Sameer Pandya on 'Members Only' Book
Everyone John Wartime here. Sports illustrated tennis podcast. Everyone is doing well our guest. This week is severe Panja. Who is a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara teaches creative writing Asian American literature, and also more importantly for our purposes has just written a terrific tennis book members only which tennis figures prominently both as a plot device in a metaphor I. I absolutely devour this book. We will link it link the Amazon page on our show page, but this is a fun conversation talking about tennis talking about writing talking about tennis as a storytelling device full disclosure Samir I share a publisher and publicist, so I want to dispense with that, but this was a really fun conversation a fun book timely book. I think people will love book members. Only it's called, and here is a on enjoyable half hour conversation here we go. I start off by congratulating him. I really you know people. Binge Watch TV shows I. binged dread members only and. Plowed through edited, it did not disappoint. Grad seriously congrats I. Mean it's it's great. It's it's really. SMART, and funny, and I thought we'll talk about this later. I thought very topical, and it's also does. Does tennis right so you succeeded on many dimensions as far as I'm concerned. CONGRATS I. I will say that you saying it did tennis right? Is means particularly lot because you know. I think. In terms of different kinds of readers, right, there's there's. Specific details if I'm reading something in if somebody gets a core detail wrong, which is not that big of a deal? It can be. It can break it for me. You know I'm Mike. Okay I can't do this anymore. Right I can't go down this road trusting this person and so I'm really happy to hear that I mean. Tennis is a big. I love the sport and we can also talk about that as well, but so that's great. Thank you I I. I wrote it with a certain kind of. Kind of propulsion in mind, right and I kinda wanted to be read that way, and then hopefully there other things. You know that you can go back to, or you can think about in ways in terms of how Raj operates in this in this book that can take a little bit more consideration, but you know in these in. These days. I want to read a book quickly. And I think in some ways I wanted to write a book that people could read quickly as well. The I say it's your talk. Not I feel like you're talking about a nonfiction book and everything's on the table. Right everything the next serve I feel I. Don't know what lessons You'd like me to take I don't know how much we can reveal here. Well, let's start you. To your character, so let's let's start there To to tennis fans, it is not spelled R. A. J. as your character is, but you know Raj is a name of relevance. Tennis fans You, you mentioned the details. You Got Right now. I think you're absolutely right. I think the second somebody writes about tennis of calls. A rally volley! We've got issues right? You did not do that this either was a studious research or else. You really have some grounding in tennis. What's what's your background sport? Yeah, you know so I so we came. We moved to America when I was eight years old. I lived in Bombay until I was eight owes a huge cricket fan. I played a ton of cricket. And we moved into A. Kind of an apartment complex when we arrived here and and. There was a tennis court. Right next to it where we're well. This was in the East Bay. This was east of. Glee in in in a in a city called San Pablo. and. You know. I think when I was like nine or ten years old, there was a man who would always come there in hidden serves like ten down the t ten out. Why ten down the T ten out wide, and I just started going down there and Collecting balls for him. And this! I think a you know him and his wife. They didn't have kids, and you know in a lovely gesture. At some point. He showed up with a tennis racket. And kinda showed me how to shift the grip for forehand and backhand, which was my first official lesson in the game and so. I so I started playing there. I played through high school and you know. and. Then I stopped playing the game for years. I stopped playing college. I didn't play it in Graduate School You know I moved my wife and I moved to new. York For five years where I had my first academic job. Getting Court New York as you know, is not an easy task, and so I have always kind of played the game, and then also I just love the game the pro game as well right, which is that I wasn't quite. Aware of the Borg McEnroe Connors era, but I think I really started watching you it with lendl real under at Burgh those are the I think in Michael Chang, so that was kind of mid might time said mid eighties moment. And so I've been kind of a fan of the sport in that way throughout the time and then. You know it's a great middle aged sport like I, love. I love the sociology of it. The player talking yeah. Yeah Yeah. Yeah, so in both of those things, so that's why I'm just. It is as a kind of as a spectator as a player It's a one sport that I kind of gravitate towards the much.