Procrastination (But I Digress)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not a Good Sportsman

I don't know that I am cut out to be a "go to the match" tennis fan. When people sit in the hot full sun all day long, they stink (I stunk anyway). The guy who sat next to me the last three days of the finals (when the stadium was pretty crowded) wore a ton of aftershave that made me want to gag. The street noise was awful--trucks backing up, ambulances and then the worst was the US Open tour bus idoling at the top of the stadium during a match making a lot of noise. You'd think that the driver of the US Open tennis bus would be somewhat congnizant of the noice factor, but noooooo.

Yes it was great fun to cheer in person and it was really cool to see the Bryan brothers--they don't play too many doubles matches on tv. But I also had to watch Nalbandian lose and then Gonzo (no one in the stands even called him Gonzo--philistines) lose, and Safin lose to nobody--I don't even remember the guy's name. And then Blake lose. And not to nobody, to a really annoying jerk nobody. I refused to clap when he got his trophy. The internal critizism went through my head, now Kathy, that's not very sportsmanlike--he did win fair and square (if you count taking too long between every point--tying his shoes about six million times to make Blake wait--changing his racket over and over--pouting each time a call didn't go his way--calling out the trainer to try to get sympathy, winning fair and square). I finally forced myself to clap, but my heart wasn't in it. I was bitterly disappointed that Blake lost and I've never even liked Blake all that much--he's too eratic a player for my taste. His first serve percentage for the entire tournament was awful, although that was because he was going for the aces--high risk tennis is his game. He did his share of pouting and I think Stepanek's drop shot may have made him cry. It made me want to cry. The ball would be going back and forth so fast and hard and then all of a sudden, it would glide and drop just over the net, like magic. No one could hit that shot. Blake did start hitting it after three of them, but each time there wasn't enough time to recover. He did get one back for a point--it was masterful and I thought I'd never be that happy again in my life. Then he lost the match.

The Bryan brothers however may make me sign up for tickets again next year. They are twins, but Mike is right handed and Bob is left handed. Bob is the stronger server (he had a 138 mph serve which was faster than the fastest Blake serve that I saw of 135). If I had to guess, I'd say that Bob is the older twin also, because he had a habit of asking the ball kid for a ball when it was Mike's serve and then handing Mike a ball. Mike always through the ball Bob handed him back, but he waited until Bob turned around. They had a habit of walking out on the court in matching strides and then turning together--they were so cool. They were also funny and gracious. The other doubles games that I saw were ok (Nalbandian and Gonzo played one doubles match), but the Bryans were a whole different league. This tournament played the doubles with a No-Ad (which I thought, what no Mass Mutual cute tennis comercials?). It means that when it gets to duce, the next point wins--you don't have to win by two points. There were only two sets and it that ended in a tie, they would play a tie breaker. The Bryans never went to a tie breaker (although the teams they played were not slouches--most held serve until near the end, but the Bryans never let a team get a love game off of them).

All in all, if I have to clap for Stepanek in order to see the Bryans--I guess I can stand it. (But I'd rather stand and boo Stepanek for the entire time in the comfort of my home and cheer for the Bryans in front of the tv too. I need the tennis channel.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

This is LA

Well I've been going to tennis all day, every day for four days now. Ok, I took Wednesday during the day off to go to work and catch up and I skipped the late afternoon matches yesterday to sit in my car (away from the sun) and read my book. But otherwise, I've been a real trooper--out in the full sun during the day and the bitter cold late at night.

This event is a little shy of big names. I've watched a lot of tennis on television and followed the draws for a year or so of the slams, but I've only known a handful of the players. James Blake is the big star here. I've seen him play twice and he lives up to the hype and more. Fernando Gonzales was the highest seed of this event, but he was out in the first round. I've seen him play on tv and he was so much better in person, but the guy he played in the first round was a home town favorite and he was playing better than he'd ever played in his life (his words). Zack Fleishman. If Zack continues to play well (he's past to the quarters with flare and ease), he could probably win this thing. Yes, we are all on a first name basis (although I refuse to call James Blake "Jimbo" like some of the fans). I was on the phone outside the area where the players come out of the stadium and I turned and was face to face with Nalbandian (not as tall as he seems on tv) and then saw Safin walk in--that guy is tall. Serena was here as a spectator for one set of the first James Blake game, but so far I've only seen a handful of stars. I have, however seen about six hundred Paris Hilton look alikes. All the rich girls here look just like Paris Hilton--it is spooky. All the rich boys look very nice too. It's kind of surreal to be so surrounded by rich, beautiful, young people, but I'm doing my best.

When I ordered the tickets, they tried to talk me into getting a double, but I didn't know anyone else into tennis as much as me. Well I have a friend in ABWA who is a big tennis fan, but she moved out of state. She was at the event for the first three days, magically sitting in the same row as I did. She said that she and her husband come out every year just for this event. I told her that she used up all my serendipity for the year. It was very nice to sit with her--she knew the tennis association people and had seen many of the lesser known players before, so I got all the inside scoop.

Last night, a couple sat in the wrong seats next to me and didn't know anything about tennis, so I was able to regale them with my newfound knowledge. That was very cool. Maybe I'm just a seredipity magnet.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Reading

For months I have had nothing to read. I toyed with the idea of going to the library, but often the library is just like going shopping for clothes--they never have anything I want. I check out the books at every grocery store I go to (talk about convenient), but for months--nothing. I have a book store very close to work and I've been there a few times with absolutely no success. There's a Barnes and Noble and the last three times I've been there, maybe I get a cross stitch magazine, but a good book, not in a long time. I'm thinking about taking a trip, but I can't plan anything, because I have nothing to read.

Now I realize that my concept of something to read is exceedingly narrow and that there are millions of books to read and that I would probably really love a large subsection of the millions out there, but, well, I've had nothing to read for months.

A couple of days ago, I found a Kingsolver that I hadn't read--I love her books. I can't believe my luck at finding one that I haven't read (at all, much less three times). I've picked it up twice and pretty soon I'm falling asleep. It's not that it isn't good, but my eyes get droopy just thinking about picking it up again. I forgot to bring it to work today--a very bad sign.

Yesterday I went into the book store again and they had absolutely nothing, so I was actually going to buy Pride and Prejudice again, even though I have like five copies already--just to have something to read! Then I found Jane Green. The stories sound familiar, but I really don't remember reading them. She had about seven books. At first I just picked them all up, but I'm very picky, so I decided to just start with three and come back for more if I like them. Then I found a brand new Nora Roberts--how did I not know that Nora had a new book out! Then there was a new Danielle Steele, trite, but better than nothing. Jennifer Cruise wrote a book with some guy--oh well, I have nothing to read, I'll take it. So now that's six plus the Kingsolver--I have lots to read. But I forgot to bring a book to work. If only there was a library in walking distance so that I could go take out Pride and Prejudice--wait a minute, there is a library in walking distance. But will Pride and Prejudice put me to sleep--it doesn't get really good until near the end (well maybe the middle, but once it gets really good I can't put it down and that's near the end in my case.)

I have nothing to read.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tennis Anyone

Well I was very disappointed at how little tennis we got to see from the French Open, but Wimbleton has much better television coverage (if not for all the rain delays)--sometimes I got to see the same matches over and over, but they were still good. So being in a tennis frame of mind, I went on line to see if the US Open series was going to be in LA--it is and now I am the owner of tickets to all of the matches for the Men's at UCLA and Women's at Cal State Dominges Hills. I have appointments and court dates some of the days, but I figure I'll go to everything I can make. I got my tickets in the middle of the court so that I could see both sides. As I was giving my credit card info, the lady said something about ping pong head, but I let it pass. Then I watched to see how the matches are televised--they show it all from end to end--not from the middle. My neck is going to be sore, but I think that I'll still love it.

They tried to sell me "club" membership at the Women's series--I would get invited to a vip party and get to go to the club house box during the matches for an additional $150. I don't know if I want to actually meet the tennis players at a party and have to have something intelligent to say to them and I didn't think it was worth $150 to get into the club house box to buy water, when I could go to the tennis village for the same thing. Then the lady said something about people liking to get out of the sun and sit in the box between matches. I may regret not investing that additional $150. However, I am willing to bet that some enterprising person is going to try to sell me a big goofy hat to keep the sun off and then I'll have a big goofy souvenier after the tennis is over.

Venus and Nadal all the way!