Chibber at the Court

(Taken from The Chibber Papers)

From the street anybody passing by the indoor tennis court would have heard the squeaking of rubber shoes and the curses of the players. Inside the heat was stifling as the battle raged on. On one side was the British challenger, Harry Chibberson, Chibber to his friends. He had crossed the channel to duel with the French Champion: Henri Thierry LeCount.

Le Count had miscounted the score a few times and Chibber was thinking of knocking Henri’s cheating head off. The two combatants were locked in a pulsating game of real tennis. Although as Chibber was wont to say, well it’s not going to be dummy tennis, now is it?

The scoring system in place was the same as for today’s more cultured lawn Tennis. Even though LeCount had stolen a few points, Chibber was serving for the match and the game was tied at 40-40, more commonly called deuce, but there was no time for drinks.

Chibber glared over at the Frenchman. What a stupid country this is. How can they have a Dolphin as next in line to the throne? He could full well understand the purpose of whales in a succession. Mammal mia said Chibber as he served up one of his flippers and aced LeCount. Just as he was about to serve for the Championship the ground began to shake with the reverberations of thousands of footsteps. The earthquake in France was about to begin.

“What a racquet.” said Chibber.

The doors to the tennis court were thrown open, and an unlikely looking mob of lads entered. Volleys of arguing were ping-ponging back and forth from the pell-mell before order was maintained and one of the ringleaders said.

“We are from the Third Estate.”

“And I’m from Easterhouse. So what’s your game?”

“I am Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti Comte de Mirabeau and my colleagues and I are here to swear an oath. The only way forward is through revolution. We are here for a new constitution.”

“Well I’m here to win a Championship, your honour, so you and your wiggies better grab a chair until I’m finished.”

With much grumbling and discontent the Third Estate took their place on the benches. Chibber bounced the ball a few times and thought of the time the duke of Guienne sent Henry V a gift of tennis balls. Even though he was of West of Scotland Lollardy descent, this slight on the monarch preyed on his mind. Looking up he could see the eyes of the revolutionaries on him. A few of them were muttering under their breath.
“Quiet please.”

The crowd hushed, the proverbial pin could have been heard to drop. Chibber decided it was time to revolutionise the tennis serve. He threw the ball in the air and as gravity took over he screamed a battle cry and grunted loudly, presciently predicting the future of the game as we know it. LeCount was caught by surprise and could not return the ball that was as true as any arrow at Agincourt. Chibber spoke to Mirabeau.

“OK, you’re on next. A word of advice; Revolutions go round and you end up where you start.”


(Jacques Louis David- The Tennis Court Oath, June 20th 1789)

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4 Comments on “Chibber at the Court”

  1. Pseu Says:

    Real tennis
    played by real men on an indoor court. have you visited the court in Oxford?

  2. John Mackie Says:

    Haw, JW.

    You’re getting seriously good, in my opinion.

    Loved the ‘deuce’ aka ‘juice’, drink-wise, in para 3.

    Passing over the cheap jibe in para 4 – you know full well that us yins up here hear (whit aboot them for fine homonyms?) the difference between ‘Whales’ and ‘Wales’. ‘Mammal mia’ is good to be fair.

    A joy to see you posting away here. Missing you on MyT and struggling to understand why you’re not Bearsying.

    Enjoy your celebrations this weekend.

  3. theroyalist Says:

    Hello Pseu,

    Nope, I’ve never been to Oxford or played real tennis. All my (lawn/gravel/Astroturf) tennis matches have been played outside and in all types of weather; rain did not stop play. I play a mean bat, y’know; did I ever tell you I was school champion? 🙂

    In keeping with the Deuce/juice crack, let it be on the record that I have never played squash.

  4. theroyalist Says:

    Hello John,

    Thanks for the kind words. Tried desperately to get “wails” in, without success.

    There is historical fact in this document. A few years back Chibber (real person though I’ve changed his nickname) and I had hired a court for an hour. After 60 minutes we were still not finished and the next players were due on. Chibber refused them entry until we had completed the set and they were too scared to report him to the attendant. Mirabeau and his pals are merely sideshow filler in this farce.

    My excuse for not “Bearsying” is that I feel I would bring the tone of the place down and would have to reign in some of my excesses. As one of the silent readership I know there are a lot of good posts/posters there.

    RE: STV tonight (please don’t tell me you were watching a debate programme instead). You must be delighted to see a Jambo in Scotland’s greatest team. William Jardine was a smashing player.


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