It's Always Sunny in Florida:
When I was first approached about traveling to Fort Lauderdale, I was stifled with indecision. Being social with others was not where my mind was. After a three month relationship turned out to be nothing but a mirage, feeling nothingness was the new norm.
I internalized everything -- adding up every slight that others were doing to me. Some were big. Some small. I justified retreating because I did not want to be hurt anymore. A part of me saw the dangerous path my thoughts were leading to, and it urged me to take the trip. "It will be healthy for you!" So, I did...
I rented a mammoth 2012 Toyota Sienna that could sit seven individuals AND hold luggage for three gay men. This was probably the first time in 10 years that I rented a vehicle. I am kinda spoiled and diva-ish, where I typically rely on others to escort me around town. If no one is available, I take cabs. I don't like driving in unfamiliar big cities. Accidents happen!
So, as the Elder Gay, I was the de facto driver. I played the role fine with only a handful of complaints. In my defense, I was driving a TANK in a city with asshole aggressive drivers. To make matters worse, there was no GPS in the vehicle and I had to peer down at my own iPhone for navagation. (My fellow tennis buds were often immersed in their iPhones.) They were not total bastards, however, as they were at least quiet. I never once had to pull over and beat them with my belt. Thank God.
The tournament site was well-designed with a large locker room, nice bathroom facilities, a food and drink bar, and even a pool! It was the most comfortable place I have ever been to for chilling out awaiting a match. I felt like I was in a resort.
For me, the most thrilling match was a doubles victory with my partner Jerry. We were the #5 seed and got the honor of playing on center court in front of a sizable crowd. I played pretty well, ripping backhands down the alley, but I did get jittery in the middle of the match after making three consecutive unforced errors. Thankfully, Jerry anchored our team with solid serving and excellent net play. We bested our foes 7-6, 6-2.
Other than that, I would rate my performance was "sub par" and not a true reflection of my abilities. I did win one singles AND one doubles match, but lost in singles and doubles the very next day from sluggish play. Tennis tournaments require extreme conditioning and mental toughness, which I didn't seem to have that day.
Besides the tennis, I enjoyed hanging with Puerto Rican roomie Scott (the guuurl can put away food!). I can say this without worry of getting my ass beat, because Scott is a gentle Puerto Rican... not one of those mean pulling-off-wig fighting ones. And, of course... hanging with my sweet doubles partner Jerry... who exemplifies being an outstanding friend. We got along very well for the five days, which made parting ways very sad to me. I AM confident our paths will cross many times again in the future. :)
One more interesting tidbit about the Fort Lauderdale trip: I got to meet a Facebook friend named Sean for the very first time. We hung out and chatted at the hotel, and then he joined us for lunch. Sean was eager to meet because I somehow entertain him on Facebook. He was curious to see who the real Brett is versus the "character" I play. Supposedly, I am interesting, gorgeous, and have an amazing personality! (I slipped him a $20 bill for lying his ass off) Just kidding! Sean did say he was surprised I am the average height for a man. He was expecting me to be 5'2" or shorter (GROWL) because of hatefulness perpetuated by comment trolls. Thanks douches!
So, that was my trip report. It is over, but I will leave with so many fond memories. My heart is pitter pattering a little faster, my faith in people restored, and my soul almost mended. :)