This event is on its 5th year. (It's 10-15 minutes away from home as well. The tickets are cheap ranging from $5-$20.) I was able to see up-and-coming players, like 17-year-old Jack Draper and 18-year-old Brandon Nakashima, and struggling players, like Stevie Johnson, seeking points to move their ranking up.
A friend told me about the 2019 Fairfield Challenger. He told me the attendance has improved every year. I watched alone almost every day except day 1. I would run into meeting at least one person per day, like a ballboy, a linesman, an old tennis friend, or a stranger.
Day 2 of tournament:
I saw Stevie Johnson a few hours before his night match. He was watching a match behind the fence from a distance. He stood behind me and a few people. Everyone else turned their shoulders and glanced at him between points.
"Is this your first time to visit Fairfield?" I asked Johnson.
"Yes," he answered.
"How do you like Fairfield?"
During Johnson's night session match, I sat behind his coach. The two ballboys sat next to me halfway to the first set of the match. They are brothers as well.
They wanted to know why I'm watching. The two brothers thought I was a fan.
(We know our tennis etiquette. You have to be quiet during a point. You can't make any distraction or move around when a point is being played. You can only talk in a soft voice during in-between points.)
"I'm a spectator. I love the game. I'm a fan of the game. I like to observe and watch the player go through an up and down journey in his match," I told them. "I get to see the player processing at every in-between point. It's a mental game. He's alone on the court."
The two brothers asked me, "Why?"
(This reminded me of when my young students would always ask me many questions during my coaching days at Kim Grant Tennis Academy in 2017. Kids loved to ask me, "Why?" It's understanding. Because it's the art of curiosity. Children are the future. And they are willing to learn.)
"Because I get to witness the player up close. And it's not only the player," I told them. "I observe the coach giving sign languages to communicate, coach, and support his player. It's illegal to coach the player during a match. But the coach and player somehow find a way to make it happen."
One of the two brothers is 13 years old. And he's been playing tennis since he was 6. He's coached by his dad.
"Does your dad have any hand signals to you during your match?" I asked him.
"I tell him to shut up," he told me.
One of the ballboys liked Johnson's opponent. Because he seemed nice. And he hated it when Johnson slammed and broke his racquet at the beginning of the match.
"Anger took over his mind. He's human," I told him. "We have feelings too. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors seems perfect. But one day he'll make a mistake. He's human."
One of the kids isn't a Curry fan. He is a Sacramento Kings fan.
The two brothers like basketball too.
"When you hit the backboard by accident and make the basketball shot, you don't say sorry," I told them. "When you hit the tennis net by accident and win the point, you must say sorry. Different sports."
They were surprised.
One kid is a Federer fan, and the other one is a Djokovic fan.
After Johnson won his match, I congratulated his coach with a smile.
"Good job Coach," I told him.
"Thanks for staying," He told me.
I watched the night match between the Jacks: 17-year-old Draper vs Sock. Match was full house. Everyone wanted to see Sock play.
I found a court-side seat. An old, married couple sat near me. They were reserving seats. I could see they wanted me out of my seat so they can sit together. I insisted they can. Then I moved one seat down.
The husband sat to my left side (while his wife sat to his left). He is 68 years old. He celebrated his birthday to watch this match. He has played baseball most of his life. And he started playing tennis since 2014.
I watched the night match between Draper and Donald Young. I found the best seat in the house. It was a corner seat. Because I didn't need to turn my head side-to-side in following the tennis ball. And I sat near the linesman.
We were early. And I started to talk to him. He started working as a linesman since 2012. He found the job online when they were in need of lines people.
"Do players mostly complain about the line call when they are down during the match?" I asked the linesman.
"Yes," he answered.
"Who is the toughest player you have faced when you called it out?"
The night match was narrowing in. He wasn't able to talk to me once the match starts. Because he'll be evaluated and graded by the chair umpire.
I met an old man who sponsored and hosted a tennis pro Victor Estrella. He told me Estrella became the oldest first-time men's ATP champion at 34 years and six months.
I ran into my old tennis friend. He has grown. He remembered me. I talked to his dad.
I met a guy right next to my seat. He's lucky to hit and practice with a better tennis player through a friend.
"You're right," I told him. "If I try to hit with a better player, they would either charge or avoid me. It happens."
I met a 44-year-old man from Sacramento. He started playing tennis since 2014.
I ran into my old tennis friend. She's a beautiful lady now. We reconnected. It was the most we talked ever. Because we played tennis more than we talked.
I would like to get to know her more. I'm expressing my feelings. But it's up to her. I can't force her. Respect the lady.
Australian Chris O'Connell (not the actor Chris O'Donnell) beat the top seeded American Stevie Johnson in the finals. Johnson wasn't able to read his serve. It was similar to Jack Draper losing to O'Connell earlier in the tournament.
I forgot to ask for a picture with Johnson's coach. It changed everything when Johnson lost. I was looking forward to take a picture with Johnson and his coach. I wanted Johnson to win the championship match. But O'Connell was the better player. He earned and deserved it.
I still asked for a picture to Johnson. The picture shown below says it all.
The mens' doubles championship match was followed by the Johnson and O'Connell match.
Peter Polanksy and Darian King beat Sem Verbeek and Andre Goransson to win the doubles championship match.
I wasn't able to take a photo of both Polansky and King. Because King was busy signing autographs.
"You the real MVP," I told Polansky. "You hit 3 clutch points."
Picture shown below of me and Polansky.
I enjoyed watching the 2019 Fairfield Challenger. I'm looking forward to next year's event.
Positive and negative thoughts in my head. They come and go.
It's a challenge every single day to prioritize and invest in my mental health. It's being able to practice and train my mind.
I can't forget about my negative thoughts in my head. And I can't erase them too. It's impossible. Because they will haunt me one day. And I'll blow up.
It has happened to me before.
For instance, I held long-time grudges to my family, friends, and relatives before. I have apologized to them. And we were able to reconcile with each other. I'm at peace now.
I have to label my emotions. And ask myself on how I can try to resolve them.
It's being able to turn the negative thought into a positive one. It seems easy to write and say. But it's not.
For instance, I seemed prepared and ready for my exam. Then the results were given to me. I didn't pass.
My younger-self would tell myself: "I'm dumb. I'm stupid. I'm retarded. I hate this exam. It's over for me." (Because I would be worried and concerned about what others would tell me. My younger-self believed I must show how much I hate myself for others to see it. So they wouldn't judge or shame me.)
I told myself: "It's frustrating and disappointing. All I can do is study and pass. I have to prioritize more. I can only go with what I can control. I'm human." (Because this is true. Beating and shaming myself won't go anywhere. Or else I would get depressed. And it happened to me. Last time was in 2016. It's being able to train and practice the mind to prioritize and study more in this exam.)
My inner-confidence is being able to be honest and vulnerable to you. My outer confidence is posting and uploading my basketball videos to you in this blog or social media. Or my outer confidence is whenever my ego is talking to you as well.
I care for my car's engine and performance more than it's appearance. Because I'm prioritizing on its inner-confidence. (My younger-self would prefer more of my car's appearance.) I'm more focused on my car being able to travel from point A to point B than it captivating in front of your eyes.
My younger-self would dress to impress you, and especially, girls. I was seeking attention and validation. Girls never went to me anyway. I had to come and talk to them. I never (and rarely) did. Because my severe anxiety would kick in. I assumed my outer-confidence in dressing well would lure and attract girls to me.
My younger-self would always say yes to others. Because I had a difficult time in saying no. My easiest way was to avoid others. And don't give an answer at all.
I was reading one of James Altucher's books. (I forgot what book it was.) And he talked about how to say no to others. He said to just tell others, "Sorry, I won't be able to make it."
This makes sense.
If my younger-self said no to you, I had to find something to tell you. Just in case, you would ask me, "Why come you can't make it?" If you didn't ask me the question, I would give you a white lie. Because I wanted to let you know how much I care about you.
It was my severe anxiety too.
Nobody asks me a question followed by me telling: "Sorry, I won't be able to make it." I realized it never (or rarely) happens.
Confidence is making it happen. Or I can avoid confidence by doing nothing and staying home all day and all night. My action decides what I choose: Inner-confidence, or outer-confidence.
I'll stop writing here. I have nothing to say.
I believe my inner-confidence is talking to you.
Tom DeLonge used to be in the punk rock/pop band, Blink 182. (My sister introduced me to music when I was growing up. And Blink 182 was one of them.) In 2006, Tom started his own band, Angels and Airwaves.
He named the band in honor of his daughter's name, Ava.
I saw DeLonge for the first time live at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California on December 7, 2007. The event was Live 105's Not So Silent Night presenting various rock bands: Angels and Airwaves, Jimmy Eat World, Modest Mouse, Paramore, and Spoon.
Yesterday, my old friend David from elementary and high school contacted me through FaceBook Messenger. (I yelled and sweared at him in 2006. Anger took over my mind. Then I held a long-time grudge on him. My younger-self started grudges and created enemies at the time. I came at peace with David some time between 2016 and 2017.) I'll be writing a blog entry soon about my friend David.
"Angels and Airwaves are in SF tonight," he messaged me. "First live show in years I heard."
I received a letter to myself through the mail. I couldn't believe it.
I have written letters to my sister, uncle, coach, future girlfriend, and my high school self. I'm looking at the letters I have written in this blog. And I haven't written a letter to my sister yet. (I thought I did. A letter to my sister will be one of my future blog entries.)
I looked at the recipient's address on the envelope. And I saw my penmanship. I was in disbelief.
I didn't remember writing a letter to myself. And the return address was never written on the envelope. I thought I was being pranked. I was processing for about a minute. (Picture of envelope shown below.)
My friends and I decided to hit the computer lab during our free period. (It was 2nd period.) They were talking while I was playing around with Microsoft Paint on the PC. We were in our own bubble. Then the bell rang. And they looked at my computer screen for the first time.
I never liked school. I graduated high school in 2005. And I graduated from college in 2017. A huge gap of 12 years. Because I switched majors from Civil Engineering to Environmental Studies. And I never went to see a counselor. I assumed I took the correct classes. I was always a C-average student. Homework was my priority. It saved me from passing. I hated reading and writing at the time.
I can say this or that. But I wouldn't be where or who I'm at right now. I like reading, writing, and blogging.
This is my communication to you. And this blog is too.
"Pleasure is short-term, addictive and selfish. It's taken, not given. It works on dopamine," Seth Godin writes in his blog entry, The pleasure/happiness gap. "Happiness is long-term, additive and generous. It's giving, not taking. It works on serotonin."
My younger-self would be confused with pleasure and happiness. I thought they were related.
Then I was always seeking and wishing for pleasure than happiness. I believed it would fulfill me. And I was aiming to please myself, and especially, others.
I wanted to be known. My desire was to be better than you. My goal was to be the happiest guy in the world. Because I thought it would cure me from everything.
My younger-self wasn't able to resolve any of my problems or mistakes.
I kept dreaming and relying for a pretty wife and cute children, a luxury car, a mansion, and a high-paying job. Because I needed an escape from life. I was waiting for a final destination.
This was pleasure. My younger-self assumed it was happiness.
My happiness is:
I'm single. And I'm okay with it.
I'm a man seeking a woman.
I've been on dates. And I'm for it. (Because I'm still single.)
Each woman I've met or approached is different in their own way.
My sister passed away on May 17, 2003. I chose to be alone. Because I was ashamed and embarrassed by others from my uncle losing my sister's life. I did not want to become attached to others. Because I would feel the pain and agony again once they die. I was better off to be alone.
My younger-self wanted others to judge me. I thought I deserved it. I assumed choosing to be alone was weird.
For instance, I was frightened to go to high school prom alone since I couldn't ask any girl out. Because of my severe anxiety.
And I felt lonely. Because I lost a best friend too. I was isolated from the world. I was a useless person from losing a sister. I had no sense of purpose in life anymore. I had thoughts of committing suicide. But I chose not to do it. Because I didn't want to hurt others more.
I hoped and wished I'll die one day. I prayed to God to take my life. I couldn't take it anymore. I wasn't able to accept my sister's death.
I posted an old blog entry, The Game is in my Blood, on February 12, 2018.
It's about picking up women too.
But this is the updated version of it. Because I have grown and evolved from meeting women.
I have always been nice to girls throughout my life. But I never expressed my feelings to them right away.
They never came to me.
My 26-year-old self decided to learn how to pick up women in 2013.
Because I felt isolated from the world. And I thought being single was abnormal.
"You're not actually connected with yourself," Sasha talks in his 5-minute YouTube video shown below. "You're not in alignment with who you are. You're not clear about what you want. You're just confused and lost. And you’re horny."