Freeman surveying the troops at playoff time Just another Thursday night at LLTC
Somewhere in the deepest, darkest jungles of Houston, USTA Special Forces Colonel Freeman has gone renegade, operating outside the normal boundaries of war employed by the forces of Texas and most of the USTA. Once a model USTA member who won and let others win as well, Colonel Freeman now leads his own personal army out of the Lee LeClair zone, operates under his own rules, and achieves unprecedented success in his war against the Texas section. My mission – to find Colonel Freeman, study his methods, and bring him back into the civilized world of Texas sectionals tennis - or destroy his forces in the process.
I have studied his files. Beginning as a lowly 3.5 (oops, he just got back down), Colonel Freeman once trained his own armies in the Southern section. It was during his consulting in Mississippi that he began to take notice of the soft underbelly of the USTA rules. His report on the Sectionals War at that time was classified by his superiors. Evidently he didn’t like being limited by the rules placed on him when winning was within his grasp, and they didn’t want his ideas to spread.
Colonel Freeman then joined the Sectionals War in the Texas section. It was here that he began to really put his theories to the test. But after constantly butting heads with his superiors back in Austin he began to lead a shadow war all on his own. As his successes in the Sectionals War grew, so did his detractors. Seems the rest of the war effort didn’t approve of his methods – found them to be ‘unsound’ – and labeled him insane. After studying his results I’m not so sure.
Unlike other commanders, he spreads his forces between different tennis centers and different captains until he needs them, making it impossible to judge his troop strength or really research his self rates. His ability to pull vast resources together for a single campaign is without equal in Texas. His main competitors bicker among themselves over which feudal lord will rule over the three good players at each tennis center, diluting their forces to the point that battle with him is futile. While Colonel Freeman’s loyal followers throw their dignity at his feet just to be one of his Thursday guys. The more I learn, his genius begins to show through.
Finally, I made my way to his camp and was taken before him by his followers. His words still echo in my ears, “I’ve seen horrors…horrors that you’ve never seen. I’ve been beaten at Nationals with teams that had dominated Texas. You have a right to beat me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me.” It was all making sense. He didn’t live outside the rules. He just understood that there was a bigger world out there beyond Texas and it lived by tougher rules.
Just then a fresh can of tennis balls was popped open by one of his followers. Looking warily at me he said, “You smell that? New tennis balls, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of new tennis balls in the morning. Smells like - victory.”