Members Only by Sameer Pandya
I’ve never read a tennis book. There are a few hyped biographies out there, but the idea of reading about a player’s life is not as appealing as just watching their matches. Even for those retired, their stories aren’t over. I’d rather watch them commentate or listen to their podcast updates.
1) “The black students were brought in to diversify the school, but remained very much separate within it.”
When I was in middle and high school, I never truly thought about the METCO program. I only knew that almost all black students at the school were in the program and that they took buses in from Boston. It was never a controversial topic for me. It was just part of school. Young, simple, naive.
2) “‘The Browns are our last family. And funnily enough, their sponsors are the Blacks.'” – Suzanne
The Browns are black. The Blacks are white.
3) “Jan took the family to spend a year in Spain so their kids could get used to playing on real, red clay before everyone was taking a year off and calling it a sabbatical.”
This is the dream.
4) “‘We were the contingent labor that made this university – and most universities around the country – run these days.'”
The more removed I am, the more I realize how uniquely insane colleges are. The system is built on professors with lifetime jobs who are horrific at teaching, assisted by armies of PhDs barely making any money, all funded by students skipping classes, borrowing federal loans, and who will one day feel nostalgic and donate back to the system.
5) “I was about to ask if that was short for something. I didn’t think this new generation of Indian Americans had gotten in the habit of Americanizing their names.”
Huh, this is true. Who are the Davids and Kevins?
6) “A week earlier, I’d gone to my internist for my yearly checkup, and had left thankful that my nagging cough had revealed nothing.”
Drink more water. Sleep more.
7) “‘One group thinks I don’t like black people and another thinks I don’t like whites. How did I get here?'”
This is the book summarized in one sentence.
8) “This time, I would play better than I ever had before. This time, I would move to all the right places at exactly the right time.”
The best part of playing tennis is that there is always a chance you will play the best you’ve ever played.
9) “Don’t Gandhi the shot.”
I’ll remember this next time.
10) “But before I knew what was happening, we were down 0-6 1-5.”
My tennis epithet should be 0-6 1-5.
I had listened to a podcast about the book beforehand, so I knew that the story really had little to do with tennis. This book was about race and cancel culture. It couldn’t have been more timely. I found the execution clumsy at times. The constant flashbacks jolted the story, and some plot points were borderline cringe. Still, I can’t fault a tennis book.