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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tennis

Tennis is awesome, and for so many reasons.
I find it utterly riveting while watching it, yet in no way distracting if I should turn away to conduct other business. The movement of the little ball as it flies back and forth is hypnotic and yet soothing. It is always amazing to see the speed, power, and tactics used by pros. They are able to manipulate, direct, and control the movement of tennis balls with an almost magical power, just by smashing the hell out of it with a racquet.
Then we come to the fans. The stands are filled with avid observers who do nothing more than watch in appreciation. Applause, when it comes, is polite and of limited duration. You won’t see anyone performing the “Wave.” You won’t hear any of those damnable vuvuzelas (those stupid horns ruined the World Cup last year, utterly ruined it). No hooting. No hollering. No cussing. No one is wearing a giant foam finger as far as the eye can see. There are no riots, win or lose. No fist-fights, rushing the players, or trash-talk. In short, everyone behaves in a civil manner, and if they don’t, they get kicked out, and fast. Sweet, glorious peace, and all while watching a sporting event. Compare that to hockey, football, soccer, or just about any other event you might care to sit through.
Some tennis players have become famous over the years for their bad behaviour. But even so, you do not see a tennis match interrupted eight times so the players can pound each other’s faces with their fists. Compared to almost any other professional sport, tennis players are peaceful and focused. They are there to play the game, not pander to the lowest common denominator with excessive displays more at home among birds preening for potential mates than professional athletes.
If all sports were played with such grace and dignity, I could see myself becoming a sports nut. As it is, though, it’s pretty easy to stay away from the violence, swearing and pointless fury. They say competition brings out the best in people, and maybe that’s true for the athletes. It sure doesn’t apply to their fans.
Except for tennis. Tennis rocks.

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