Recent Comments by jason streed

Knockout prose

I've cited these here before, I think . . . I agree with their offering of The Fight, by Norman Mailer. Ali-Foreman. Read it even if you hate, or think you hate, Mailer. Great quotations everywhere, eg at a press conference, Kinchasa: Sportswriter: "Do you think you'll knock out Ali?" Foreman: "I'd like to." Levels of the Game, by John McPhee. Point-by-point story of late sixties tennis match between Arthur Ashe and a white guy. A Sense of Where You Are, also by McPhee. Bill Bradley's amazing senior season at Princeton. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, by David Foster Wallace. The tennis essays are terrific and humbling. I know I'm forgetting good ones. Does stuff like Into Thin Air count?

posted by jason streed at 08:49 PM on January 12

Artest asks for time off to promote rap album

That's fine, rcade. Weedy's remark reminded me of the story, and celebrating Lombardi's mean streak wasn't really the point of the "wow." Just amazement that the system works so differently now. Even if the story isn't true, Lombardi probably would have been glad to know it was making the rounds--keep 'em scared to hazard the smallest demand.

posted by jason streed at 04:09 PM on November 11

Artest asks for time off to promote rap album

Trade him! Now! Package his ass off to Utah or Memphis and see how well his album does. Goddamn. There's an old, possibly apocryphal story about a player that asked Vince Lombardi for a raise, whereupon Vince rose from his chair, left the room, a returned in about a minute with the news that he wasn't able to negotiate with him anymore, as he was now the property of the Philidelphia Eagles. I may have some details mixed up, but a coach who could generate cautionary anecdotes like that . . . wow.

posted by jason streed at 12:20 PM on November 11

And in other news, Ron Zook still sucks

wfrazerjr, the thinking around here is that he will stay at least through his son's career at Iowa. That takes us through next year :-( He was paid more than $1.8 million last year, but as Spre said, he has a family to feed, so who knows? Re: Purdue--they damn near came back! The Hawks pulled it out though. One of the announcers said Ferentz is something like 35 and 2 when leading at halftime, which is pretty impressive.

posted by jason streed at 07:18 PM on November 07

And in other news, Ron Zook still sucks

As a UIowa Hawkeye fan, I'm sorry to say that Kirk Ferentz's name always comes up these days for spots like this--esp. Penn State. The Hawks schooled the Gators last year in one of the most enjoyable football games I've seen in a long time, so his name is familiar there. I hope he doesn't get tempted by the Dark Side.

posted by jason streed at 11:58 AM on November 05

Want to play a little soccer?

25. It helps to click on the upper half of the ball.

posted by jason streed at 04:55 PM on October 08

Big Kahuna (Windows Media).

Pretty good. It looks like a lot of the tow-ins in movies like Step Into Liquid, esp. the stuff shot at the Cortes banks about 100 miles off San Diego. Except he stays near the peak longer. The comments below the video are fun, btw.

posted by jason streed at 01:12 PM on September 20

Boxing and the Cool Halls of Academe

It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up. ~Muhammad Ali When you can whip any man in the world, you never know peace. ~Muhammad Ali Philosopher kings, at that, ay?

posted by jason streed at 07:54 PM on September 10

"I feel robbed."

From Jon Wertheim's tennis column: The other thing no one is talking about is there was another player on the court who knew what the score was. No one has even considered the fact that Capriati might have conceded the point or helped with the confusion. I asked Serena about it last night, and she was very charitable. She said it was not Capriati's job to get the score right.

posted by jason streed at 09:02 AM on September 09

"I feel robbed."

Though I don't buy that the audience would have reacted a whole lot differently had it been Capriati that got slighted instead. That's fine--I wasn't trying to sell it. I meant that Capriati might have brought the drama, not the crowd. She's more of a hothead than Serena, that's all.

posted by jason streed at 02:31 PM on September 08

"I feel robbed."

How about the on-court interview with Capriati right after the match? On the one hand, I admire the interviewer for asking the question on everyone's mind. On the other, it came out just stupid, with both of them playing to the crowd. Having that conversation while 20k New Yorkers listened in was probably a bad idea. I can't help thinking that if the situation were reversed, with Capriati getting the run of bad calls, there would have been a little more drama on the court.

posted by jason streed at 08:42 AM on September 08

"This guy's unbelievable. He's never going to umpire me again."

I'm all for passion, personality, etc.--tennis, more than some other sports, seems to thrive on that, and miss it when it's in short supply. (SI's Joh Wertheim wrote a fine piece on this point here.) But the linked report makes Massu sound like an oaf. At least he fought through the end of the match, though. Some of my favorite players are guys whose sideshow personalities sometimes distracted everyone, including themselves, from the work to be done on the court. Marcelo Rios, Marat Safin, and Goran Ivanisevic come to mind--Safin in particular, with Rios (an unworldly talent) a close second mitigated by injuries. Did anyone see the Federer-Baghdatis match the other night? Two things were remarkable. 1) Baghdatis's big smiles--it was fun to watch a player who looked like he was having fun. 2) Baghdatis plays out of his head for a set--unbelievable tennis, really--and beats Federer in a tiebreaker, but can't stay on that level and gets crushed the rest of the way. That shows what kind of game someone has to bring to top Federer. No less than John McEnroe said Federer's the most talented player he's ever seen.

posted by jason streed at 03:32 PM on September 03

Okay, we did the fittest, but what sport has the biggest party animals?

Rugby. Neuron bruising of the first order. Also the sport in which the parties bear the greatest likeness to the action on the field.

posted by jason streed at 12:57 PM on August 27

Aegean Seaside:Inge de Bruijn's Birthday party

3/3.

posted by jason streed at 08:35 AM on August 27

The Price of Seeing the Top 25 College Teams

I wonder what my dad will be willing to pay to keep his cherished (UIowa) Kinnick Stadium seats--three of 'em, about 20 rows up, 48 yard line, hometeam side. He's had them since about 1975, I think.

posted by jason streed at 12:29 PM on August 26

They said they'd throw me off the boat

Many things are forgivable. Quitting on your team in the finals of the Olympics would not be one of them . . . Personally, I save terms like "unforgivable" for really deliberate acts that have really dire consequences. They were taken out of a race, and with it the years and pain invested by the other rowers. I am not unsympathetic; their anger is totally understandable. I know this is the Olympics, not some club race on Lake Podunk. Her crew was banking on her effort, literally I'm sure, and she blew it for them. If I were her teammate,I'd be tempted to do hurtful things to her, even if we were in last place at the time. And I don't think I'd forgive her right away, either. So maybe if it turns out this is a ruse to cover throwing the race for money, that might be close to unforgivable. But it's not like drowned the coxswain, right? I'm not trying to be a troll here, just noting that reasonable people differ when big dichotomies like forgivable/unforgivable are at stake. "Unforgivable" within the realm of sport I'll grant; within the realm of reliabley fallible, flawed humans--no. What she could do to atone for this is hard to imagine, though. On preview: good points, grum, about the "tell the truth" remarks, and rcade, about lifting her oar. Interesting to note the differences between this and Paula Radcliffe hitting the wall in the marathon.

posted by jason streed at 09:08 PM on August 23

Puerto Rico 92, U.S. 73

Following catfish, I'm gonna jump on the (sort of lonely) "US will win it" bandwagon. I wasn't going to be surprised at a loss, even a weird, bad one, and I'm not. But I will be surprised if they don't win the gold. Perhaps it's the rest of the world's turn to get a little too smug? I could be just out'n'out wrong, though. It happens all the time! I'm sure this has been discussed elsewhere, and maybe even here, but I'd like to know how, say, the Pistons would do in this field. It is strange, isn't it, that a team made up of players who'd start on any other team in the world isn't always the best team on a given night.

posted by jason streed at 09:12 PM on August 16

Who really cares about Fred McGriff's 500th homer?

What no one mentions is . . . Actually, it seems like lots of people talk about his, and quite a few of them write about it. Naturally I can't cite any off the top of my head, except maybe that thing on ESPN's Page2 about Ripkin's streak, but my first reaction was that this revelation pops into writers' heads pretty regularly. Not that the link and the writer's point aren't valid, justgary. I imagine watching old guys chase milestones can irritating for up-and-comers. "Yay, Pops. Now siddown, willya?"

posted by jason streed at 03:16 PM on August 04

Famous anus:

Some rare textads gracing this thread: Intestine Cleansing Parasites in Humans Parasite Cleansing Parasite Elimination Help

posted by jason streed at 11:06 PM on July 26

Ricky isn't running anymore.

From Page 2's Greatest Early Retirements: [Doak] Walker died in 1998 after being paralyzed in a skiing accident. Ricky Williams, two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, given to the top college running back in the country, met Walker in 1997. The two became friends, and after Walker died, Williams honored his hero by wearing Walker's number, 37, in the Texas-Oklahoma game. "Doak Walker was who I want to be," said Williams.

posted by jason streed at 11:29 AM on July 26

Victory for the aged

From Jon Wertheim's recently launched "blog": This was one of those occasions that had everyone flipping through their media guides for perspective. Navratilova was the oldest player to win a singles match since 1922. Only a handful of players in the draw were alive when Navratilova made her debut in 1973. ("It was like playing my mom," lamented Castano.) Navratilova's last singles match at Wimbledon came in 1994. Perhaps most surreal: 23-year-old Martina Hingis, who has been retired for more than a year, provided the commentary for her namesake's match. ...

posted by jason streed at 11:35 AM on June 22

'pull a Trojan' Ok, this is a pointless thought, but the Trojans didn't do any sneaking. It should be 'pull a Greek'. Or 'get Trojaned' or something. I totally agree.

posted by jason streed at 03:08 PM on June 10

Although, the idea that he would equate 'Jap' with surprise attack is indeed comedic. The 1989 OED lists this usage with several examples, the most recent from the early 70s, iirc. 'pull a Trojan' Or maybe pulling an Achaean?

posted by jason streed at 04:27 PM on June 09

Joe Pa will be back for four more

Maybe more like twice the beast, given the hierarchies of community weblogs.

posted by jason streed at 09:12 AM on May 21

Joe Pa will be back for four more

Rats. BTW, you dislike all the right teams. Also, in the "truly trivial trivia" category, I note that your usernumber is exactly half of mine.

posted by jason streed at 12:03 PM on May 20

Joe Pa will be back for four more

I'm sure the folks in Happy Valley are loving this decision. I know the folks in Iowa City, West Lafayette, Madison, and the other 2nd-tier Big Ten schools are all in favor of this bold move. One less powerhouse to contend with--one win against the Michigan-Ohio State axis of evil, a loss to one of The Other Schools, and someone's in a halfway-decent bowl. However, did I hear that Penn State's incoming class is pretty strong? I wouldn't totally count them out as a force. And I'm scared that Kirk Ferentz, with his strong Pennsylvania ties, might take a shot at this job someday.

posted by jason streed at 02:31 PM on May 18

I'm just a simple Caveman outfielder ...

New Raider and former Hawkeye Robert Gallery has a future in this field.

posted by jason streed at 08:52 AM on May 13

A rare pitch makes a comeback.

Two of many sentences that jumped out at me-- 1) "SCAD had a baseball team—a perfectly uncompetitive Division III team—whose coach, strangely, was Luis Tiant, the nineteen-seventies Red Sox star famous for his pretzel-twist pitching motion." Luis Tiant, coaching for a design school in Savannah GA! 2) "In April of 1993, the expansion Florida Marlins played their first-ever game, and Sean’s dad pulled him out of first grade to watch at a local sports bar." Dad of the Year?

posted by jason streed at 02:24 PM on May 10

So much for little mid-majors busting into the big time, I guess. Competing with that shit would get too depressing, or too embarrassing, or too expensive pretty fast. My favorite bit: I was kind of worried all Auburn had to offer was those farmer girls that talked funny. But the girls at the party weren't farmer girls at all. I thought they must have bused them in from Miami. I see a reality show in there somewhere.

posted by jason streed at 11:42 PM on January 29

At the Center of Every Play

Zoinks! Please delete.

posted by jason streed at 02:06 PM on January 23

Amatuer Night

Pretty funny: A thought flashes through my head - what happens if I put him on the canvas? Would that make me the WBU champion? It is a thought that stays in my mind for approximately a third of a second, the amount of time it takes Tak to land a punch just above my eyes. In professional terms it is no more than tickle. In Tom terms it is a hammer blow.

posted by jason streed at 01:29 PM on January 23

ESPN.com debuts Page 3

The grease-stained napkin from under a piece of cold pizza.

posted by jason streed at 03:15 PM on January 20

ESPN asks you to rank Top 25 Atletes from last 25 years.

Here's a fine article that explains the physical demands of driving. I also remember a tv program, on PBS I think, on which it was shown that drivers as a group had the best hand-eye coordination/timing of any group of athletes.

posted by jason streed at 03:17 PM on January 16

Gimme that clicker

Dogfighting (viewed unfavorably by 81.4% of respondents) Pro Wresting (55.7) Bullfighting (46.2) Pro boxing (31.3) PGA Tour (30.4) PGA Seniors (29.9) LPGA Tour (29.2) NASCAR (27.9) Major League Soccer (27.6) ATP Men's Tennis (26.5) NHL (25.4) Arena Football League (24.0) Indy Racing League (23.7) Women's College Basketball (22.2) Women's Pro Basketball (20.1) NBA (19.7) Major League Baseball (17.5)

posted by jason streed at 07:39 PM on September 29

Best Pitching Performance.

Hard to argue with the Big Train, period. A variation is the best pitching year. Check out two minutes of browsing for 1968: Luis Tiant (21-9, 1.60) Juan Marichal (26-9, 2.43) Denny McClain (31-6, 1.96) Bob Gibson (22-9, 1.12)

posted by jason streed at 03:08 PM on September 12

Former champions campaigning against racket power.

Actually, my experience is that the racquets used by pros are less powerful than those used by club players. One of the game's most powerful players ever, Pete Sampras, used a racquet that was designed in the early eighties and had a sweet spot not much bigger than the ball. I've played with that racquet, and I can tell you it's a lot harder to generate accurate, powerful strokes with a classic Pro Staff than it is with almost anything off the rack at a local pro shop. Mac's old Dunlop Max 300G was a pretty powerful racquet in its day--Steffi Graf also used it for a time--so his standards didn't extend to a unilateral show of sportsmanship back in the day. I remember an article a few years back that showed that guys like Stich could pound serves into the 120's with wooden racquets. Athletes are bigger and stronger now than ever before, including tennis players, and professionals don't need boomsticks to crush it. That said, I should admit that I learned with a wooden racquet--a Wilson Jack Kramer, actually, named after the biggest server of an earlier era--and I'm sure my strokes and game tactics benefited tremendously from the discipline needed to hit with proper form. And I do love watching the subtlety evident in older matches like the epic Borg-McEnroe contests of the late 70's and early 80's. I may play a different style today, but it is refreshing to watch.

posted by jason streed at 03:17 PM on August 26

Ufez, I agree that people who love tennis probably love to watch Sampras, but I bet most casual fans--people who tune in for Wimbledon, the US Open, and little else--find his game boring. Impressive, yes, but in the same way as watching, say, the world's largest bulldozer: awesome for a few minutes, repetitious thereafter. But since that's how I like to play, I don't mind watching it, either. Personally, I think he's the greatest ever, and his failure to win the French isn't much of a knock. FWIW, at the other end of the playing-style spectrum, some of my favorite players to watch include Marcelo Rios, Henri Leconte, and, in the fairly-oscure category, Ramesh Krishnan. And the all-time interesting player is, of course, McEnroe.

posted by jason streed at 10:09 AM on August 25

Some interesting facts

You make me weep for mankind . . ." My work here is done.

posted by jason streed at 06:28 PM on August 14

Some interesting facts

De gustibus non est disputandem, right folks? Where did this thread start to circle the drain? Where, asks Garfield, did the levity go?Marion "Man" Jones?!? HAHAHHAHAAA!! was a wrong turn. maybe. Could have been a wink-and-an-elbow-the-ribs sort of comment, I suppose, but it didn't play out that way at all. We all have a little hobby horse to ride sometimes. From what I can see, one Starfucker's favorites is making comments about female athletes' sexuality. It's probably fun to ride, for him, but watching him do it is, for me, boring at best. A little like overhearing sophomores scope girls in the cafeteria, it doesn't offer much in the way of real imagination or substance. I'm glad rcade decided to say so when he saw something he didn't like. Sportfilter doesn't have to be a personality-free zone, but I think sexism like StarFucker's makes Sportsfilter less, not more, inviting. It's not like I don't have my own ideas about which women in sport are nice to look at; it's just that I wouldn't dream of discussing it here. Maybe there's a female-athlete-fetish site somewhere that's a better place for that stuff, and maybe StarFucker hangs out there, too, and it's not enough for him. But using Sportsfilter as an outlet for something so marginally connected to sports is sort of selfish. And as I preview this, I see it will follow two pictures that confirm that the thread's not only dead, it's cremated. Oh well.

posted by jason streed at 05:15 PM on August 14

This is nuts. I actually know lots of 7th graders and lots of 16 year olds, since I work with them every day. Anyone with their eyes open knows both groups have a tendency to think they’re ready for all kinds of things they haven’t the first clue about. They might not be naive about their sex appeal, but they are shockingly ignorant about the consequences of their actions. Most of they simply aren’t equipped to make good judgments about big things like sex, and they prove it over and over again if you follow them around for any period of time. Both parties’ tendency to “give in” may be understandable and, lamentably nowadays, normal, but that’s not a reason accept it and get on with our other business, is it? On another note, who here supports the Mets for saying, in effect, “Wait a second. Let’s get this thing cleared up before we spend money on you. `Cause we’re pretty sure we don’t want this mess in our house”? If the Kobe situation isn’t in the background, does this situation play out any differently?

posted by jason streed at 04:41 PM on August 06

Okay, NoMich, if you like numbers . . . 29 NCAA Division I wrestling titles won by Iowa-based schools, all but two since 1965. (Including 9 straight by U of Iowa.) 159 consecutive wins by Iowa State wrestler Cael Sanderson.

posted by jason streed at 10:20 PM on July 12

Little ol' IOWA came through with Nile Kinnick, Bob Feller, Roger Craig, and Dan Gable. Not bad!

posted by jason streed at 01:47 PM on July 11

Lamest sports-ads ever.

The worst: Reeboks Let U B U.

posted by jason streed at 01:37 PM on July 11

My first reaction was that I wished more interviews were that fun to read. Beats the heck the out of the same ol' stuff we're normally given, in a way. My second reaction was that while Everett certainly seems like a dickhead, the interviewer sure asked some worthless questions. I don't blame Everett for taking the boxing question in the direction he did. (If the reporter had any real backbone, though, he would have asked whether Everett can really box, or would he embarrass himself with the same pansy-fight stylings of all the other ballplayers.)

posted by jason streed at 01:32 PM on July 10

Kobe Bryant Arrested For Sexual Assault

Fun fact about the ESPN article: of its 412 words, 120 were spent rehashing Bryant's career stats and highlights. Context or padding? Brace yourself for a good run of hamhanded, dreary tv/op-ed pieces about athletes as role models, the assumed privilege of celebrities, etc. . . .

posted by jason streed at 09:40 PM on July 06

7/10. Missed numbers 2, 3, and 9. (I was hoping the origin of the tennis term "love" would be on there, but no such luck.)

posted by jason streed at 01:18 PM on July 03

Move ova, Kournikova. Hello, Sharapova!

Garfield, your comments here add some depth to our earlier conversation about Sharapova . . . And since you like definitions so much, I wonder what you mean by "progressive thinker."

posted by jason streed at 01:49 PM on July 01

Tears of strife.

I'm with you, Vito90. I've always found her conduct exemplary--in her postmatch comments and in other interviews, I've enjoyed her lack of affect and her sense of humor. Tennis has just as many jerks as any other sport--maybe more--but Serena doesn't come off as one of them. And neither does her sister. Now Rusedski--HE'S a jerk.

posted by jason streed at 10:55 AM on June 27

Declare Williams'Contract Null and Void

I hope that somewhere, a thread in an insurance or contract law community weblog has deteriorated into a discussion about basketball . . .

posted by jason streed at 08:19 PM on June 26

Declare Williams'Contract Null and Void

If these clauses are such a lovely idea, I wonder why more businesses don't use them. Hiring and training new employees is always a big expense, and compensating those who get injured during non-work activities cannot appeal to any employer, right? So why not curtail by force of contract how other kinds of workers spend their recreation time? For all I know, teachers, doctors, garbage collectors, engineers, and who knows what-all actually do have such clauses. I don't, though (guess I'm not worth that much!), and I don't hear about them much if that's the case with anyone else.

posted by jason streed at 09:19 AM on June 26

Declare Williams'Contract Null and Void

For my part, yes, I agree with your statement, Bryant. But I can see why the Bulls think it's totally reasonable. They want to do everything possible to protect an investment--that is, something they spent money on to help them grow their business. Which doesn't mean it makes business sense to enforce it right down to the last letter of the contract. Why? For every pitiless guy who says, "Yeah, man! Cut him loose! It was all his fault," etc., there will be ten at least who'll think them (the owners) total assholes if they do so. (Including me.) I know lots of people already think they are, but do the Bulls really want to reinforce that perception? That has to enter their calculations here. If they pull through for Williams, they will benefit, too. Anyway, in my experience, half the motive behind hardliners' stance always seems to be their own image.

posted by jason streed at 09:53 PM on June 25

Say it ain't so!

Okay, okay. Lines of text don’t jump out of the rulebook and stomp onto the court, hands on hips, to assert their relevance. Players can make claims or take actions, then cite the rules as a move to support that claim or action. That is, the players support their own claims by citing rules they believe are consistent with their arguments. Sheesh. Semanticsfilter. The spectators’ interest is whether they get their money’s worth. Their collective decisions in response to what they see, in turn, determine whether a given event succeeds and, finally, whether players have a place to play. So, sure, satisfied spectators are the sine qua non. But players should still have some kind of say in how the game is played, right? I agree that gamesmanship is an essential part of sport as it is played, as opposed to how it is described in rulebooks. At all levels, it does give the game depth, and it admits that personalities, not robots, are at play. As an athlete, I’ve always loved the small tactics that give me an edge—e.g. knocking a guy flat if he tries to set a pick on me. (Somtimes that one backfires, though.) On that score I was preaching against something I don’t practice ;-) (I’m turning around a bit on this, Garfield. Thanks for sticking with the issue.)

posted by jason streed at 10:01 AM on June 13

Say it ain't so!

. . . the games are played for the spectator at the end of the day. . . . if the crowds like it, which they do, most all forms of utterance will be tolerated. Fair enough, if you're addressing the spectator noise. I'm sure many tennis fans want to cheer more, and at different times. Whether most want to is another question, and I haven't seen any figures on this. For what it's worth, since Davis Cup supposedly lets the crowd do whatever, here's their official take: "During Davis Cup matches each country must control its supporting spectators so that play is not interrupted or disturbed. In the event that the spectators or any individual spectators supporting a country behave in such a partisan manner that play is unreasonably interrupted or the players at any time are unreasonably provoked and/or intimidated, the Referee shall penalise such country’s player in accordance with the following: FIRST Offence WARNING SECOND Offence POINT PENALTY THIRD AND EACH SUBSEQUENT Offence GAME PENALTY However, after the third partisan Crowd violation, the Referee shall determine whether each subsequent offence shall constitute a default." So even they think there ought be limits. As for changing the rules and unwritten codes of the game to fit the spectators' preferences, I can't go along with that. The question should be whether it makes the game itself any better. I'm more inclined to trust the players than the fans on that score. And silly me, I thought [gamesmanship] would add to the sport. How do petty psych-out tactics add to the sport? I think most fans come to watch good old tennis, and even if they enjoy a McEnroe-style headgame now and then, they like their sport even better when the ball's in the air. . . . rules aren't one sided. . . . Last time I checked, a player making a sound when the ball is on said player's racquet is not interfering with the other player preparing to hit and subsequently hitting a return. No hindrance there. Of course rules "support" the claims of one interested party or another. Here's a case in point--from the article you linked: "WTA Tour supervisor Donna Kelso and tournament referee Denise Parnell came on the court to ask Sharapova to lower the volume. Under the sport's "hindrance" rule, a player can be penalized a point for excessive grunting." [equivocation] I admit that my first reaction was that Dechy should have held her tongue, played her best, and gone on with the business of tennis. I still think so. Players who wave the rule book in your face play a pansified version of the sport. The idea is to do your best no matter what, and--a telling point, this--there would have been no dispute had she been winning. [/equivocation]

posted by jason streed at 10:35 PM on June 12

Say it ain't so!

Are you kidding me?

posted by jason streed at 04:54 PM on June 12

Say it ain't so!

Calvinball. (First Google return. Cheesy Geocities site, but it gets the job done.)

posted by jason streed at 04:53 PM on June 12

Say it ain't so!

Concentration has nothing to do with my point, really. You can concentrate all you want, and it may still be acoustically impossible to hear the sound. That's the reason the refs ask the (American) football fans to be quiet, right? To make it the play possible. (A better analogy be people waving those styrofoam noodles right behind the backboard.) Yes, backswing, footwork, etc tell you more of a player's intentions, but I still contend that most serious tennis players would agree the sound of the ball's impact is an important input. Beyond all that, is there any reason tennis has to behave like all the other sports? Isn't it okay to have an idiosyncrasy, or even a major difference, here and there? Tennis has plenty of them, and they make the game more interesting, at least to me. (My favorite: no coaching during matches.) On the other hand, if the players all get together and decide they want more noise from players and fans, that ought to be good enough for the rest of us. They're the ones with something at stake, right? Until then--and don't hold your breath for that crusade--Sharapova ought to cut it out. There's gamesmanship on both sides, here, but the rules ("it's a sport," not Calvinball) support just the one side.

posted by jason streed at 04:27 PM on June 12

Say it ain't so!

Sure, it's possible to be over-zealous about this. But I wonder which imposes the bigger burden--asking her being quiet, or asking every other player to adjust to it. Jacknose, I've played a little tennis, too, and it has been my experience that the sound of the ball hitting the racquet gives me some important information. For one thing, I'm certain that sound helps timing. Imagine playing with earplugs in--with no sound, you'd have to rely only on what you can see, and that would change the game more than a little, I think. What I'm saying is that tennis is unlike lots of other sports when it comes to sound. Duncan standing static at the free throw line, staring at an immobile rim, is quite different than a player trying to gauge the exact nature of a tennis shot. In basketball, fans are really doing nothing more than getting trying to get into Duncan's head, while a grunt or a cheer can obscure information critical to a tennis player. And if sound isn't critical at all, would it be okay to holler at your opponent as they are returning a shot, or in the middle of their serve?

posted by jason streed at 11:35 AM on June 12

SPORTS CLICHE

A gem: Announcers often mix sports cliches, as Chris Berman did when analyzing how the Philadelphia Eagles won their wildcard playoff game (January 12, 2002; ABC-TV): "They smelled the jugular."

posted by jason streed at 01:19 PM on June 02

0 backhand errors

The timing and precision required to switch hands quickly while running after a ball spinning away from you real fast is prohibitively difficult. The grip mechanics involved would be too error-prone, I think. Take a close look at the picture of her right-handed "forehand." How many other pro tennis players choke up like that? Ugly. Since true ambidexterity is, I imagine, extremely rare, it's even less likely that someone so blessed would compound their difficulties by attempting this. What more, they'd never make it out of, or even into, junior tennis without a coach all but beating it out of them. Also, many high-level tennis players are a little more consistent off the backhand side. The forehand may generate more power, but the backhand is often more reliable. For my part, I'd rather watch Justine Henin hit ten thousand of her beautiful backhands than watch this woman play ten ambidextrous points.

posted by jason streed at 04:27 PM on May 30

The Foreign Invasion of the American Game.

Bryant: Actually, that was mkn you're quoting above, not me. My apologies.

posted by jason streed at 11:31 AM on May 28