I’ve been back from Cornell University’s tennis camp for a few days but I never found a good time until now to write something.
Okay, first, the food. It was completely and utterly (excuse the cliché) disappointing. But it was so good. Let me explain. Compared to my school’s cafeteria food… oh wait, comparing Cornell food to my Junior High lunch is beyond insulting to the University chefs. Let’s not go there. Cornell’s dining hall comprised buffet tables with a myriad of cuisines. There was a “Hot Traditional” area with different dishes each day: quiches, pastas, lemon sautéed cod. There were Italian foods, Chinese foods, burgers, French fries, cereals, ice cream, cherry pies, German chocolate cakes, raspberry flavored water, kiwi-strawberry flavored water, Butterfingers Cappuccino, hot chocolate, grape juice, orange juice, and the most heavenly chocolate milk. I apologize if your stomach is now secreting gastric juices and hurts later.
So how is that at all disappointing? I think my expectations were just insanely high. I have never heard anything bad about Cornell food (would I be the first to criticize its “Award-Winning” dining?). Everyone says the food is absolutely divine. My mouth had been watering since the day I signed up a few months ago. I think my subconscious had been dreaming of gourmet lobster stews and Belgian chocolate mousse and acres and acres of smiling pastries waiting to be tasted. So when I got there, yeah… reality check. But don’t let this discourage you from eating at Cornell! The food was delicious. It’s just not the best I’ve eaten. Besides, I just had too high of expectations.
Now, the tennis. I’ve improved my groundstrokes (my forehand and backhand) but my serve got considerably weaker. For you tennis players out there, I used to have an Eastern Forehand grip but the coaches had me use a Continental grip now (it turns out that almost all the students there already used a Continental grip… what the heck?). It has been difficult to serve holding the racquet a different way but hopefully it’ll help in the long run and I’ll be able to get my serve back before tennis season starts.
At camp, we had to play a truly awful game called “Up and Down the River” (even the name is stupid). We had to play to eleven points on HALF a court. If you lose, you move down half a court. Win and move up half a court. First we had to start on the court we think best matches our abilities which is ridiculous because we barely had any idea of how the other campers played. So while I was debating with myself about which court (and there are six courts, the first being the best) I belong to, courts one through five all became occupied. Super. I moved up to Court Four and later to Court Two although there were people on Court Three better than me. Basically “Up and Down the River” is part luck (depending on whom you play), part skill, and part absurdity. Still, I admit the game has a redeeming quality. It doesn’t help with technique, but “Up and Down the River” tests the emotional aspects of the sport (i.e. not freaking out before a match).
This camp has been my first overnight camp. I did pretty well with organization. I haven’t lost anything there. But the first two nights, I didn’t sleep very well. I probably just had trouble adjusting. The dorm cot is so uncomfortable too (and it squeaks)!
I met some really great friends and have some of their Facebooks. Sad to say, however, tennis camp was just like school – there were cliques and everyone talked about each other behind their backs (I’m unsure if this is proper grammar). Overall, it was a nice experience. I would love to attend again next year.
Have you guys been to any camps this summer?