Watching Sports on TV



In a recent team-building exercise at work we were asked to list three things our colleagues didn’t know about us,Murray with one of the facts being bogus to make a game of it. I noted I watch golf on the weekends. This is true, while my claim to have read the Dragon Tattoo novels is not. No-one guessed.

Writers, however eccentric, are generally not expected to watch television, sports included, and certainly not posh sports such as golf and tennis. Writers, especially male writers may be fans, and repositories of esoteric records, for a limited number of appropriately macho sports including hockey (in Canada), football (Gridiron, Australian Rules, soccer), basketball, baseball (see Don DeLillo’s description in  Underworld in the early pages) boxing and bullfighting (Norman Mailer) and Formula 1 car racing. 

I’m watching the Wimbledon Murray/Djokovich Wimbledon match, keen on a Murray victory like most watchers in the Commonwealth. I like watching the Grand Slam tennis events, especially from the round of 16 to the finals. I hit a few tennis balls in university, but am completely hopeless, lacking the co-ordination and visual spatial awareness required in tennis and most other sports. So I watch.

While not as exclusive as equestrian sports, whether dressage or polo, tennis and golf are dominated by white folks.  Golf and tennis clubs were some of the last bastions of racial discrimination in sport. Arthur Ashe did break the tennis colour barrier (with a Wimbledon championship in his many wins) and the Williams sisters inspire a generation of black girls to consider tennis as a serious sport option, especially since sports like women’s basketball do not have the glamour or payout as being in the tennis top ten. Tiger Woods, likewise for golf.  Tennis does have the advantage of requiring very little equipment to stand in the way of participation, but lessons to reach the professional level are more expensive as they are borne by the players, whereas many team sports come with coaches,  with soccer and basketball also not needing much either besides the ball to play the game.

Neither am I rabid fan, and happy to join Lynn for my first swim since my surgery. I swim, flutter kick only,  but  happy for my first time out to stay in the shallow end and do my water exercises and walk without sticks or risk damage should I fall.

 We return from the swimming pool in time to see Andy Murray kiss the Wimbledon Cup Trophy before an adoring crowd, since no British subject has won the Wimbledon title in 77 years. Murray is from Scotland, but that’s fine with the English, with their ‘Come on, Andy!’ signs and folded paper hats.

                 Having completed my Meditation Based Stress Reduction, with Alice, flicking the tv to on,  I’m back in London with Carl Froch (England) vs Mikkell Kessler (Denmark), in a world championship 168 pound weight-class fight. I’ve watched boxing since the 1960s, sometimes with my Dad including the Sonny Liston loss to Cassius Clay, and the George Chuvalo 15 round loss to Muhammed Ali. I never asked my dad why with his commitment to pacifism he would watch boxing. Man, listen to the crowd belt out God Save the Queen!

                 Lynn joins me, and we switch to Netflix and watch another episode of Foyle’s War.  She’s gone now to get ingredients for Thai bbq prawns. Note: Australians do NOT say “throw a few shrimp on the barbie).”  Yes, they grill seafood, including at Christmas, which is during their summer, but use prawns not shrimp, in the mixed grill.

          Vettel 2   I do watch CFL football, but it’s pouring rain at Ivor Wynne. I don’t have strong feelings about Edmonton or  Hamilton so I switch to F1, which is a better fit with the glass of white wine I’ve just poured, seeing I’m “off the whiskey,” and beer is a demon for adding to my already high uric acid levels. The race is at the famous Nurburgring, the German Grand Prix, where Michael Schumacher set the lap record at 1:29 and change in 2004 – the course is over 5 kilometers long. And today it’s another German’s turn, Sebastian. Vettel, his first Grand Prix win on his native soil. I’ve been away from F1 too long.  This driver is the latest greatest youngest champion, now driving Lotus.

                 It’s hard not, except for the swim, to think the day is a waste.   As if the stunning match between Del Porto and Djokovick on Friday merited watching and worth over four hours of my time because it was as they say “a match for ages.” Today’s matches not so much, though the F1 coming down to tire choices, tire wear, and pit stops in the last ten laps was the best of the day.  And it was the Nurburgring, one of the most famous racetracks in the world –  as significant as the original six in hockey. This  I guess, is resting, and like this post indicative of how boring, resting usually is.



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