Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Garoult France ( Scene of the crime ) In 1991 Brett Patten , Peter Gerrans and myself visited some rather unique towns to play tennis tournaments. It is unclear just what took us to Gareoult but i am glad we went as the Australian contingent cleaned up the local tournament. I was not entered in the tournament so i just went along for the ride but on reaching the tournament they needed another doubles team. Brett and Pete argued as to who should play as they could not play together , their rankings were too high , that's where i came in handy.
One of their rankings put together with my ranking would meet the ranking criteria , so i think they tossed a coin , it was to be Pete and GT for the doubles. The singles event was dominated by Brett and Pete , all the way to the final , that's when some fun and games started. You've heard of 'match fixing' , well this match took that statement to a whole new level.This was like watching a Dad play cricket with his son, you know when he keeps leaving the stumps open or hitting the ball straight back for a catch. Brett and Pete apparently organized this match to be won by Peter but for the winners purse to go to Brett. As a spectator i nodded off on more than one occasion. Just for the record apparently Pete took an extra 100 francs spending money out of the purse before he gave it to Brett, as you do. One wanted the prize money , one wanted the title, they found a way to do both.....
As far as the doubles was concerned Pete and I made it to the final against two players from Belgium and it was a tough game of tennis . My memory for scores is still good to this day and Pete and I took the match in 3 sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and picked up a couple of hundred French Francs each , from memory. I believe that Brett took around a thousand francs as the 'real' winner and Pete , well he got the pride and glory.
That night we celebrated like real Aussie yobbo's and i believe the night turned into a beer fight but i believe i know why. We are all sitting around a table drinking and trying to understand the European language when a Frenchman comes out with the most ridiculous comment . "How about you and I become pen friends"? Now i aint stupid , as soon as he had said those words i knew that the mouse in Brett's head would be going around a million miles an hour , it didn't take long. "Hey Thommo how bout you and i......."
Yep brilliant Mr Frenchman you just gave my 'mates' a whole new way of giving me the shits for the rest of the tour as if their higher tennis ability was not already enough. So anyhow i blame 'Pierre' and Brett but things turned sour pretty quickly after that and beer started missing mouths and landing on heads. It turned into mayhem. At one stage Brett and i had a race up the street , come to think of it he actually may have been chasing me , but he didn't catch me , i prided myself on the foot work.
That night i slept in the car at the club , Peter and Brett inside the tennis club house, we were not in fact allowed to stay at the house that we were originally found by the Tennis Club's members. I wonder why , all we did was ruin their 'fiesta' that night with bad language and manners , where was their sense of humor??
We all had a bit of a laugh the next morning as we changed our beer soaked shirts and packed 'Le Car' for the next tournament, 'franced up' and full of testosterone. As the tiny car rolled out of Gareoult I just knew it was only a matter of time before i heard "Hey Thommo , we be Pen Friends ".........
The headphones went on for the rest of the trip, in the back seat behind two blokes who had no respect whatsoever for their older touring buddy, character building........