“This, ehm, Xiaoli. ‘Li, to you I present Mama Rizzo.”
“Ah, che bella ragazza! Lei non è fortunato?” she cried with a smile, toustling my hair.
“Madre, per favore,” Tony moaned, reddening slightly.
“It’s nice to meet you, ma’am. Your son’s been very kind to us.”
“I hear you going to play, er, badminton?”
“We are indeed.”
“Che cosa divertente! Best of luck to you!”
“Thank you.” I pulled Tony aside. “Is she always that friendly?”
“Bella, my whole family’s that friendly.” He chuckled. “Where you think I get it from?”
After a very prolonged hello, we piled down the hill to a clearing in a grove of trees, where the main court was located. I breathed a sigh of relief; this was the I’d practiced on.
“You did well in practice, you’re gonna do fine,” Cricket whispered confidently in my ear. I nodded. The Rizzo family got settled, and Lin and I took our places on our respective sides.
Tony climbed into the umpire’s chair. Looking to see that we were ready, he nodded, and cried, “Begin play!”