Bag Check: What to bring to a Tennis match in your Tennis Bag

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Day Six of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 5, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

I’ve been reading  Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis by Brad Gilbert. This part stuck out to me.

The player who understands the significance of gaining a small advantage (and of doing so repeatedly) might still underestimate the role that tennis equipment can play in helping you win more matches. Yes, you can bring the bare minimum, but any player who is serious about winning will go beyond the bare minimum.

I decided to make a quick list for my old high school team. I did some extra research and found this explanation from Gonzo Tennis very satisfying. Answering the question. Why even care?

If you’re heading over to the public courts for a quick rally or match with a buddy then don’t worry about what you bring with you (apart from a racquet and shoes) as there is no consequence for quitting early due to equipment malfunction or injury. However, if you are going into battle, so to speak, where winning might actually matter to you, you should have your tennis bag packed with these just-in-case items. Obviously, preparing for every eventuality is impossible so don’t bother trying. Keep the following basics in your bag and you can feel comfortable that you have taken reasonable measures.

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10 Essential items

  1. Water, drink plenty before, during and after your match. Hydration is the key to good performance. Sip water on every changeover.
  1. Energy food: bananas, oranges, mangos, apples, cliff bars, granola bars
  1. Rackets, at least 2 rackets, in case you break a string
  1. Towels, 1-2 regular size towels to keep you dry
  1. Medical kit: Different types of bandages, neosporin, athletic tape, blister specific bandages, body powder, small pair of scissors, sunscreen, lip balm
  1. Dry tennis clothes: 1-2 spare TC tennis shirts, 2-3 pairs of dry socks, extra shoelaces, extra pair of tennis shoes, sweatbands
  1. Hat with a visor and sunglasses
  1. Over grips, in case yours get soaked or unravel
  1. Extra Shock absorber, in case yours flys off and you can’t find it
  1. A plastic shopping bag, for wet clothes, or for a makeshift cold pack

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Credit: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis by Brad Gilbert

How Red Lerille Mr. America 1960, started Red’s Gym: The biggest and best gym in the South

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Reds started in 1963. His goal is to make an improvement every month. There have been 624 improvements since 1963. Today Red’s is over 185,000 square feet. Every time I get onshore I go here 4-5 times a week. Red has built a world class gym in the 214th largest city in the US. It’s an amazing place and an good story.

“This place started off like Red Lerille’s Health Studio, then it became Red Lerille’s Health Club, then Red Lerille’s Health and Racket Club, and eventually people dropped all that shit and called it Red’s.”

Red’s Keys to Success

1. Arrive on time, ready to work

From Red Lerille: Painting the town Red,

“Every day, Lerille rises at 2:30 a.m. and rides one of his six bikes to the club to open it at 3 a.m. He works out for about 90 minutes before he hops on his bike for about 45 minutes of cardio and then pedals home. He takes a shower, shaves, eats breakfast and then heads to the 7 a.m. mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, down the street from his home. After mass, he heads to the private airport where he hangars the antique airplanes he restores and flies one for about a half-hour. Then, he drives back to Red’s, usually arriving by 8:30 a.m.—about the time many people are grabbing their first cup of coffee for the day.”

Credit Lara Hale

      2. Say hello and goodbye

  Red’s has 250 employees. Guess who opens up the gym every morning at 3:00 am. Red.  He usually stays until 7pm, even on Sundays.        

         3. Make a change every month

“You gotta have a board, with some goals written down, you have to write your goals down.”

        4. Learn as much as you can

When I joined the gym he gave me the tour personally. He handed me a book One Summer by Bill Bryson. It was fun read and chronicled the crazy events of 1927; from Lou Gehrig and the Yankees to Charles Lindbergh. Not just into fitness, his hobbies are building airplanes and motorcycles.

       5. Stay in shape

He works out everyday. One of the pillar habits in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is exercising. Exercise has ancillary effects in your life that moves you to accomplish all other goals.

 Tour of the facility and history of Reds.

 

Red’s is an anchor for Lafayette. It has

  • a basketball court
  • 4 large swimming pools
  • boxing ring
  • racketball courts
  • cafeteria
  • coffee shop
  • 2 yoga studios
  • Pilates stuio
  • Cycling studio
  • Outdoor obstacle course
  • Day Care
  • 6 squat racks and full sets of bumper plates
  • MIT which is basically its version of crossfit

Besides all that is has a world class tennis facility.

  • 20 outdoor courts (14 hards and 6 clay rubico)
  • 3 well lit indoor courts with a viewing gallery.

This place is amazing.Reds tennisreds 2

Two critiques I’ve heard are were the price and the bodybuilders. The former is an excuse, and the latter is an over generalization.

  1. Red’s over delivers on value. Those that say it’s too expensive just don’t want to go to the gym. That’s fine, but don’t tell me about how your free week at reds was amazing, and you really wish you could afford it. I paid a one time $230 joining fee. And I pay a monthly fee including meals and tennis court of around $80 per month. You get a world class facility for a low cost and it gets better every month. That’s a high return on investment.
  2. “Oh Red’s, isn’t that just a meathead gym”. It is a bodybuilding gym, but its a lot more than that. Red’s foundation is bodybuilding. He was 1960 Mr. America after all. Their are serious bodybuilders there and they do stand out, but to be honest they are maybe 5% of the total membership. And I’ve never had a bad experience with them. I think the critique is based on the assumption that if you are big you do steroids and act aggressive. I’ve found Red’s to be a community of like-minded people trying to improve everyday.

Compared to other gyms Reds is incredible for the value you get in return. You get a world class facility for a low cost and it gets better every month. That’s a high return on investment.


 

Skyzone Trampoline Park in Lafayette Kicks Ass

Trampoline Dodge ball. Need I say more. But I love this place so I’ll say more.

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I leave this place dead tired and happy. Its a cheap workout, requires no equipment, and launching dodge balls at friends fucking rocks.

I work 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off. When in Lafayette I call my friends to get their asses kicked and then have some Pasados Margaritas afterword.

This place is very cool. It has 2 dodge ball arenas, a big area for jumping, a foam pit and some trampoline basketball hoops to work on your dunking.

They have started to have specialty nights. The one I want to try out is College Night on Tuesday nights. As well as dodgeball tournament nights.

The only way they could improve their location would be a few structural changes I have seen in other trampoline parks. A rope swing into the pit, a climbing wall over the pit or a Zipline into the pit would be cool. Also elevated boxes in the main jumping zone to sit on or jump off would be nice to add. In the waiting area they have started playing ESPN on the TV’s. Now only if they started serving Draft Beer…. all in the world would be right.

A man can only wish. But for now this place rocks and I’m glad it’s in Lafayette.

 

Working on a Drillship in the Gulf of Mexico

Operations On Pemex Centennial And La Muralla IV Deep Sea Crude Oil Platforms

The H2S alarm blares me awake. Poisonous Hydrogen Sulfide Gas is just one of the threats keeping me from a good nights rest. Two seconds later a voice comes on “Disregard the false alarm, please disregard the false alarm”.

My dreams of large paychecks, sexy girls and the vacations are now over. My phone isn’t plugged in so I get up and check the time. I’ve missed one alarm this week, so my thoughts turn to dread, thinking I’m late again. To my relief it’s another 2 hours until wakeup.

My shoulders and lats ache, I smile knowing that means progress. Despite my fitness efforts over the past two years I have remained the same weight and muscle mass. Seeing the muscled guys in magazines reminds me of girls that I wanted so bad in high school, something I think of, but will never actually get to have.

I track it all. Sleep, Food, exercise, steps. I want that fitbit or jawbone even though I know it’s a waste. I cant wait for my Pavlok really. I see so many people wearing the fitbit. I notice it every time kind of like signal for health conscious people. I also started Winston’s War, which is a novel about World War 2 and how Churchill and the parliament worked before the war.

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I broke regs and pushed my helmet up to bask in the brightness. Working at night has been okay, but I miss the sun, tennis, hiking, trees, animals. The cookies, chocolate, and rolls call to me, I think in my head, “Saturday, I can be a fat fuck”. I’m happy. This routine. I’m maturing. Sometimes I ask myself why I am here. Is it adventure to be on a metal boat that doesn’t move with 3 squares and a hot shower each night? Or it is restriction? No alcoholic drinks, no way to spend money, no girls, no porn, no drugs. I reduced the amount of choices I can make. I don’t feel distracted like I do at home, because at home anything is possible. The choices overwhelm me and I feel lonely if im not texting someone. Here I can’t. I am a man out here. I don’t have to appease anyone, I just have to learn, and eat and shit.

Then we finally get a day worth remembering.

3:30 am-My first 3 hours as a mudlogger is going well, it’s the calm before the storm. Suddenly a Gas alarm goes off in the shaker house, For the last 3 hours I have to announce gas values coming from our sensor in the shaker house. I get on the PA, “Total Gas is 2845 units, Total Gas is 2845 units.” A unit is 50 ppm. That means 142,250 ppm of Methane gas is coming up in the mud into the shaker house from the wellbore. PA comes on, “This is the captain speaking, there is high gas at the shaker units, do not go outside, all crew stand down”. The company man calls and tells us he thinks its sandstone, not shale with 10% siltstone, what ive been calling the last 250 feet of drilled formation. Hen, my sample catcher who goes to the shaker house every 30 ft to collect, sieve and clean samples, looks at me, “what was that?” he asks.” They want me to go into the shaker house? Damn. I tell him we to be calm, and I continue looking at the now fizzing rock sample..This means I was wrong, we aren’t in shale anymore. I have no idea but I want to remain patient.

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4:00 am- The company man and Chase want to know if it is still mud-shale. Ive back tested 5 samples, 150 feet of formation and they all fizz CO2 like a mutherfucker. Damn this isn’t shale and hasn’t been for some time. I tell Chase, this might be limestone, but I don’t have 50% HCL to know”, Chase stares at me mouth open, I continue, “They never sent it to me”. And I don’t know if its oil rich because the samples are covered in base oil from the drilling fluid, and the centrifuge is broken. Chase, who has 12 year’s experience, and makes more money than he could spend in a lifetime living in Mumbai, swivels back around. “So we can’t test for oil or carbon content, is what you’re telling me, I can’t work with this bullshit”. I get the point. I call over to Dennis to get his opinion. He is on the phone pointing at the computer, he hasn’t helped me in 2 hours. Tisharat and Mahmout, two international guys with 20 years combined experience are anxiously eyeing the door. Being 5 feet from a gas filled shaker house, I understand their anxiety; being danger close to a drilling operation going haywire.

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5:00am- Calls are coming in, shit is not going well. Under intense pressure small pockets of gas enter the wellbore, due to a change in pressure these pockets begin to expand. Which is what is currently happening. A small pocket of gas has expanded over the course of the 34,000ft wellbore into a 40 barrel gas pocket. Unknown to us, The Company shut the well in. But this is not the end of problems for the brand new drilling crew, not used to drilling over 5,000 ft of water, with a giant 50 ft Blow Out Preventer, now, cement is pouring onto the deck from a clogged nozzle. A roughneck is trying with no success to un-fuck the nozzle with a broomstick. Cement, mud, and drilling fluid is coming in globs down, Me and Hen look at each other, both thinking we are fucked. Dennis is yelling into the phone now.

Unknown to me, the problem of shale or limestone doesn’t matter. In the oilfield they have an invented term that is a 50% mix of limestone and shale called Marl or Calcareous Shale. Once all the chips fell and responsibility was doled out, we were not in the crossfire. The Mud engineer took the responsibility for the kick, and the drill floor gave us a pass due to our diligence and phone calls we made at the time. The Romanian tells me that this happens quite a bit, but this boat is too inexperienced to be drilling at 120 ft/hr. I am sent off the boat two days later, 2 weeks before my 4 weeks is up. They tell me that The Company wants someone with more experience as a mudlogger. In hindsight, this actually encouraged me, I liked the pressure.

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