Summer Sports – Episode 3
June 29, 2010 3 Comments
Well folks, summertime is finally here. Finals week is over, college students have meandered out to a quiet life of working to pay for tuition (or in my case) to have enough money for alcohol for the fall.
Summertime also brings on what I like to call sports hell. The NCAA tournament is over, baseball is in miles 7-16 of its marathon season, there’s no football action at any level, especially now that the expansion talk has ended (with ISU holding its spot in a BCS conference, fuck yeah!)
Flipping through the channels, however, I was shocked to discover that – holy shit – there are actually sports going on in the summer. Since there’s a long way to go until fall semester starts and NFL training camp kicks off in late July, I figured I’d spend some time “analyzing” these mysterious sports – particularly from the perspective of someone watching the sport.
Part 3 – Tennis
First off, I have to apologize for the lack of updates. I’m aware it’s been damn near a month since I updated this “weekly” series. With the near-death of the Big XII, the beginning of a night class over the summer, and work spinning up, I’ve been busy as hell. I promise, though, I’ll have two stories in short order to make up for lost time. I had planned for this article to correspond with the French Open, but as luck would have had it, Wimbledon is kicking up, so timing is still on my side. Anyhow…
This week we cover one of the world’s older sports: Tennis, which has been around since the 12th century. Today, however, tennis is much like golf in that nobody outside the die-hard fans even cares about the sport outside the four “Major” tournaments. Be honest, when’s the last time you even heard the results of a tennis “event” that’s not named Wimbledon, U.S. Open, French Open, or Australian Open? You haven’t. Even when one of the majors are going on, you only hear about the final match, unless it’s an absolute epic match that takes 11 hours and 5 minutes to finish. Even then, Isner got absolutely spanked the next match in straight sets. (Kind of sad that over 11 hours of action can be summarized in 8 minutes, isn’t it?)
Tennis, unlike track/field, is actually somewhat watchable, if you’re only watching a match or two, and like golf, it’s really interesting to the people who played the sport. It’s major problem is being as interesting as a golf tournament, but it’s set up to be like March Madness. Don’t get me wrong, March Madness is probably my 2nd favorite time of the year (behind bowl “week”), but guess what, it only happens ONCE A YEAR. Can you imagine if they played it in March, May, July, and August? SNORE.
Tennis fans also strike me as kind of odd. Has anybody else seen the DirecTV commercial for the “Wimbledon Mix”, where you can watch 8 games at once (like on Sunday Ticket or during March Madness)?
Ever notice what the guy watching it is wearing? As it so happens, I just saw it on TV. He’s wearing a sweater vest. Seriously? Who are you impressing, Jim Tressel? I always go back to the old SNL skit (1995 – back when SNL used to be good) of “Scottish Soccer Hooligan Weekly” featuring David Hyde Pierce as a “Tennis Hooligan.” I tried obscenely hard to find a clip of that, but no avail. Sorry. Stupid NBC.
Tennis does have a saving grace, they’re willing to embrace technology. The best example is the very cool but unfortunately-named “Hawk-eye” which is “…a computer system used in cricket, tennis and other sports to visually track the path of the ball and display a record of its most statistically likely path as a moving image.” That sound you heard while reading that sentence was me having a nerd-gasm. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a video with some good video of it in action:
I have one simple question. WHY THE FUCK CAN’T WE GET THIS IN FOOTBALL? We don’t even need to have it cover the entire field, just say, from the 10-yard line through the back of the end-zone.
While I may come off as some drunk asshat making fun of these sports (all of which is true, by the way), I do have some semblance of journalistic integrity. I did take the time to watch some French Open and Wimbledon in doing “research” for this post (and believe me, I had to be pretty hammered after a while to take more than an hour or so). Watching the Nedal-Söderling final, I noticed something at the end. After some research, I’ve come up with the following theory:
The sport of tennis constipates anyone who dares to play it
I’m not sure what it is, but go listen to a Wimbledon match. Every time someone strikes the ball, they make a sound like they’re trying to push out a turd the size of a wheel of cheese. Maybe there’s a prerequisite stick-up-the-ass that comes with playing tennis, but I’m going to go with constipation because it’s funnier. It’s gotten so bad (staring lustily at you, Sharapova) that officials have discussed banning grunting or yelling while striking the ball if it is detrimental to the opponent.
What really cemented this “Theory of Tennis Constipation” was the expression on Nadal’s face when he won. It looked like he was trying to push out a turd the size of a wheel of cheese. I did some Google searching and discovered that, holy shit, this is a pretty common expression. Is it tradition? Someone more familiar with tennis, please explain it to me. Does every champion get the silver cup and a whole bottle of Ex-Lax, or is there an unwritten contest to see who can make the best “O” face?
That said, tennis does have one more MAJOR redeeming quality. Hot women. Without stealing too much thunder from a forthcoming article on the Women of Wimbledon, female tennis players have several qualities that make them hot as hell.
- They’re all in shape
You ever see a big, burly woman lumbering around on TV during a tennis match? Hell no, you haven’t. Go Google “hot female tennis players” (AFTER reading the rest of the article)
- Arm and wrist strength
These women swing rackets around for a living. Their arms have to be awesomely strong. What does that mean? It means they’re in the title match with “Masseuse” as the occupation that trains women to give the best handie. Giggity.
- They wear short skirts and are good at handling balls
This should be self-explanatory.
- They’re probably screamers
Goes back to the constipation/”O” face theory from earlier. Sharapova shreiks at around 100 decibels when she serves. Turn on a Ladies’ Singles match and close your eyes for a minute or two. Am I the only one who kind of expects to open his eyes and be watching porn? Actually, that sounds like a good idea for a radio station giveaway…
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go Google “hot female tennis players”
Next week – Soccer