Saturday July 23rd, Mercersburg Academy

We had to work today because we took last Monday off for the Washington Star tournament.

The day was cool and sunny and we worked on serves, overheads and lobs. Mr. B says when hitting the lob you have to hide the shot, you simply open up the face of the racquet with the same swing and follow through. The secret to a good lob is what you do with the left hand on the throat of the racquet. You have to make the adjustment with the left, that means that you have to make your mind up early and execute the shot.

We only worked a half day...which was great. After lunch Mike Kuntz and Mr. B broke out the video gear and all the counselors got to be video taped. For many of us it was the first time we've seen our groundstrokes. I was happy with what I saw...Mr. B had a few changes...he thinks I need to loop the firehand, I was dropping the head of the racquet and it was a 'back and through stroke, the loop should give me consistancy and power. My volleys look great, the serve looks good. Mr. B says my best shot is the backhand. I hit a one hander and can top or underspin at will...with the underspin I can lob or drop and its hard to read...Mr. B really liked that.

Mr. B was very impressed with Sanderson's serve, he says its amazing that he can generate that much heat...he says its his slow to fast motion. Mr. B. snapped photos of all the counselors before they hit. He's very good with the camera and snappes hundreds of photos that he gives out the campers...they're great keepsakes and my collection is growing.

Mr. B came to the net post today and chatted, he talked about the Jersey shore and the big family vacation. He says its an annual event and a great way to put a cap on the summer. He's says Mrs. B starts planning in June and all the kids show. Ive never been to the Alantic coast he says its packed because everyone leaves the NYC because of the heat. He said he was glad that he took Charlies advice and hired me, he said Charlie had called specifically to ask about me and make sure I was behaving. He said that I was one of his best 'recommends' and that I was a good guy..." a diamond in the rough', whatever that means!

Later in the day we were all on the courts playing, counselors, campers and there wasnt an open court. I was just finishing another match in which I beat X 5 and 5. Mr. B came up said that he got some rattlesnake eggs in the mail, they were in an envelope and he said he was afraid they might hatch. Being from the west and growing up on a farm he wanted me to open the envelope and make sure they were not hatching. I grabbed the envelope and opened the flap and heard a distinctive rattle, I threw the envelope in the air and let out a scream. Mr. B was laughing so hard that he wasnt breathing, his face was red and tears flowing. I looked in the envelope it was a rubber band wrapped around a paperclip and a button. I cant believe I fell for that one, but it was so funny.

After dinner I hit with Riley...I volleyed for an hour while he worked on his groundies. I kept every ball about two feet in front of him and got to check out his racquet prep, he is smooth. Afterwards Hamilton came out on the court and I was able to hit with him, he is steady and technically sound. He and Riley talked a lot about their tournaments in Scotland and how regimented and organized everything is...much different in the you show up and play.

We hit the showers and then it was time to go to the camper dance. I sat next to Bevin and we chatted the night away, I would love to see William and Mary College, it sounds like such a beautiful place. I had a long talk with Becky Craft, she goes to Wellsley, I would love to see Boston and her school sounds like an amazing place. I have a friend from High School that's going there but they dont know each other. If I had a million dollars I trust Beck Craft with it, she is so honest, sweet and cute, its an honor being her friend.

Lenny and I walked back to the Dorms and got all the kids on our wing in their rooms and ready for bed. He's just a kid himself...we are heading over to the girls dorm to watch SLN and then he's going to play the piano, what a talent.

Friday July 22nd, 1977 Mercersburg Academy

Its been a long two-week haul with the weather and heat but the campers have made it through the week with little difficulty. We have some hitters this session, a bunch of kids that are nationally ranked. It's fun to hit with these future college stars and have the chance to mold them. I lost last night to one of the kids from Hawaii, we played a set and I played him even but he pulled away at 5-5. He said that he needed to play guys like me because I drop shot and lob and give him a lot of different looks. I guess thats a complement. The kid is ranked 11th nationally in 16's.

When we woke up this morning the first thing Sandy said it's cool outside. We had the window open and we were both cold, the radio said it was 68-degrees, the coolest morning since early June and it feels great and on top of that its clear.

Mr. Brennan lectured us today on winning and finding the drive to win. He says to be a winner you must be hungry to win, you have to have it in the belly. He talked a lot again about Althea Gibson and how every time she walked on the court she had something to prove, he said her hunger centered on the fact that she just wanted to be somebody.

He talked a lot about BJK and her teen years, he said she had a chip on her shoulder, and then he corrected himself and said she had chips on her shoulder. He talked about the time she played her first tournament at the LA racquet club and they wouldnt let her in the winner photo because she wasn't wearing a skirt. He said from that point on BJK was out to 'show the Country Club crowd'. FXB said BJK didn't know much about the 'club rules', at the park where she played you just showed up and played and there was no dress code.

He also talked about the USTLA and how BJK had to share her number ranking with Nancy Richey and how that was a blatantly political move and how that burned BJK up. He told us about the first time she won Wimbledon singles and how once she got over the elation of winning how upset she was when she realized how much more Laver got for his win...he told us that BJK is wonderfully complex, that these things were always on her mind, and inspired her to win. He said not since Althea Gibson had there been a woman 'peoples' champ.

Mr. B says that we should never discount the kids coming out of the public parks, he says they're hungry to win and when it's 4-4 in third, he'll bet on the park player because they'll work for the win, they're not expecting a handout, they're used to working for the win. I guess Im partial to Mr. B's comments, I'm a park kid...I wish I had the talent to go with the desire.

I played Tom Sheridan tonight and stayed with him through two sets but lost 4 and 5...two service breaks! Im getting better but must find another concentration gear when it gets tight. Mark and I are doing so well with ball duty that Mr. B says he's gonna owe me another 'Foot of the Mountain' dinner.


Thursday, July 21st, 1977, Mercersburg, PA

The day went fast…It was overhead and serve day. Mr. Brennan started up the morning lecture with a short declaration: “Without an overhead and serve you are without a game.” Mr. B told the campers that to become a great player you have to practice the shots that win points and that matches are not won with forehand and backhand winners alone

He called the overhead a psych stroke, when its on you’re golden when its off it’s lead. He told us how BJK hit 300 overheads a day leading up to the Bobby Riggs match. He said she also fine tuned the slice serve because she was working at pulling him off the court and running him…when good players run they lob to get back in the point and that’s how she set the trap; a tired Bobby Riggs lost in three sets. This lecture was an amazing insight into the match. Mr. B’s just as proud of that win as BJK, he told her play to play her game….

Using Mr. B’s service method I got these little 10 year old girls serving beautifully and consistently…instead of having them roll the ball off the finger tips I told them to lift the ball, holding it like a snow cone and eliminating the spin. Once they see the ball in the same place every time the serve is simple and natural, Mr. B’s method worked like a charm.
We have a new CIT counselor Mr. B brought this kid in to replace Liz. I guess he was a good high school player from the Northern N.J. area, he came to Mr. B on the recommendation of one of his friends. Mr. B has a vast tennis network and he knows everyone in NJ NY area. So this guy will get here over the weekend and then we should be back up to staff.

After 4 I hit with Xavier, John Day and Feinburg and we had a career doubles match. We hit volleys down the middle, dinked and lobbed and it frustrated Feinberg because he's a pace player and dominates. Day was hitting good and didn’t miss much but we hung with these guys and won the first set 7-5, we had them at 2-2 in the second but it got dark and the winds came up and with the crack of lightning a huge storm blew in. Sanderson and I ran frantically getting all the balls up before the cloud burst hit. It was a crazy storm for an hour or so, a regular Wizard of Oz class storm. I expected to see the bad witch. By the time we got back to the dorms we were soaked to the bone but the balls were dry and fine.

I got a letter from counselor Chris Russell-Vick, how adorable is that? I’ve just had a couple of letters this month. Mail is everything here, so I sat down and wrote Chris a letter thanking her and telling her what I’ve been up to…even though I see her and talk to her every day!
I work and live in constant fear. The fear is that I will let Mr. B down, I don’t want to do that because I came here on the strong recommendation of Charlie Fenske, I don’t want to let Charlie down. As I mentioned before, everyone comes here on the recommendation of someone in Mr. B’s network. I would only recommend someone that wouldn’t let me down. So the pressure is always on to do a good job and not be a pain in the ass. This is a good gig. I get three meals a day and room and board, all the tennis I can play on clay courts no less with one of the world’s greatest coaches. I should be paying Mr. B! Had I stayed in Idaho I would be in the trenches with my Dad laying pipe. Pipefitting is dirty hard work, I tried it last year and it was incredibly tough, filthy work. I don’t know how my Dad does it day in and day out without complaint.

Mr. B stopped by the net post this afternoon to chat as we watched the campers play their afternoon matches. I told him about our cable access TV show back in Poky, about my filmmaking classes and he thinks I should go to Hollywood, get an agent, make movies and marry a movie star. I’m thinking television where its at... But that’s FXB, nothing is impossible to him or out of reach, anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it.


Wednesday, July 20th 1977 Mercersburg Academy

This was a difficult day. Last night few slept a spectacular thunderstorm swept through the valley, I have never seen anything like it, lightning flashed and thunder cracked almost continuously until dawn. The lightning flashed so intense and so close that it was an erie blue, and then there was the strange smell of lightning, that other world fresh smell was in the air. The rain came down in sheets …when I dozed off morning came too quick. It was peaceful and strangely calm, almost as if nature was apologizing for raising hell all night. The humidity is so heavy and horrible that it was actually chilling.

I headed to the Ford Hall this morning and looking at the wide-eye campers I could tell they were terrified last night. Inside the dining hall the storm dominated the morning conversation. I can tell this is going to be one of those days. I sat with Bevin this morning and she said the little girls were up all night. She had three little ones in her room all night. She has a great mother instinct and I bet the girls were thankful for her being there.

After the storm only courts 12 and 13 were unplayable, Mr. B came and got me right after breakfast and Tom Sheridan and I, along with Vrana and the Dickinson’s were up at the hard courts drying them off. We had them ready to go by 9:30...because of the extreme heat. It was already in the mid 80s by 9:00 am and its going to be a scorcher today.

We were down 20 balls yesterday, I told Sheridan that Mr. B will be pissed so he and I went through all the dorms at the first break and recovered 14 balls. It always happens early in the session, counselors hoarding the new balls for their matches. So we’re down just 7 and that’s an acceptable loss. Sanderson and I have a reputation as the ball police and we nag everyone, this ball thing is our obsession. We check balls out from our room and if they don’t bring them back Tom S. hears about it and they get extra duties. The system is working and Mr. B is happy.

After work today Bevin and I played Eric and Pat. Riley dominated play even though I hit away from him. He has a deep service return and he hops to the net for the volley which he seldom misses. Its impossible to break his serve, they beat us 8-2. Bevin played well, she hit great lobs and served well but they stayed in the point. I was frustrated but weathered the storm. Crestfallen Bevin and I walked back to Tippets Hall, she was bummed that we lost and said we needed to put the lobs over Pat…I agree.

Mr. B talked about the backhand today and the one thing I really liked is the fact that the key to a good backhand is the other hand…you need the other hand to pull the racquet back and to change the grip. Mr. B says you have to read early, get the racquet back early so you hit through the ball. We talked about under spin and topspin and then he lapsed into a great story about BJK and how in the early days she dominated because she could hit pace, top spin and under spin equally in the course of a rally.

FXB says the women on the tour were too used to seeing flat, hard strokes. All of the sudden BJK was on the scene and she forced the game to deal with her and deal with different speeds and spins. BJK plays very much like her brother pitches in the majors, both masters at mixing it up, he said. FXB said more than once he chocked down chuckles from the sidelines as he watched confused opponent after opponent walk off the court in defeat. He's told me a few times that BJK at Wimbledon was a shark in bloody water. He loved her approach shot saying she fielded it like a shortstop charging and then would spoon the ball down the line breaking away from the opponet he said only Margaret Court had a chance handling that shot because she had the timing and reach on grass. FXB said BJK didn’t play their game, she played her own game, that she had her own drummer and 20 years later she‘s still winning, still a genius and still a shark.


Tuesday, July 19th, 1977, Mercersburg Academy

It's hot again, I survived the day, Im in my room and according to WRCV its 103-degrees. It's hotter than a pizza oven in this room...Its so hot that I got a towel wet and wrapped it around my head just to cool off. When I was upstairs a few minutes ago Rick Fanning and Tom Vrana were in the showerroom sitting on chairs under the streams of cold water. They have been in there over an hour. Everyone has their ways of cooling off, I feel sorry for the kids they're really taking it hard. Mr. B had the pool opened for them and thats helping a lot...they place was packed.

I hit with camper Kathy Maso. Shes 16 and will play in the East Orange Pro tournament later this summer. She is solid off both sides, hits deep and doesnt miss...ever. We had one rally that lasted 55 hits cross court. She also has a solid serve and excellent returns.

Mr. B and I were watching Victor Amaya play at the Star. He is 6 feet 7 and has a cannon for a serve...its coming in at least 130 mph...but the guy he was playing this guy from the UK named Bertram, drop shotted him like crazy. Mr B says that if someone drops you, you should run with the racquet in front of you fully extended to give yourself the advantage of reach...and then you change the direction of the ball with a flick of the wrist should your opponet break one way or another. I tried it today and Mr. B is dont have time to chase down a ball, pull the racquet back and then hit the shot. Its little tips like this that makes a difference in match play.

We got the video taping done, it was such a long tedious process but Mr. B's stories were fantastic. He told me a story about Betty Stove the great Belgian player...shes at least 6'1 and a very big girl. Mr B. told me that he and Billie were at Wimbledon practicing and someone threw a ball and hit her in the head. She came over to FXB and asked if he threw the ball, Mr. B. didnt and said so but she didnt believe him so she came over and picked him up and carried him across the court. He said Betty is sweet and nice but is strong as an ox could have suffocated him, it was a funny story and Mr. B's embellishments made it even better. He told me all about Clark Graebner and how he met his tennis pro wife Carol...he said in the late 60's they were the tennis couple of Forrest Hills.

Mr. B also told me Lenny's story. Lenny Saks is a counselor from Cambodia. He told me that his family escaped from the Khymer Rouge. He said they got out with just the clothes on their back and said thats why Lenny is so driven...and he's right, the kid wants to be the best at everything and he is...His tennis is perfect and flawless, his piano playing is stunning, Mr B says the kid made it through High School in just two years and will make it through college is three years. I dont know how he finds these counselors, all intelligent, all achievers.

Mark and I are still doing well on ball duty. Last session we lost just 48 balls...thats an average of just 5 a day. Mr B says he's never lost so few balls...I told him the count should be a bit better because the kids take balls back to their rooms so they can hit early in the morning. Nonetheless he said he's taking me to the Foot of the Mountain resturant for dinner in just a few minutes, he invited Mark but he has a match tonight with John Day.

Its bedtime now, but I have to say the food tonight was amazing. I had Alantic Salmon and had a side order of corn fritters. Mr. B. took a bottle of Rothschild's Mouton Cadet and I had a glass. I dont like red wine but this was very good. We talked about the depression and WWII. Mr. B says that his family struggled through the depression but it wasnt too bad, he mentioned that his mother had won the N.J. state Lottery and that got them through the bad times. I dont know if he was serious or the if the lottery was an allegory for something else but his stories were interesting.

He told me about the time when he was little, seeing Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium. His story was so real that I swear I saw the Babe strike out twice before hitting a homerun late in the game...I think he said it was sometime in 34 or 35. He said that the Babe had a soft spot for kids...and after one game he was called out of a bar by some kids that wanted an autograph. He said that he signed one and then there were 20 or 30 out there. He signed them all and then had the bartended bring out three cases of coca-cola for all the kids. Mr. B's stories are amazing. I told him that he should write a book, he just let out a belly laugh and said no one would believe it.


Monday, July18th, 1977 Washington, D.C.

We made it back to Bowie late last night, we hung out at the tournament until the last afternoon matches then we had dinner in Georgetown. We called Mark’s uncle to pick us up. We were exhausted and went straight to bed…but talked an hour in the dark about the players we had watched.

I think of all the players I was most impressed with Dibbs and Solomon…they seem to have less to work with. Neither looks athletic but I understand Dibbs was a boxer at one time. Both are short but very fast, both are so accurate with their groundstrokes. Dibbs was eating Raul Ramirez up, even though Ramirez has amazing shots, he is a very smooth player, but the deep shots on the baseline forced him into errors.

We got up early and read the Washington Post, the sports page had all the results and excellent feature stories on the players, perfect reading with the cold cereal. Sandy and I had at least 3 bowls of cheerios! Its going to be humid and hot today. We’re supposed to meet Mr. B and the camp buses at 10:30.

It’s 10:30 pm now and Im back in Mercersburg. Former Camper Marie Reagan picked us up and drove us to Rock Creek in her VW convertible. We got there just as the bus pulled in, we had the tickets and passed them out. Mr. B asked us how we liked the box seats and we told them all about the cool matches we watched. He invited me to sit in the box in the afternoon and we sat through a match but when the temps reached above the 90 mark Mr. B. packed up and headed back to Mercersburg. I got to stay in the box the rest of the afternoon and watched Raul Ramirez carve up Jeff Austin from UCLA. Then we watched Bernie Mitton play Ricardo Cano of Argentina. Cano moonballed him every single shot and easily beat him.

I’m very surprised by all the drop shots and lobs, on this green clay the easiest pattern to hit into is the deep short pattern and everyone was using it, the hard hitters are at a huge disadvantage here. We went over to a side court and watched that kid from Long Island play. McEnroe although just 18 is so good and get this its as if he’s toying with people. He passes with ease, his lobs are deadly, I have never seen volleys like this with a serve that breaks both ways. I was so impressed.

I have a horrible sore throat and am very tired, I think all the excitement and travel has worn me out and worse yet I have to work tomorrow! We have a whole new crop of campers that we have yet to meet.

Whew, Mr. B just dropped by asked me to help out with the video taping tomorrow. So I have something to look forward to, Sheridan must have told him I was sick, Tom is always looking out for me, I swear. Kunz will tape until 10:30 and then I get to run the camera until noon. This is by far the best job because I get to shoot video while Mr. B tells stories and I know he will have a lot to say after the Washington Star. Mr. B like me because Im the best listener in the camp and by far he's the best story teller!

I saw Mr. B talking to Gene Mayer at one point during the tournament. Roger Dickinson was there and got to talk him as well. Roger is from Franklin Lakes and Gene and the Mayers are local heros. Roger was telling me that he knows their Dad. Mr. B told me a bunch of interesting stories about their Dad, Mr. Meyer, I guess he was the classic tournament father in that he worked them relentlessly, hard to believe because those boys are so nice, but we can’t choose our parents.


Sunday July 17th, 1977 Washington, D.C.

We sat at the breakfast table in Bowie reading the sports page of the Washington Post. In between bites of Corn Flakes we read all about the Washington Star, who had qualified, who was injured (Connors). There was a story about the local kid doing well…Harold Solomon is from nearby Silver Spring and is ranked in the top 10 of the world. Top ranked Brian Gottfried is here, along with Raul Ramirez…Ive seen all of these guys on TV, I know their games and today I get to see them.

We went to the ticket office and picked up the camp tickets along with our tickets and they gave us the box seats, the lady asked when Mr. B was going to be down because she wants to say hi to him. Everyone knows Mr. B and his juice got us the courtside tickets, they’re treating us like VIP’s and we even got a pass to a hospitality tent!

We got down there at 1:30 and there were a lot of matches going on. I saw Chris Lewis, Jeff Austin, Larry Gottfried, Bruce Manson, Elliot Teltcher, Manuel Laura. While we were watching Larry Gottfried play his brother Brian showed up and sat right next to us. Mark Sanderson got his autograph and I chatted with him like a neighbor over a fence. He asked about us and I told him we were counselors from the Brennan Camp. He told us that he had met Mr. B at the Open a time or two.

At Rock Creek theres a Stadium Court that seats 7-thousand and then 5 outside courts that seat anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand. Then there are 6 practice courts to the side of court 4, all are har-tru synthetic clay and absolutely perfect. We went over there and watched Anand Armataj practicing with Tom Gulikson

. I walked around the tournament almost in a daze.

Harold Solomon was playing on the grandstand court and we sat in the box. He is so short but does amazing things on the court. He can keep the ball on the baseline from anywhere on the court. He wins points off his depth and consistency, he is a backboard and a joy to watch. His serve is adequate but he seldom hit’s a second…almost all first serves but he can move the serve around the box, he can hit the T or the corner at will with good depth.
He played Chris Lewis first round and slaughtered him, he was so hot I think he beat him 2 and 1.

Elliot Teltcher was fun to watch, he has a big backhand and I call him a picker. He picks opponents apart, he doesn’t blow them away with anything he wears them down. I watched him through 2 sets and he I don’t think he made more than a handful of errors. Teltcher is a legend of the junior ranks, Ive heard stories about him for years, his gamesmanship and shot making…he very seldom loses a match, he easily beat Bruce Manson.

Vilas didn’t show at the tournament, he won a tournament in Europe over the weekend and wont be here until Tuesday night…so I wont get to see him in person. He’s been very hot lately and I would love to see him in person. I wish I could have caught Connors as well. Borg is staying in Europe, playing in some tournament in Germany, what a drag.

I walked around the Star with my Adidia’s warmup jacket and a towel around my neck. These little kids asked if I was anyone and I told them I was Eddie Dibbs, and before I knew it I was signing autographs…poor kids, I signed my own name.

Saturday, July 16th, 1977 Mercersburg to DC

I snuck out last night. It all started when there was a rap on the window at 2-am, I was dead asleep and would have ignored it except for the gigles. It was Caroline the CIT, her friends Kristen and Marie along with Tom Vrana and Rick Fanning. We ran through the fields and played a game hide and seek with the security guard. I’m so amazed he didn’t catch us. We all wrapped sheets around us and we ran around like ghosts…from a distance I think the sight would have scared the hell out of anyone. By 3-am we were dog tired and snuck back into bed. I think the girls were expecting a make out session but since two of them were high schoolers; that was out of the question.

I was so tired that I slept through breakfast, Sanderson came in and woke me about 9:30 and we started packing for Washington. We started asking campers for rides, we thought Marie was going to give us ride but they didn’t have any room so asked Jonathan Bartlett, a very good junior player and his very nice family.

We said goodbye to all the campers, I must have had my photo taken a few hundred times. The kids are so great…we attended the chicken barbeque with all the parents and it was fun telling them how great the kids did over the two weeks. There were a few parents from New York City that told us all about the blackout and the scary Son of Sam night. I think they were glad the kids were in PA.

We had a scary incident at the barbeque. I was standing with Mr. B and he was eating his chicken when a bee landed in his food, I stopped him just in time from taking a bite of bee, and he tripped and fell over trying to get away. It turns out that Mr. B is very allergic to bees and had he got stung, it could have been very bad. He has the worst bruise on his elbow and leg but is fine. Ill have to remember to keep him away from bees.

Mr. B is driving all the way back to Upper Saddle River to pick up Terence for camp. He’s looking forward to the drive and seeing Mrs. B again. Hard to believe we have been here 5 weeks already! The corn just beyond the tennis courts is getting high, as Mr. B says when its as high as an elephant’s eye then it time to go home.

At 1pm we loaded up in the Bartlett car and drove to DC and it was a spectacular drive, the trees, the farm land it was amazing…but its very hot. It took us just under an hour and a half to make it to Bowie, Maryland.

The Bartletts dropped us at Mark’s Uncle’s house in a very stylish Washington suburb. The homes were all two story brick and brownstones. We hung out for a while and then Mark’s uncle took us to a club called the Foothills and played tennis from 7 to about 11 under the lights on hardcourts. We met two really cute girls and played mixed, it was fun socializing with them. It‘s a swanky nice club, with 8 indoor courts and its also part of a country club. We called Marie Reagan and she is going to meet us tomorrow at Rock Creek Park, that’s where the Washington Star is played. McEnroe and Solomon have first round matches at 1pm.
We were tired and went to bed, tomorrow should be fun!


Friday July 15th. 1977

Liz went home today, she tearfully said goodbye to everyone, she said she had waited all year to get back to camp but once she got here was sick, she said it just wasn’t fair. Poor thing, I think Prevost said it was mono or something like that. She’ll do much better at home where her mom can take care of her. Its so hard here because she needs someone there all the time and we are so busy teaching and taking care of the kids.

The kids from Hawaii are tearing through the tournament, Jimmy,Keri and Hannah Somerville and Brian Beall are here just to train for the National Clay Courts coming up next week. I don’t think any of the wonder kids lost a match. Mr. B is really high on the kids. Jimmy and Brian made it all the way to semis, until they met Rick Fanning, the camper that is here for the summer, He won the tournament, he has really improved because he hits with Tom Vrana every night. This Hanah Somerville is a Tracy Austin clone, perfect ground strokes, she won the girls tournament and should win the National Clay Courts.

Jimmy Connors is hurt, his left thumb is sprained so he is out of the Washington Star, that means that Vilas is the number one seed and the favorite to win the tournament. Mark and I are leaving on Saturday for Washington and we hope to hang out at the tournament as much as we can. We are working on our plans right now, Mark has relatives in Bowie so hopefully we can stay there.

The Camp dance is tonight, It should be fun. I have to go shower now and get ready. Tom S. wants me there to help Kunz set it up and I also helped arrange for the ice cream and punch. Mr. B is coming by in a few minutes and we are going to the dining Hall to pick up the punch from Peggy. Mr. B is in good spirits because he is driving down to West Virginia to try out a new restaurant.

Its midnight now, the dance was fun, Bevin was distant and for the first time all summer we didn’t dance or even hang out. I wonder what’s up with her? She talked to Mark and he said that she had a phone call from home that really drug her down, So a little distance is expected, she‘s just a little sad, she’ll talk about it when she‘s ready.

I called home but my Mom and Jerry were not there so I talked to my sister Brenda. Sounds like she is having a good summer, she’s so nice to me, but she has her moments. We talked about her accident, she was in a little car wreck but is okay, she banged up her neck, poor thing. I’m a bit homesick tonight, I tried to call Jim Hall to see what he is up do but his Mom said that he was working.

Mark S and I lined up a ride to Washington. I've never been there and I’m excited to see the sights. I went to the bank and got some money, Mr. B got us free tickets and he had a job for me. He gave me a check to pay for the camper tickets so I'll pick them up Sunday so when they arrive they wont have to wait in line. Mr. B got us comp tickets and even a box on Sunday to sit in…courtside! This guy has connections. Ive never seen a pro tennis match, I cant wait!


Thursday, July 14th, 1977--Mercersburg Academy

The day went very well, the kids were working hard because they want to do well in the camper tournament coming up tomorrow. Mr. Brennan talked about competition to the campers how it brings out the best and the worst in people. He said when people can overcome diversity, emotion, the elements its frees them to just win points and amazing things happen. Winning, hes says is a magical thing and ordinary people can do extraordinary things if only they believe in themselves.

We had a lot of phone calls in the morning from parent in the city who wanted to talk to their kids. Most of the kids didn’t know about the blackout so they were not worried, but the parents all had stories to tell, one kid said his parents got stuck in the subway and had to walk from Queens all the way into Manhattan.

I was an Idaho day today, hot, low humidity, very blue skies. It makes me homesick, theres nothing quite like an early afternoon day in Pocatello when the weather’s nice.

In the afternoon the kids played each other, the competition is keen and the kids want to play well tomorrow, this session is now racing to an end. I talked to Bevin and Kenny this afternoon at the net posts, about everything from old movies to which kids will prevail tomorrow.

I played right after work, Im hitting so well. I hit with Feinberg for an hour and matched him stroke for stroke. He is such a great hitting partner because he hit’s a nice deep ball and is very consistent. Kenny is an interesting guy, he can converse about anything, extremely bright and knowledgeable with a funny, witty sense of humor.

Pat and Bevin said something about wanting to get away, so they asked Marc Solomon and I if we wanted to go out to dinner. None of us had duties so went to a fancy restaurant called “Foot of the Mountain.” They have these great appetizers called corn fritters and they were so good. The food was amazing and it was fun to be away from the kids for a night. I had Shrimp and a couple of cokes and ice cream, Bevin had the same and it came to $6.00. I was afraid I wasn’t going to have enough. We hitched hiked there which was kind of funny because the girls wore very nice dresses, we got a ride with a nice family in a station wagon. Marc ate an amazing amount of food for a skinny guy he sure packed it away. Bevin and Pat got lots of stares in the restaurant and its because both were so radiant and beautiful, even the little kids were staring. We had ice cream afterwards and then Tom Sheridan joined us then gave us a ride back to the Academy. Marc and I swept and watered the courts when we got back and as usual I got soaked.

I changed and went to the girls dorm and watched TV until 10, then it was to the second floor of Fowle to watch Roger, Riley and X put together the camper tournament. These guys have so much fun and they take seeding players so seriously. Roger had his liter of coke and his radio blaring, he was listening to a Philly game from who knows where.

The Blackout is all over the headlines and lead all the newscasts tonight. Im glad I don’t live in a big city, It all makes you appreciate how fragile civilization is, a power outage and we are right back in the Dark Ages.

I guess the most chilling part of the blackout is the fact that Son of Sam is still loose, I don’t know how you can go out into the streets of New York with a lunatic on the run. The killings have been going on all summer and there's no way I would set foot in New York.