Monday, June 25, 2007

It's Monday Morning...

It's Monday morning... but my heart is lightened by the fact that it's the First Day of Wimbledon.

In the house where I grew up, this particular Monday morning every year is treated like the Second Coming of Christmas... When I was a child, my father would sneak off to the cable store, and return bearing the Almighty Cable Package. We did not have extensive cable hook-ups back then: my parents believed that 99% of what could be found on The Boob Tube was crap, and the 1% actually worth watching (PBS and TVO) were covered in the basic cable that we already had.

However, Wimbledon was worth it. By that, I mean, my father believed that it was WORTH paying for the extensive cable package JUST for The Fortnight, so that he would be able to receive the British feed of the match coverage. If there is anything that we BOTH still detest to this day, it is the American channels "doing" Wimbledon. I have vivid memories of old Bud Collins, sitting on his tuffet, yammering endlessly about useless statistics and "heart-wrenching" stories... ESPECIALLY the ones pertaining to his own country's players, no matter how irrelevant the information may have been. It Filled Air Time. And now there is also John McEnroe, detested by my father and myself both on AND off the court, for his complete inability to keep his fat mouth shut. WHY is it that he and his pals feel it necessary to CONTINUE YAPPING long after the play has started??!

The British feed, back then, was nearly silent. All that we were able to hear, besides the occasional repetition of the score, was the murmur of the crowd, and the satisfying "thock!" of a well-hit tennis ball. It allowed viewers to have their OWN thoughts about the match, and heightened the suspense considerably. Of course, those were ALSO the days before all the players started grunting and groaning on the courts, too...

But I digress.

Once the Almighty Cable was hooked up, it was time for my father to set the then "high-tech" VCR. My dad worked many long days and nights in his medical practice, and was seldom around to actually watch the matches live, so he recorded them. Re-runs were strictly forbidden: only the pre-recorded live play that HE had recorded would suffice (if you understand what I'm getting at). The trick was, we his family had to stay SILENT about the day's scores, until he had had the chance to watch the matches himself. The rest of the family was as glued to the tv set as schedules would allow every day, and we would be nearly BURSTING with exciting information by the time he returned home. It was excruciatingly difficult to keep our mouths shut, so as not to spoil his Personal Wimbledon Experience.

Even now, the "vcr-ing of Wimbledon" tradition continues, even though my father has retired, as he still likes the convenience of being able to catch up on his viewing when HE feels like it, rather than having a schedule dictated to him. In actual fact, I sometimes suspect that he also enjoys the exquisite strain this tradition puts the rest of the family under. Because WOE BETIDE the person who lets loose with a result, before he has had the personal delight of viewing the match himself. Whenever I phone home during The Fortnight, he always rushes to answer my call, and the FIRST thing out of his mouth is “FOR GOD’S SAKE, DON’T TELL ME WHO WON!!!” So, then I have to come up with all kinds of other crap to talk about until he’s gotten around to seeing that day’s matches. Heaven help me if he’s behind a full day or two…

Several years ago, I was home for a visit during the weekend of the Wimbledon finals. At lunch that day, I let slip that Agassi had won the show. Poor Dad nearly had a stroke, he was so agitated. It wasn’t just the fact that he has always disliked Andre Agassi (I don’t know why, I always thought he was a gentleman, and kind of cute), but the fact that his daughter would betray him and deny him the ultimate pleasure of WATCHING WITHOUT KNOWING THE RESULT made him nearly come unglued. What he DIDN’T know was that I was fibbing, and so later that night, after he grudgingly sat through the videotape with me, he was even MORE apoplectic to discover he’d been had…

I am always welcome in my parents' house, but I don't tend to visit during Wimbledon anymore... It's a little stressful.

This week is the final week of school in our house. This is the week of Kindergarten Graduations, Grade Five Festivities and endless end-of-year parties in general. Because of this, I am actually considering pushing past my "childhood trauma" and doing a little Wimbledon video-taping myself this week, seeing as most of my mornings will find me otherwise engaged, volunteering at academic shin-diggery.

So if anybody else out there loves tennis as much as I do... FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T TELL ME WHO WON!!



ewe are here said...

rain delays...rain delays...rain delays...

from the land of live coverage

Although I have to admit, I've always liked McEnroe's coverage - and he's covering it over here again this year.

The Henman match first round finale was incredible yesterday.... a long drawn out 5th set. I'm just bummed Andy Murray pulled out.

Candygirlflies said...

McEnroe is far from brainless, but I just get so frustrated by the lengthy conversations that have more to do with when HE was playing tennis, rather than the play that is actually. happening. right. in. front. of. him.

And Henman... WOWOWOWOW... Go, Timbo, GO!!!

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