If you want danger, Florida’s got plenty.
The late-summer heat and humidity can be enough to swallow a tourist whole, which is similar to the fate that can await those who traipse uninitiated into the area’s many bodies of fresh or salt water – where they might just meet face-to-face with a hungry alligator or snack-seeking shark.
Which is precisely why I chose to keep my latest outdoor adventure on good old terra firma.
Of course, what I lacked in carnivorous marine life I now more than make up for in middle-aged joint pain, thanks in no small way to the pool-side tennis courts at the ’Tween Waters Inn.
Fueled by the sort of early September U.S. Open zeal that used to let me get a three-setter in before my junior year Editorial Methods class, I called upon good friend and colleague Michael Korb to play Andre Agassi to my John McEnroe in a 40-something reenactment of hard-court glory days gone by.
Truth is, we were a lot closer to Brooke Shields and Tatum O’Neal even at our peaks, but the pristine, sun-soaked playing surface made it feel enough like Flushing Meadow to render the task worthwhile.
The courts are open free of charge to resort guests from dawn to dusk, and can be reserved via the sign-up sheet that’s tucked away at the front desk. “Andre” and I strolled in the office shortly after 9 on a recent Sunday morning, and we were exchanging serves, volleys and maniacal grunts well before 9:30.
The subsequent two hours featured pretty much more of the same, with the occasional skid, tumble and snarky comment mixed in for color – not to mention the groans, head shakes and cringing glances around the perimeter fence to make sure no one had seen us whiff on a would-be overhead smash.
By 12, we were passing the Icy Hot while drowning our soreness in cool drinks at the Oasis Pool Bar.
Which, when you think about it, is a lot easier than lugging a silly trophy back to the car anyway.