Sport · Teaching

Week 72: Four Real Tennis Competitons, One Weekend

On Monday, I took my first session of teaching for the year. I was scheduled to take two classes of Scientific Computing, a course for first year physics students (or using the Cambridge parlance, Part IA NatSci). The class was held in the Cockroft Lecture Theatre, in the New Museums site right in the centre of the city. In the course, they were learning some rather basic coding skills in MATLAB, and it surprised me a little how simple it was. Life is easy as a first year, most of the exercises simply had to be copied and pasted out of the worksheet, yet still they had errors. The head of class, the other two demonstrators and myself spent the time running around and helping them out with their problems. We also had to set up and pack up the spare laptops for the students who don’t bring their own.

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After class, I headed out to Halford’s in search of a socket spanner, such that I could remove my rear cassette and hence fix my broken spoke. I was riding around my white bike instead of my black one, and I needed to get it fixed. Shopping continued on Tuesday, where my laptop had now been fixed, and I could go and pick it up again. Then it was back into the department for a bit of work, with a fairly ordinary end to the day.

On Wednesday morning, I dropped into Lloyds bank to follow up with the transfer of bank details onto myself and Margaret as the new Treasurer and President respectively. It had been a week since I’d heard anything, so I thought I had better follow up. They said that the details had been posted and I should receive them within a day, and they were already waiting for me when I got to college for lunch. That afternoon, I had the second session of teaching Scientific Computing. By now, I was very familiar with the content, and it all seemed to progress rather quickly, and I was able to solve most of the student’s errors just by looking at the screen, so I could instead try and teach them why it was giving them an error. Finally, we had cricket training late that evening, with an exceptionally high turnout. It was definitely looking like we would have a team together for the coming season.

It was shaping up to be a weekend of a lot of Real Tennis, and that started on Thursday night, with the resumption of the Cambridge Leagues. I was playing for the Th’underdogs team, and our first match was against Krittika’s team: Charles’ Angels. Each tie, three players from each team play a singles match against the other team, with one team designated to provide dinner. My match was first up, playing against Matthew, which I won 6-3, 6-3. But Krittika and Kevin both won their matches against us, and we ended up losing the tie 1-2. I was charged with making desert, so I quickly threw together an apple crumble before the game, and had precariously carried it over on my bike.

On Friday morning, I went out to meet with Jade and Jim from the Trust. Jade is the new Director of Finance, and as the Council Treasurer, we needed to make sure that we were on a level understanding about the finances of Council going forward. After the meeting, I headed into work for a while, which included a departmental seminar that was somewhat related to my previous works. I quickly grabbed dinner at college, and then began the next phase of my Real Tennis weekend: the 60’s Category Tournament.

Eleven players at the club entered the tournament, we were drawn into 3 groups, the lower four seeds, myself included, being placed into group A. The winner would advance to the later rounds the following day. I had to play a set each against each person in the group: Bill, Terry and Joe. I ended up winning comfortably, progressing through to play the following morning. There, I was to play Kate, Tony and Richard. While I beat the latter two, I lost to Kate and didn’t progress to the semi finals based on games won (as three of us were equal on matches won). After lunch, I spent the afternoon outside trying to balance my bike wheel after finally fixing my broken spoke. That evening, Joanna, Danny and Lewis came around (with Annalise, briefly), for a session of Dungeons and Dragons with Emma and Jacqueline, which resulted in a split party and much chaos ensuing.

The end of the Real Tennis weekend came on Sunday, when I was picked up by David, Christie and Joe for the drive out to Moreton Morrell, to play the club match there. The court there used to be the private court of the son of a New York banker over a century ago, now it is on the edge of a small rural village an doesn’t seem to get much use. It had an American Squash court, and a decent amount of facilities, but the lunch served was mashed potato with prawns in it, which wasn’t the nicest. On the court, I played and won doubles with Joe, with Cambridge winning the tie overall.

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