SanTana Sports and Don Papi Pulido's Preferred Pelotas

Art Pedroza at Orange Juice! had quite the scoop last week in reporting that First District Supervisor Janet Nguyen recently allocated $170,000 to the building of a clay tennis court at Cabrillo Park in SanTana. Pedroza opined out loud that the tennis courts came at the request of mayor Don Papi Pulido, a known tennis fiend, because he's a Francophile (past media profiles have documented Don Papi Pulido's French fluency and supposed Gallic heritage, a genealogical aspiration amongst wabs as notorious as that mythical Cherokee princess in the family trees of many gabachos) and thus wants to replicate Roland Garros. Dan Chmielewski at The Liberal OC, who despises Pedroza for reasons I know longer remember but whose back-and-forth with Pedroza (and the occasional--okay, frequent--chime-in by Orange County blogger supreme Matt Cunningham) makes for the most entertaining news war since Pulitzer and Hearst, shot back that tennis courts will keep kids off SanTana's mean streets. Chmielewski proudly proclaims his Irvine residency, which explains why he hasn't a clue about SanTana reality.

Consider the scene that happens almost every evening at the tennis courts at Willard Intermediate School, mere minutes from the estate of Don Papi Pulido--well, it would be, if you could enter Floral Park going north on Ross Street. These are tennis courts in name only. No nets exist; the pavement shows neglect. Yet they're crammed with the shouts and pounding sneakers of soccer players. Through the ingenuity that is the Mexican race, these wabs break into the courts, set up goal posts and boundaries, and play until the twilight, and frequently beyond.

Full disclosure: tennis is the only sport I've ever played regularly.  Horribly--my colleague Nick Schou and I used to volley every Sunday morning for years, and the final score was something like 200-4 in his favor, no exaggeration. But for Don Papi Pulido to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on tennis courts in SanTana is like Westminster naming a school after Martin Luther King instead of the Mendez family: it's a nice gesture, but stop ignoring the wants of the people, already!

Nope. In a June article last year for The Sports Network website, noted tennis coach Vic Braden profiled Don Papi Pulido's efforts to make SanTana tennis-crazy. "The mayor of Santa Ana, Miguel Pulido, an ex-collegiate tennis player, is working tirelessly to make Santa Ana a huge tennis town," Braden wrote. "Organizations and foundations are beginning to take notice, especially since the program also involves instruction in physics, science, math and languages...It's a win-win situation for everyone and while Santa Ana has been noted as a great soccer town, things are changing as the spotlight begins to focus on tennis."

Question: how about putting more educational focus on soccer? Other questions to ponder: why does SanTana continue to insist on ignoring its Mexican reality? And does the Don Papi prefer a baseline game, or is he strictly about the net?


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