Posts Tagged 'Don’t mess with my tennis'

Nth verse, same as the first

Some of you might remember around this time last year (by that, I mean prime tennis season), how I had some complaints about tennis coverage on TV and the Internet. Well, to the surprise of nobody, the issue is the same this year.

And I just can’t fucking wrap my head around it. Yesterday, ESPN2 showed both of the women’s semifinals. Which is great. I love Schiavone, and while I’d love for Sharapova to come back, Na Li is the first Chinese person, man or woman, to make it to the finals at Roland Garros (French Open). But not one of the top four seeds made it to those semifinals for the women.

So this morning, Significant Other and I got up, wanting to watch the Nadal/Murray semifinal. On the men’s side, all four of the top seeds have made it to the semifinals, which is the first time it’s happened in twenty years or something.

But are any channels showing it? OF FUCKING COURSE NOT. Oh, the Tennis Channel is showing it, which you need to pay a ridiculous amount of money to get with your cable, because it’s a special channel. But NBC is TOTALLY going to show the NEXT semifinal between Djokovic and Federer.

FUCK EVERYONE. How are you going to show ONE of the semifinals, but not the other? Really? And, while Djokovic is certainly having the season of his life right now, and has the chance to take the World #1 ranking from Nadal if he wins against Federer, the point still stands that Nadal is currently the World #1 AND is the #1 seed at Roland Garros. And you’re really not going to fucking show his semifinal live on an accessible TV channel in the US? Are you fucking kidding me? But you’ll show both the women’s semifinals, when NONE OF THE TOP FOUR SEEDS MADE IT.

I just…I cannot fathom the logic behind this decision. Who the fuck makes these scheduling decisions, seriously? Are they on drugs? Hallucinatory drugs that don’t allow them to make logical decisions? While I tend to like women’s tennis more, only because it generally takes more strategy than hard hitting to win (which is true of most women’s sports), and Schiavone plays amazing clay court tennis, I’m pretty sure everyone knows that men’s tennis is more popular. I’m pretty sure most people, even if they’re not really into tennis, could name 2-3 men’s tennis players. I think people could probably name the Williams sisters on the women’s side, but right now I don’t think they’re even ranked in the top 10 (both have been out due to injuries), so to me that hardly counts.

So excuse me if I’m a little enraged that I can’t watch the world men’s #1 tennis player play some fucking tennis on TV. I even got up early to watch it. And not only is Nadal #1, he’s also one of the greatest, if not the greatest, clay court player of all time. AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO SHOW THIS ON TV, REALLY, UNITED STATES? Unless I pay a lot of money to have the tennis channel year-round when I SHOULDN’T NEED IT. You don’t need a special channel to watch football or basketball or baseball or even fucking golf. GOLF. Why the fuck should I need a special channel to watch tennis? Maybe it’s not as popular as football, but let me tell you that’s it’s more fucking popular than people think. The US Open tickets sell out ridiculously quickly. There are plenty of fucking tennis fans in the US. But we’re expected to pay extra to get a special channel to watch ONE OF THE FOUR MAJOR TOURNAMENTS. This isn’t some backwoods tournament that nobody knows about. It’s one of the GRAND SLAMS. It’s the only major played on CLAY. And I can’t fucking watch the SEMIFINALS on TV. SEMIFINALS ARE A PRETTY FUCKING MAJOR ROUND. It’s not like it’s the 1st round, where people generally breeze through or get crushed.

I just…I’m so enraged, I had to post about it. Poor SO is sick of hearing all my expletives as I rage about this aloud, but I just think it’s ridiculous.

And Roland Garros’ website only offers radio coverage for streaming (I shit you not. Am I in the Dark Ages?). I suppose it’s better than nothing.

But US TV coverage can suck it, because I found a place online to stream for free. SUCK ON THAT, ASSHOLES.

ETA: Argh, I just lost the live video stream I had. NOW I CAN ONLY LISTEN TO THE RADIO COVERAGE. I can’t…I can’t even believe that’s my only option.

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Do us all a favor and stay home next time

Let’s talk a bit more about etiquette at a sporting event.

In a two-for-one offer, this post will also intersect with fashion! Hooray for everyone. Except for me, and my poor, poor eyeballs.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I attended three sessions of the US Open; two of them were back-to-back this past Saturday. Now, again, tennis fans are a different breed of enthusiast than other sports fans (I’m not saying they’re better or worse (okay, maybe I’m implying one of those)), so generally I find going to the Open to be a pleasant experience, and this time was no real exception. But we need to talk, people, about attire.

Flip-flops are the fucking bane of my existence. People wear them EVERYWHERE now, and they are almost never appropriate. Saturday was no exception. Significant Other and I were watching a doubles match, and some guy sits next to me on the bleachers wearing flip-flops. Okay, no real problem there; hundreds of people on Saturday were wearing them, so even though I think they’re only appropriate for the beach, I understand they’re socially acceptable for some fucking stupid reason.

But then the guy next to me kept slipping his flip-flops off and sticking his bare feet all over the place, and THAT IS NOT OKAY. He would cross his legs by putting his right or left ankle on the opposite knee, and his naked, ugly, smelly foot would be DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO MY KNEE and also to the backs of the people on the bleacher in front of him. NOT FUCKING COOL. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOUR FUCKING UGLY FEET ALL OVER THE PLACE.

On top of this grossness, the guy also was leaning all over the place like he was at home on his own couch. He would put his bag on the bleacher between me and him when there was NO SPACE THERE FOR IT, and then he’d lean on it and practically have his head on my shoulder.

Listen. I do not want some stranger’s dirty head leaning on me, especially not when I’m also trying to avoid their disgusting feet. Breaking news: This is public space, not your living room. Keep your fucking shoes on and sit up straight like the rest of us (or at least slouch in a such a way that YOU ARE NOT TOUCHING ME EW EW EW).

This is why I fucking hate flip-flops. People seem to take every opportunity to slip them off and be barefoot. Flip-flops are pretty much as close as you’re going to get to being barefoot in public without people thinking you’re homeless, but KEEP THEM ON YOUR FUCKING FEET. I don’t care if you just had a pedicure and think your toes are super cute or whatever. KEEP THEM ON. First off, the ground is DIRTY, so it doesn’t matter how clean your feet are—when they touch the ground, they will be DIRTY ALSO. But mostly, taking your shoes off in public is just fucking rude. You’re disregarding social norms (which sometimes are meant to be broken or challenged but NOT IN THIS CASE) and making people around you uncomfortable for the sake of your own personal comfort. Next time, wear shoes or sneakers you don’t mind keeping on your feet all day or JUST STAY HOME. Then you could fucking watch tennis naked if you wanted, and NOBODY KNOWS OR CARES.

It was especially sucky because I love watching doubles, and those matches aren’t really shown on TV. So I wanted to watch the whole match, which meant I WAS STUCK NEXT TO THIS ASSHOLE FOR LIKE AN HOUR. At one point I almost knocked his camera off the bench because he put it between us, as if he were at home and it was his fucking end table or some shit, and I didn’t know it was there. I should have picked the fucking thing up and tossed it into the trees, but I restrained myself. It would have been justice for having to deal with his disgusting feet all over the place.

Moving away from disgusting slobs and on to obnoxious spectators who act like know-it-alls, one of my other favorite types! Again this other asshole was watching the same doubles match. This match went 3 sets, which is the most sets doubles can play (2 out of 3 sets for the win, just FYI). At one point, one of the players got a medical time out, which is perfectly acceptable and within the rules. During this time, one of the spectators—an older, portly man (and yes, this is relevant)—took it upon himself to comment loudly on how the overall quality of the match just wasn’t that great. He just went on and on about how it really wasn’t that impressive and he could hit some of those shots back! BO-RING! Let’s get some exciting professional tennis out there, folks!

I wanted to punch this guy in the face so hard. Instead I just made snarky comments under my breath to SO. But this guy seriously needed to shut the fuck up. First off, there was no way he could hit any of these shots even a quarter as well as the players themselves. Second, the game was going to its MAXIMUM LENGTH, which generally indicates that the level of play is pretty good. Because if it wasn’t, one team would be CRUSHED by the other. So I have no idea what match this asshole was watching, but it certainly wasn’t the same one I was. And besides, this man couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a tennis ball from 2 feet away, so how could he even judge the quality of the tennis being played? He got winded just standing up to stretch.

Look, I know sports fans of all types loooooove to comment on players and strategies, etc. We all think we’re capable of being coaches when we’re watching our favorite sports being played. I do the same thing. But I only say it loud enough for SO or whoever I’m with to hear it. I don’t announce to all the spectators that this team or that player sucks so hard I could play better. Because it would be a lie, on multiple levels. Not to mention fucking annoying as hell.

So I’m not saying this asshole shouldn’t have the same right as everyone else to make comments about the sport he’s watching. I’m saying that he shouldn’t fucking talk so loud everyone can hear him, because some people don’t fucking agree and it made him sound like an idiot (or revealed him to be the idiot that he is, which is where I’m leaning in this). And I don’t mind when people say “Get it over the net!” or something like that, but I take issue generally when people start acting like they could have been the next McEnroe or Connors or Federer or whatever if only they were younger or in better shape or applied themselves more.

Breaking news: They’re all professionals at this sport, and you are just watching. So stop pretending you know better than the players and their coaches, because YOU DON’T. It’s one thing to be frustrated when your favorite player isn’t performing well and to yell things, but it’s another to “analyze” the play as if you know something. And if that’s something you like to do, then STAY HOME. Because as I mentioned in my last post, part of why I go to live matches is so I don’t have to listen to DUMBASS COMMENTARY. And if I’m going to listen to anyone’s dumbass commentary, it’s at least going to be from someone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about.

Anyway, time to stop ranting about tennis and go watch some instead, because ESPN2 and USOpen.org know the real meaning of a live video feed.

Your kid is the next McEnroe, but not in a good way

My attentive readers will already know that the only sport I care about is tennis. And the only grand slam (major tournament) I have easy access to is the US Open. So when the time comes (right now, for those who don’t know/don’t care), I like to try and attend at least one session.

This year, I’m attending three sessions. One was yesterday night—yep, I got to watch Roddick crash and burn. Oh, American men’s tennis. What happened to you? (Thankfully American women’s tennis isn’t doing quite so badly, hooray for the Williams sisters! And I guess we aren’t a complete embarrassment, since we do have the Bryan brothers in doubles. But anyway.) But that’s not what this post is about.

I’m here to talk about how fucking annoying going to a sporting event is. Now, my only experience is with tennis. But tennis is a bit of a different beast from other spectator sports. There are certain expectations from the crowd—and I don’t just mean by officials, I mean expectations by the crowd of the crowd. For example, if you’re in lodge section seating (lucky bastards), you are not allowed to enter or exit during a game because it can distract the players or officials. This means that everyone is fucking seated and enjoying and watching tennis.

If only this were true for the cheap seats, which are all I can afford. But no. People are constantly getting up and down and up and down and up and down. Right in the middle of points. Blocking people’s views of the exchange. Taking their sweet-ass time getting to their seat. What the fuck, people? Games in tennis aren’t generally that long (games make up a set make up a match, if you’re curious. I’m not here to explain the logistics; go use Wikipedia for that), so just wait until the fucking game is over. There’s usually a minute or so (or longer, depending) between each game. Use THAT time to get your fat ass out of the tiny seat to buy another fifty hot dogs. But if it’s the middle of a game, just keep your ass in the seat. And so help me if you get up in the middle of a POINT (meaning the players are in the process of HITTING THE BALL BACK AND FORTH). I will find you and kill you. Because unless it’s some kind of a medical emergency, there is NO REASON to get up in the middle of the action. People don’t do it at movies (usually), so why the fuck would you do it at a sporting event. You’re essentially missing THE BEST PART if you do that.

But you know what? Most of the time I deal with it without getting too outwardly cranky. People are compelled to drink beer and stuff their face with food (I don’t know WHY, though, since it’s all horrendously overpriced). And for some reason NO ONE can sit still anymore. Do you know how many times I left my seat during the Clijsters and Roddick matches Wednesday? Zero times. I stood up once during a change over (when players switch what side of the court they’re on) to stretch, but I didn’t leave my seat once. Now, I don’t expect everyone to marathon it like I do, but AT LEAST FUCKING USE YOUR BRAIN ABOUT IT. Breaking news: Maybe YOU don’t care about this particular point or game or even set, but I think a least one of the hundreds of people sitting near you does. SO DON’T STAND UP IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. Fucking hell. I mean, the tickets I get are the cheap ones, but they aren’t that cheap. I’m there to watch tennis, not to watch people stand and sit and stand and sit and stand. I get to do that on the train every week, thanks.

Trust me, if I could afford courtside seats, I would buy them. But I don’t have any spare organs to sell to finance that purchase.

But the reason I don’t get too annoyed is because I have to admit, most tennis fans are pretty excellent. As I was saying about the crowd expectations, the thing about tennis fans is that they’re quiet during points—even the fans who can’t sit still for them. Because that’s the expectation. And the US Open is generally considered the rowdiest of the grand slams, and even still I’m sure a football or baseball fan would be shocked at how a stadium of 23,000+ people will fall nearly dead silent when a player is about to serve. So I have to give props for that. And in fact, the umpire will request the fans pipe down if they’re being too loud. And instead of fans flipping off the umpire or yelling insults, they actually quiet down. Because other fans will get mad. I mean, in some ways, these are my people. Not in every way, though. Don’t get excited for me yet.

The Clijsters/Roddick matches were an evening session on Wednesday, meaning play started around 7:30pm. But sometimes this session can go to the wee hours of the morning (last night Roddick’s match ended at midnight, but if Clijsters had gone 3 sets and Roddick 5, we could have been there until 2 or so, I bet). Significant Other and I arrived around 7, bought some merchandise and were in the arena by 8. My dad and his girlfriend showed up shortly thereafter. And then a mother, father and kid sit behind us.

Now, I’m not against people bringing kids to sports. But this kid couldn’t have been older than 8 (I’m thinking 6, but I’m really bad at judging). I know school hasn’t started yet, but this kid’s bedtime has to be in the ballpark of 9:30, and that’s being generous. So they came to an evening session, which are known to sometimes run very, very late.

But I know that’s none of my business. What IS my business is when their fucking kid won’t stop loudly talking and narrating for THE ENTIRE TWO MATCHES. From the fucking minute they sat down (in the middle of the first set of Clijster’s match), the kid is asking what the score is and who’s winning and who won that point and what just happened. But more than that, he’s trying to keep score himself and is doing it wrong. There are GIANT DIGITAL SCOREBOARDS in the arena. So why didn’t his fucking idiot parents just tell him to look at those and shut the fuck up? Then he’s talking about how many people are watching at home and what’s the score? And what’s happening? And who’s winning? And what’s that player’s name?

ARGH.

Part of the reason I HATE watching tennis on TV is the commentators. The American commentators never shut the fuck up. And while I appreciate their knowledge and insight, sometimes I just like to WATCH A POINT HAPPEN without hearing what three commentators think of so-and-so’s new style or racket or outfit or personal life. The British commentators, for Wimbledon at least, are amazing. I listened to their radio feed while watching the matches online (no thanks to NBCSports), and it was blissful. They were quiet during points and then talked in the down time. THAT IS WHAT I WANT IT TO BE LIKE.

So I like going to live tennis when I can because I don’t have to hear the commentators constantly talking. I can just watch the tennis and make my own comments to SO or my dad or whatever, but since we’re all fans we really only talk during change overs. But last night I got to hear this fucking kid talk THE ENTIRE TIME. I’d actually choose John McEnroe’s commentary over that shit, and while I appreciate McEnroe as a tennis player and expert, I generally hate listening to his constant babble.

But the kicker about this fucking kid was that NOT ONCE did his parents tell him to just be quiet and watch the match. They sometimes stopped answering his questions, but the kid just KEPT TALKING. I mean, come on! I don’t usually mind young kids at sporting events, but this was insane. You shouldn’t be able to bring your child out in public if they can’t fucking keep their mouths shut for ten seconds. TEN BLISSFUL SECONDS WAS ALL I WANTED. Breaking news: Not everyone thinks that what your kid has to say is cute, funny or interesting. SO TEACH HIM TO SHUT THE FUCK UP.

The great thing, though, is that my dad’s girlfriend gets similarly annoyed by these things (and she’s not nearly as big a tennis fan as I am, so I feel a little more justified that the kid was just REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING), so her and I got to exchange looks and whispers about it. I try to avoid labeling kids as assholes—because I think it’s really the parents’ fault. But this kid came the closest. Still, the parents get about 95% of the blame for not even fucking trying.

The best part was at about 9:30 they got him ice cream. HE WAS QUIET WHILE HE ATE IT. I was about to run down to the concession stand and buy all the fucking ice cream they had just to keep the silence going. Because once the sugar was gone, he was babbling again. Thankfully, the Asshole family left at 10:30, so I got to watch Roddick crash and burn in blissful commentator-free silence.

So while I’m not opposed to people sharing sports with their children, I do think that they need to teach them some fucking stadium manners first. Or at least make a fucking effort to shut them the hell up. You might be able to filter out the incessant babble because you live with it, but the rest of us don’t have that ability. It was like a fucking drill going straight to my brain. And if I’m going to have an unnecessary lobotomy, I’m going to do it myself, thanks.

That is the exact opposite of what you mean

Breaking news: Specific words have specific meanings.

I know, I know, I just shattered your world. But I’m not sorry. Because this bullshit has got to stop.

You know what I don’t find amusing? When I am told one thing by someone when they mean the opposite. Everyone has probably heard someone rant about the usage of literally vs. figuratively, so I’m not going to talk about that here (at least right now). But I have a prime example of something even stupider.

Anyone who knows me (and now even people who don’t!) knows that the only sport I give a shit about is tennis. It’s the sport that I grew up playing with my dad, grandfather and grandmother. I played on the team in middle school, high school and college. I watch every Grand Slam I can. I go to the US Open as often as possible. I’ve even been to Wimbledon once. I love this sport.

When Significant Other and I moved, we decided to ditch cable, because let’s face it: It’s fucking expensive and most shows you can watch on Hulu and most movies you can get from Netflix. So why pay $100/month for channels we’re never going to watch? It doesn’t make sense.

For those who don’t know, Wimbledon is going on right now. And the semifinals were yesterday and today and the finals are this weekend. Today, I wanted to watch the matches instead of just seeing the live scores, but NBC owns the airing rights in the U.S. to, I believe, all the Grand Slams. WORST IDEA EVER. Here’s why:

So much lying!

Lies, lies and more lies

They are liars.

You may wonder what exactly is wrong with this image. Well, lucky for you I’m here to fucking break it down. First off, Wimbledon takes place in England, which is FIVE HOURS AHEAD of the U.S. Often the matches start in the late morning/early afternoon U.K. time.

Do you see the problem yet? No? Let me break it down even further.

I took this screencap today around 11AM U.S. time. After the first men’s semifinal match had concluded and the second semifinal match was about to start. But NBC says their “live” stream schedule is 12-5 Eastern Time.

HOW IS THAT LIVE?! Breaking news: It isn’t live if it’s shown on a fucking delay, assholes. That is the exact opposite of the meaning of “live”. At first I thought maybe there had to be a delay to account for transmitting the signal across the ocean, but that’s bullshit. Today, the first semifinal match started at 8AM ET time (1PM at Wimbledon). But NBC wasn’t offering “live” streaming until 12PM (5PM at Wimbledon).

Hm. That’s an interesting use of the word live.

Then I thought, maybe they’ll be showing the second semifinal live, even though they’d be picking it up after the start. So I checked around 1PM (at the same time watching the live score update on Wimbledon’s website, so I knew that they were in the third set at this point). Lo and behold, NBC is showing the second set, which had ended about 30 minutes earlier, and for which I ALREADY KNEW THE RESULT. What the fuck?

THAT IS NOT WHAT “LIVE” MEANS. YOU ARE SHOWING THE VIDEO ON A DELAY. YOU ARE NOT FOOLING ANYONE.*

Now, I can understand why people sometimes use a word incorrectly. It still drives me crazy, but I certainly do not have impeccable grammar in conversation, so I don’t expect other people to (although that is slightly different than using a word incorrectly, but my point is I’m not as much of a stickler during conversation). But a corporation like NBC should be able to invest in a fucking dictionary in order to figure this shit out. Hell, they don’t even need to BUY a dictionary now. There are multiple websites that serve as dictionaries! So NBC is pretty much just a bunch of fucking liars and/or lazy assholes at this point. I clicked on their video link expecting to see LIVE VIDEO, and instead it was a set behind the action. A WHOLE SET. Not even like two or three games, which could be chalked up to an unavoidable delay because of distance. But this is just NBC being a bunch of assholes. Or, if for some reason their five-hour delay really is unavoidable (HA, try to convince me of THAT), they should MAKE THAT CLEAR. Because right now they just come across as liars or idiots, or both.

But aside from the fact that they are using the wrong word, they also need to get with reality. Breaking news: It is 2010. There is no excuse to 1) be lying about “live” video and 2) purposely delay your coverage just to be assholes to people who do not have cable. This actually doesn’t make me want to purchase cable and it certainly does not endear NBC to me. SO THERE IS NO FUCKING POINT TO THIS STRATEGY, except to make me glad that I don’t pay for NBC anymore.

I’m tempted to purchase a pocket dictionary and send it to NBCSport’s office. Although I wonder if anyone there would even know what it was or how to use it.

*Okay, maybe they’re fooling really stupid people, but that hardly counts.

EDIT: Oh look, The New York Times agrees with me! SUCK ON THAT, NBC!


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