoe would be made with a thin layer of memory foam which takes shape of your foot and adds some more comfort. There is no memory. Don’t be fooled!!!” — Larry54

“I wore these and lost playing a tennis match. Usually, I hurt either my shoulder, wrist, arm, forearm, neck, eye ball, ankle or quad playing tennis. But this is the first time I mangled all nine of my toes.” – baker2016.

Because Jose and Glenn dominated at line 2 with a 6-2, 6-2 win, and Cotey and Mike Bitting rolled 6-0, 6-4 at line 3, the Smash was able to overcome Baker’s 6-3, 6-0 loss at line 1. It was so easy a win, that Cotey, Baker, Palombo and Bitting played three more sets at Hunter’s Green’s hard courts afterwards. It was with sadness that Baker had to bid adieu to his new shoes afterwards, depositing them in the garbage can because they were, literally, falling apart.


“Best 17 dollars I ever spent,” Baker said.

Bravo to Baker, for quickly correcting what could have been a horrific mistake of forgetting his shoes. He became the first player to finish an entire tennis match wearing Starter shoes since 1972, when Roscoe Tanner suffered a career-ending toe injury finishing a match at Wimbledon wearing them.

As for the Smash, the team is now 5-0. Next week’s opponent, Westchase, is 3-2, or 2.5 games behind us with three matches to play.

A win over Westchase clinches the league championship (with two matches remaining!) and a trip to the new 102-court home of American tennis at the USTA’s $70-million complex in Lake Nona.

The Hunter’s Green 6.5 men’s and women’s combo teams have already punched their tickets to Lake Nona.

On Sunday, the 7.0 mixed team will host BSAC. A Hunter’s Green win puts it in the driver’s seat for sectionals in October.

Good times.





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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2 Responses to Money, it must be the shoes!

  1. Andy Ritter says:



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