25 January 2008

Wouldn't That Be Nice

About a year-and-a-half ago, I started to get into tennis. My friend Emily taught me how to play, but I also learn a lot from David Foster Wallace. His essay "Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness" (from A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again) is one of my favorites (I also like "Federer as Religious Experience" from the Times' Play Magazine). Part of what's cool about it is his commitment to showing you what the networks won't; he talks, for instance, about the psychological implications of the players warming each other up before the match, and his overall thesis is pretty well summed up by his observation that

The realities of the men's professional tennis tour bear about as much resemblance to the lush finals you see on TV as a slaughterhouse does to a well-presented cut of restaurant sirloin.

You know what you should at least be able to see on TV? Those lush finals! Neither the men's nor the women's Australian Open final is on broadcast TV, so I'm now forced to choose between going to the bar next door and begging them to switch one of the TVs off the Badger men's hockey game and onto ESPN2 or heading back to my office to watch it over the internet (Charter Internet doesn't carry the ESPN360 online channel, but the university's ISP does). Since it's a Friday night, I'm gonna go with the former.

I get that most Americans don't care much about tennis (especially when there aren't any Americans in the finals), and I know Australia's especially challenging when it comes to carrying live events, and I know that in today's information climate watching tape-delayed sports is borderline pointless...But for crying out loud, this is a Grand Slam!

Sorry for the rant. I'm just really sad that nobody much cares about my second-favorite sport. At least my favorite's only a few months away.

No comments: