Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Open Season

Friday morning, the kids got on the bus, I turned to my neighbor and said, "Take the Terps and the points. Maryland beat Cal last year, and even though it's on the road, there's no way they'll lose by three touchdowns." Final score: Cal 52, Maryland 13. This is why I don't bet on sports.

Saturday, we went to the State Fair. One of our usual stops is the horse racing. It's a chance to sit down and relax, and the Doc never misses a chance to see horses in just about any environment. We watched three or four races, collected exactly $4.20 in winnings and one of the horses we picked broke down in the stretch and had to be helped into an ambulance.

With that kind of progression, I could probably open a daytrading account and bring the entire United States economy to the brink of bankruptcy in an hour or two. Whoops, too late!

So, I'm back on the blog, at least for now. And, what a coincidence, Mr. Tony is back on the air today as well. I'll be posting two or three days a week, about whatever seems to be crossing my mind.

Like the U.S. Open, for instance. Professional tennis was a major televised event in our house growing up. Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, these were well known names and faces, and I could probably rattle off another dozen or two without much thought. Of course, these days, I couldn't go more than five deep in men's or women's (Federer, Nadal, Roddick, Murray, uhh, the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, there's a Djokovic and a Jankovic (one's a guy and one's a girl, I think). Anna Kournikova doesn't count, so I guess I'm done.

So I'm watching some of these matches and while the tennis is impressive, I can't get too excited about the endless baseline battles with no one daring to approach the net. Fortunately, John McEnroe's commentary saves the day. During a match between Ernests Gulbis and Andy Murray, the lead announcer remarked that Gulbis was currently playing without a coach and had been known to play matches without warming up. "That's insane," was McEnroe's reply, and he went on to excoriate the lack of intelligence and professionalism that kind of thinking engendered. He went on to speculate that there were a few good coaches in New York Gulbis might want to contact while he was in town.

On the other hand, he clearly praised Gulbis when he made good plays. This is the kind of analysis you rarely hear on televised sports. Candid, direct and thoughtful. No cheerleading, no hysterical catch phrases, and yet still entertaining. McEnroe won't make you watch tennis if you're not already a fan. But he'll make me check in on a random match to see if he's calling it, and I'm likely to stay longer if he is. Because you never know when you'll see a clip like the following:

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