A few times in my life I’ve been asked: “If you could invite 10 celebrities to dinner, who would you choose?” I’ve always had a difficult time answering this question because there are a lot of celebrities I’d like to meet and have dinner with. What I think is a more interesting question and one much easier to answer is: “If you could have six celebrities on your tennis team, who would you choose?” So here it is, my celebrity tennis team. People were chosen based on likeability, athleticism, fashion sense, leadership tendencies and attractiveness. Few have any real tennis experience. I still think we’d win every match anyway.
Some people may know Mindy as a screenwriter for The Office who wrote, among others, the episode in which Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman Grill. Others may know her as the creator and star of FOX’s The Mindy Project. I like to think of her as a potential best friend and know she’d be the perfect addition to my celebrity tennis team. Although Mindy mentions several times in her 2011 autobiography that she’s incredibly unathletic, she’d definitely be instrumental in choosing team uniforms. As a Dartmouth grad, she understands country club style and anyone who follows her on Instagram knows she does the preppy look well. Even if the team didn’t win any matches we’d be the best looking squad on the court and probably have more fun than our opponents, too.
Little Orphan Annie
I know she isn’t real person, but I’m extremely excited for the cinematic remake of this play coming out in theaters Dec. 19, so Annie’s on the list. Bet you don’t remember the lyric from the number “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here,” when Oliver Warbucks’ secretary demands an assistant find out if Annie can get a tennis lesson with Don Budge (the world’s no. 1 player in the 1930s). I do, because I know every song in this production. Annie was super into her tennis lessons with Don because when Daddy Warbucks initially says he’s too busy to take her to the movies, she says, “Nobody has to take me. I’ll go practice my backhand.” (I’ve seen the 1982 film too many times.) Also, Annie would make an excellent teammate because she gives great pep talks to everyone from lonely orphans to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and tells them to just stick up their chin and grin. If the tennis team ever lost a match Annie would belt out the chorus of “Tomorrow” and boost team morale.
I never realized how much I liked this guy until I watched an episode of NBC’s The Voice. He basically has no qualms making a fool of himself. The country star is also super competitive on the reality show and has the most wins as a Voice coach with three. While I’m not sure he’s ever played tennis, there’s no doubt he’d do everything possible to help the team win. And at 6 feet 4 inches tall he’s bound to have some power behind his serve and coverage at the net. Blake would definitely be entertaining on road trips to away matches. He’s used to travel from years of touring and could lead the team in a round of “Some Beach” to pass the time. With his sense of humor and determination, Blake would be a team favorite for sure.
An important topic of discussion among my college roommates was validating your choice to be on “Team Peeta” or “Team Gale” from the Hunger Games trilogy. Obviously, you know which team I’m on since I put Liam Hemsworth at no. 3 in the lineup. Although Liam’s character Gale wasn’t reaped into a death match, he’s still proves himself in the films as an awesome athlete. He’s a hunter, so he has excellent hand-eye coordination skills, and has done intense manual labor in the coal mines. He rescued nearly 10 percent of District 12’s population when the region was bombed and volunteered to go on a covert mission to rescue tributes from the Capital. (If you’re unfamiliar with the Hunger Games are you confused yet?) While it may seem as though I’m only choosing Miley’s ex-fiance for the fictional character he plays, I actually like the real Liam a lot. For example, once I displayed stalkerish behavior when I tore a picture of him out of my friend Ethan’s GQ magazine and kept it in my wallet for a few weeks. Hence, Liam’s definitely on the fantasy tennis team.
I’ll admit I had a tough time figuring out who should fill this spot, so I Googled “celebrities who play tennis.” When a photo of Tina from her days as a varsity tennis star at Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania came up, I knew I had found my no. 2 player. I don’t know whether Tina’s tennis career continued on after that, but she did play a game of “sexy tennis” with Amy Poehler once, so that’s good enough for me. Tina would be the brains of the team, coming up with clever strategies to outwit the opposing team. I also know she’d make a great team captain because I’ve familiarized myself with her leadership capabilities after reading her memoir Bossypants. Also, I imagine she, Mindy Kaling and I would get along famously.
“I am a legend now. I am the greatest athlete that there ever is,” Usain Bolt told reporters after winning gold in the 200m race at the 2012 Olympics. I absolutely love Usain Bolt and became obsessed with watching his races two summers ago. If someone invited me to hang out and Usain was racing that night, I turned them down. That’s how much of a fangirl I was. I totally agree with Usain in that he is the greatest athlete ever, which is why he rounds out my celebrity tennis lineup at no. 1. Usain would be a work horse during tennis practices and would probably put in extra hours outside of scheduled court time. Obviously he’d be lightning fast on the tennis court, but the thing I love most about Usain is how cocky he is. You’ve probably seen him slow down and glide into the finish line when he’s leading a race. I think it’s brilliant. And I hope he’d have the same attitude on the tennis court.