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alistair
Posted on Friday, June 24, 2005 - 01:58 am:   

Tennis. What's it all about? Does any one out there actually care?

And what about these tennis players roaring like bulls after every point? I don't know whether to laugh or cry with this one. There's a new wonder kid on the block and the most wondrous thing about it is he's Scottish. This is nothing short of a miracle. Barely anyone plays tennis in Scotland. There are no indoor courts and outdoor--well, the ball's so wet it's like playing with a severed head or something.

But I hate it when they start roaring like beasts all over the place. It's bad enough in soccer, the excessive celebrations after a goal, but that's soccer. But with tennis it's incredibly off putting. Well, this wonder kid is an immense roar-a-minute-roarer, and I wish he wouldn't do that.

Every photo you see of him, his mouth is as wide as a castle door and he's giving it everything with the major bellow. Like this one:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/4124764.stm

Or the contorted squeal of angst:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/4125274.stm

Why? They score points every thirty seconds, which means you have to suffer a roar or a bellow at an uncommon rate of irritation. At least in soccer it only happens about once every 4 or 5 hours.

Still, I hope he wins.
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Tamar
Posted on Friday, June 24, 2005 - 05:03 am:   

That's very funny, Alistair.

Never mind the roaring and bellowing. I remember the year they invented the Early Grunt. Confused opponents kept on trying to hit the grunt instead of the ball.
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al duncan
Posted on Friday, June 24, 2005 - 05:23 am:   

It's the European Poker Tournament, I'm watching. Now that's what I call a sport.
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neilw
Posted on Friday, June 24, 2005 - 06:44 am:   

C'mon Alistair, man. Lighten up dude. I love the tennis, me. And personally I enjoy seeing a player expressing their emotions as the game progresses. It makes the watching experience more immersive. Remember how much fun it was watching Connors and McEnroe, and how dull Borg was?

Murray? He's great! Not only does he play well, but he's a mouthy teenager who understands that you don't turn off your i-pod til the song's done - ever - even if your opponent and the whole of No1 court is waiting for you.

I recently rationalised *why* I love watching sport - I'm a narrative junkie, and sporting competitions are great narrative events. You've got to get in at the start and devote your time to it all mind, doesn't work if you just dip into it. But sit yerself down at the start of Wimbledon and follow the story of it - it's brilliant.

Tamar - "I remember the year they invented the Early Grunt." That's sentence I never thought I'd hear from you! There you are.

Al - did you see Devilfish the other night. Total quality.

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Alistair
Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 03:16 am:   

Indeed, Tamar, the Early Grunt. Do they still do that or has it been replaced by the technique of belittling your opponent to a pulp with victorious roars and bellows?

Al - I wouldn't be much use at watching the European Poker Tournament, given that I haven't the first idea how to play it. If there was a European Snap Tournament, however... But, the question is, are the players allowed to smoke and drink during matches, like they used to do in darts? And can they dress up as cowboys, which I'm sure has happened in darts as well? Darts. Now there was a real sport if ever there was.

I suppose you're right, NeilW, it is a lot more fun having a mouthy teenager rather than those ice cool silent half-man, half-machine types. But sometimes I yearn for the days of the nobility of restraint, when footballers for example would merely nod by way of acknowledging a world cup winner, or perhaps allow their emotions to momentarily overspill into the acceptance of the proffered handshake of a fellow squad member... (sigh)...

But I see Murray got knocked out, unfortunately, and it was all the fault of... Sean Connery! What was he doing there? As if the poor guy wasn't nervous enough as it was!

Totally agree with you about the narrative of sport, NeilW. Formula 1 is a good example. During races there's very little happens and the races are often won and lost before they even start. But when you follow the whole narrative of it, it becomes quite absorbing. The recent tyre fiasco says it all.
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neilw
Posted on Friday, July 01, 2005 - 01:04 am:   

Alistair - the days of the gentleman sportsman are long-since gone I'm afraid. Even in golf and cricket. If coaches see any glimpse of sportsmanship in a young protege these days they stamp it out immediately. Winning is simply too important.
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AT
Posted on Saturday, July 02, 2005 - 02:44 am:   

Neil, many would agree with you. And it is in the core of this agreement that I beg to disagree. Jason Cowley recently wrote in The New Statesman "... an ethic indeed an aesthetic of fair play that is still prevalent in golf has long since been lost from the modern game of cricket. ("Sport:Winning fairly is a noble ideal one sadly lacking in cricket nowadays",13 June, 2005)

But aesthetics change constantly, and sportsmanship is as much a matter of style as bellbottoms, sideburns, meet-me-with-your-seconds-at-dawn, fist-pumping, aw-shucking, and anyone at all thinking that someone who looks like Donald Trump could be an aspirational and not a comic model, or who acts like the fist pumping and chest thumping phone-throwing Russell Crowe is anything but a boor. As to the winning just for the sake of it, the reason people watch sport is (I assume, but please correct me if I'm wrong) for the thrilling drama of the ups, downs, and unexpecteds. Where the winner is a foregone conclusion or the match is played safely to win with no chances taken, there is no drama, which is why this Tour de France is widely called the Tour de Bore.

The grunts will be looked upon in the future, I'm sure, as appropriate and modern as farting in tune at feasts, a talent that was quite a crowd-pleaser for minstrels at one time.

Already,
"Yet there are still plenty of gory scenes, including gruesome torture in a dank gladiator prison, where inmates' screams and groans sound almost as blood-curdling as the match set of a women's tennis final at Wimbledon." - Alessandra Stanley, TV Review: Empire - "The Rome of Caesar, Beautiful and Buff" NY Times, June 28, 2005
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/arts/television/28stan.html?8br

But maybe I should have said what I meant in just a few words: Boors will be bores.

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Alistair
Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - 03:31 am:   

A brief interlude in the debate with the latest facial gymnastics of Murray. It appears he has some kind of blockage, though I'm not sure if it's an emotional or physical one. Hard to tell:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/4646201.stm

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