Author: Haven Pell

According to Yogi Berra, a malaprop-prone former catcher for the New York Yankees, “it is tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Fortunately, predictions are usually passive. They tell you what might happen if all you did was extrapolate from current trends. The better view, it seems to me, is to ask what you […]

Clearly the title should be Farewell, Mr. Ambassador, but nobody ever called Temple Grassi “Mr. Ambassador.” Had they done so he would have been one among many, but “The Ambassador” made him unique. The inadvertent word choice grew over time to reflect reality. Temple Grassi was a most unusual fellow but now he is gone, […]

Dear Friend, Though I don’t know you and I might even be dead, I consider you a friend simply because you are thinking enough about building a court tennis court to have found your way to this letter. I address it to you not to your project nor to anyone else, because you, the person […]

It is possible some readers will think this an unusual title for a story written by a preppy WASP who has two middle names. It is. It is also a tribute to a wonderful friend and an unusual friendship. According to Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai (I had to Google the quote), “There are three crowns: […]

Followers of this series can be forgiven for thinking that court tennis was exclusively an up-market game played only by cardinals and kings, because their courts, which tended to be in palaces, probably survived disproportionately. More people wrote about them too. This, however, is not entirely the case. There was much gambling on the game, […]

There is good and bad about playing a small game. By now, you have seen much of the good. Players of small games are more enthusiastic and see themselves as integral to its very existence. After years of involvement, you have met many of the players from other countries and perhaps stayed in their houses […]

In addition to being Father’s Day, today is the last day of the United States Open Golf Championship. That is not a coincidence. It always is. The golf we Americans see on television as we nod off on Sunday afternoons is produced by four groups. The Professional Golf Association Tour (PGA Tour) runs the pro […]

The finish line is in sight. This episode will cover the last three courts that I have played: Bayonne, La Bastide Clairance and Radley. I will then throw myself to the mercy of French and English public health bureaucrats for the last three that I haven’t: Urrugne, Bordeaux and Wellington. Covid restrictions will have to […]

The journey continues with a non-tour of the unplayed American courts. Many overseas visitors tour the United States, playing each court in succession over a short period of time and I suppose some Americans do the same, but I never did. Playing lots of courts in short order is more appealing when traveling abroad. We […]