Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tennis. A game for those who like grass.

So in true Wimbledon spirit, myself and the boys decided to kit up in our best sporting whites and make an effort to relive Aussie Lleyton's more famous moments of baseball cap wearing, hand talking bliss. (And in true Wimlbedon spirit, it almost didnt happen, as our court was occupied by a group of individuals pursuing a game of soccer over the net. Kind of like volleyball but not. Kind of like tennis, but not. Not really sport then, more just a waste of time.)

I have watched at least one game of tennis on the TV so I feel more than qualified to discuss its finer points and establish a few ground rules. Firstly, the size (or indeed the cost) of ones racquet is not necessarily reflective of the tennis ability inherent in the wielder. Truth be told, the aforementioned group of soccer-tennis people were much more succesful in getting their ball of choice over the net. Sure, the ball was bigger, but are you picking up the theme here? Bigger does not mean better. Size does not matter! Anyone who is telling you otherwise can be safely relegated to the domain of table tennis.

Table Tennis! Now there is a sport that ninja's play. All shadowy movements and hooded competitors dueling to the death. Blink, and your wondering how the score went from 10 love to 12 - 7 when you swear the players didnt move. But this is no game. We're talking projectile launchers swinging faster than the rotary blades on your lawn mower; projectiles themselves that look all cute, cuddly and white (read: white = purity) up close, but end up weighing like a brick, hurtling toward you at a speed that would make an exorcet missile blush. Yes folks, the humble game of table tennis is second only to ice hockey for sheer brutality in sports. Where they have blokes, blades and beer (oh, and apparently ice is important), table tennis has NINJAS! NINJAS PEOPLE! Dont believe me? I can recommend video of the World Championships of 2003 - And if you want to see something that will make you incontinent with delusions of sporting grandeur, try watching the doubles match. It will make your eyes water.

But, back to tennis. I think the other factor that many of you would be able to relate to is that of spectating. More than any other sport (except perhaps golf but really, Virtual Garden Walks On The World Wide Web has rendered such a past time sensibly redundent), when the major tournaments roll around, EVERYONE feels like a qualified coach/trainer/ref/anecdotal evidence collector. The first seed is down match point and you know that within seconds, the person with the stubbie in his hand next to you is going to loosen his vocal chords with some ludicrous statement, for example:

"You know what his problem is? His serve. That's his problem."
"He's just not covering enough of the ground."

First off. The only thing you know about serving is when that bottle of beer was spilt on you at the bar last Australia Day. Secondly, this isnt a contest about laying carpet, and you can be damn sure he/she/they are more athletic than you and me and our remote button push fest. Yes I admit it, I have been one of these couch hooligans too. But I have seen the light! After pacing around a poured concete court in fading light with no possible prospects of ever winning anything resembling expensive glassware, I see now that it is wrong for us to criticise these poor elite athletes. Whacking a ball with an overhyped snow show across an emaculately groomed surface is difficult. If anything, they are taking one for the team by embracing their calling to an obviously so painful and torturous game in the bid to entertain us! Oh let us build a homage, with candles and incense, to the wonders that is professional sport!

Posted by Dave The Hat :: 1:29 AM :: 0 Comments:

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