Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


17th nervous breakdown

Filed under : Sports,Tennis
On August 30, 2011
At 1:05 am
Comments : 3

Oh my, what a day! I don’t even know where to start. Maybe Court 17 because that’s where I started it. Court 17 is a whole new court, the first in years (it even has a $40 commemorative t-shirt, naturally) and it’s sort of the fourth show court. As I said to Brother2, “Court 17, did they just invent it?” You’ll need Seinfeld to laugh with me instead of at me for that.

Not that many of my readers care, but for future Googlers, here’s what I thought of it. It’s slightly smaller than the grandstand and yet you’re slightly further away because the seating isn’t as steep (people who have been to both the old and new Yankee Stadiums will understand what I mean). The problem with this, besides the distance aspect, is that for vertically challenged people like myself, if a tall person sits in front of you, you’re screwed. But mostly it’s good. There are seats with backs and that’s a giant plus. It’s brutally hot with no shade at all but so is Armstrong and as you recall, I want to be buried there, so I can’t really be too upset about it.

Today I saw Gasquet there (or Gas-ket as someone in front of me pronounced it) as well as Tommy Haas who is, remarkably, still alive. Then I moved on and saw the Radwanska sisters play each other in a tepid match. Please remind me next time: despite what you and I may have learned from shared rooms of our childhood, there is no excitement in seeing sisters battle each other on the tennis court. Luckily, I moved on and saw Israeli Dudi Sela come back from a near loss to Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, largely on the strength of the crowd. If you think I am exaggerating, understand that he made the “I’m not worthy” bowing down symbol to the stands afterwards. It was the first time in US Open history that South Americans have been outshouted by some other partisan group. It was good to be Jewey!

(In case you were wondering, I did not see Mardy Fish play. Like many bands I have supported over the years, Mardy has become too good to play the small courts and stadiums where I can afford to see what’s actually happening (my seat in Ashe is very close to God) and I am sad but not sorry. You go, Mardy! Play the big court every day! I still love you.)

Last, I saw Gael Monfils, a sometime replacement for the entertainment factor we lost when Fabrice Santoro retired, play another really great guy named Somethingorother Dmitrov. You can look it up because I am tired and need to do the whole thing again tomorrow.

Which brings me to the most important part! Tomorrow!* On the Brand New Court 17! David Nalbandian will be playing Bobby Reynolds who is a fine fellow but sadly not David Nalbandian. This may be the last year that I need your MINDS, people! We can do it! Because lately, he can’t. The match should be about 5pm but I’ll be tweeting so check local tweets.

Thank you and have a pleasant and winning tomorrow.*

*tomorrow is now today – Tuesday, August 30. Your time zone may vary.


Picture of the Day – Australian Open

Filed under : Tennis
On January 18, 2011
At 7:00 pm
Comments : 2

I feel like I watched this match all day. I DVR’d it, watched it all morning, then my recording ended at four hours, because that’s all the time I have left on my DVR. So then I had to find the repeat and record that because I had to go to work, and I only finished watching it about ten minutes ago. Don’t worry, by then I knew the result was as shown below.

It’s hard to have a fabulous match the first round, because then you have nothing left for the #185 you’re playing in the second. But I dislike Lleyton Hewitt just enough to be really, really happy about a 4.75 hour slugfest victory. By the way, the match was still going on when I woke up this morning (it had started at 4:15 am) but I didn’t even bother to turn on the TV… because who’d have thunk it?*

*I should have thunk it. Bad Becca, bad.

Image from


How soon is ahora?

Filed under : Tennis
On September 5, 2010
At 1:30 am
Comments : 2

Well, I think this speaks for itself.

No? Perhaps I should explain. This is a Tweet from Friday by Argentinean tennis player, Juan Monaco. Before I go further, allow me to free-associate for a moment. Juan Monaco was defeated in the Open this year by Peter Polansky who I then saw get beaten subsequently by James “yes, why not call it a comeback?” Blake. I was pondering this evening while watching Blake get hammered in yet the next round by Djokovic, how Ashe Stadium used to be James Blake’s house. So many times I’d leave the Open to the sight of Blake on the big screen in the evening feature. When he had his famous five-set night match against Agassi, I rooted for Agassi who didn’t really have that much time left in his own comeback. I figured Blake was young and had plenty of time. Oops. This year I saw the Blake match on Armstrong, which is where I saw him play for the first time, during the famous Lleyton Hewitt racial incident where Blake was so green, the extended length of the match caused him to throw up on court several times. Gutsy!

Anyway, enough with the memories. Juan Monaco’s Tweet says (I think!), “King David wins in three setsII! Now comes the match against Verdasco….” I’ve never heard Nalby called King David but I like it, even though the real King David was a womanizer who had Batsheva’s husband killed to hide the fact that he had knocked up another guy’s wife. On the other hand, the Psalms, which are my favorite part of the Bible, are mostly credited to him. I’m sure this was just the kind of analysis that Juan Monaco was hoping for, eh? But I was actually at the match where (the new) King David won in three, and it was delightful. I snagged a third row seat and was completely surrounded by young and fashionable Argentineans. It was just like Buenos Aires down to the fact that my money is worthless. Rimshot!

These days, I mostly tweet my photos and US Open commentary, thus saving you from endless tennis posts while simultaneously irritating my Twitter followers. It also means my pictures are taken by my BlackBerry whose zoom isn’t as good as the one on my actual camera. But then, my actual camera doesn’t have Twitter on it (if you want to see these photos, they are at and can each be enlarged upon your click). But here’s one of Nalbandian at that match. By the way, speaking of Twitter, you can sort of tell that Juan Monaco is actually tweeting whereas Nalbandian’s account is clearly run by PR people. Which is sad but better than nothing. Nalbandian, as little as I know about him (I stay with the professional and not so much the personal) doesn’t seem at all the type to want to share his everyday thoughts on a social network.

(Surreal moment: I’m still watching the Saturday night session on delay and literally as I type this during the Kuznetsova-Kirilenko match, Martina Navratilova and Tracy Austin are discussing Twitter while calling the match for The Tennis Channel. Martina: “Every once in a while I have something interesting to say but I wouldn’t want the pressure of doing it on a daily basis. [pause] Tracy, do you Twitter?” Tracy: “I don’t.” Martina: “Are you going to?” Tracy: “Uh…. not anytime soon. I don’t think so.” So there you have it).

This next photo is from my phone and it’s my favorite, even though it’s from far away. It’s how I spent the final two hours of my last real night at the Open, high in the bleachers of Court 7 watching two Spanish guys you never heard of duke it out with incredibly motivated gusto to determine who will get decimated in the next round. It was literally the last match of the day other than the one on the main court, so everyone who was like me and left over from the day session, and who just could not bear to leave until the last point available had been played, was there. The crowd cheered the guy who was losing and I knew why: we just wanted the match to go on as long as possible – fifth set, fifth set! You can see the empty courts beyond. I was way high up in the last row, which was full because of the reason I sat there, too: it has a back. And man does your back hurt by the end of the day. And your knees. And your sunburn. On the first day, sunscreen dripped into my eyes and my vision was blurred for much of the day. It was awful. I kept flushing my eyes out with water from my water bottle and yellow stuff would come oozing out the corners. The woman next to me asked me if I was OK; she thought I had been crying. I was tempted to say, “I am – I just wanted Taylor Dent to win so much!” But I appreciated it. Strangers bond all the time at the Open, it’s one of its many charms. Except the couple behind me at the Schiavone match who answered my volunteered response to an overheard question with, “I was talking to my husband.” OK, well, do that at home, please. We’re all friends here. Bitch. But it was all worth it. I think I’d like to be buried between the Grandstand and Armstrong. Or Court 11, I’m flexible. But I just can’t bear to leave that place.

Right, so about the title question. The big match is not far away and I need you once again. You see, I have a family occasion tomorrow (well, now today – Sunday) and as per the Tweet, King David is scheduled to play Goliath, er, Verdasco on the Grandstand at 11am. So I need you to help Nalby with your MINDS. This will be a tough one. He may even need the part you usually devote to sexy thoughts and donuts. I’ll be expected to have my mind on the affair at hand, but I’m going to reserve the donut part for this too. If Nalby wins, we can all celebrate with donuts. By royal decree, donuts for all!

I read an article this week about an appearance by Agassi which you could buy tickets for, where he spoke about his life and book while being interviewed by a guy from Sports Illustrated. For some reason, it was held not immediately before the Open, but during the event. Who the hell would go to that when there’s tennis on? Well, for starters, the guy who bought a ticket for the Open because he thought the Agassi thing would be there. When he found out it wasn’t, he left and drove back to the city. He explained by saying, “For me, Andre is number one. The rest of the U.S. Open is number two.” Seriously? I simply don’t get that. When Nalbandian retires, or Fish or anyone I root for, tennis goes on, that’s where the love is. Because to me memories are great but the best part is ahora.

Title comes from:
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?


I’ve been here before

Filed under : Music,Student Life,Tennis
On August 22, 2010
At 10:00 pm
Comments :Comments Off on I’ve been here before

Or, how I spent my five day summer vacation, written during the pouring rain.

It’s been a long time since I felt what the last day of summer felt like. When I was a kid, I loathed school, so much so that I ran away from Kindergarten and regularly played hooky from middle school to either hide in the woods or in the bathroom of my private school’s lower school building. In high school, I would go to the public library or to work at the record store (they never asked questions). Summer was the sweetest, most wonderful time of year. Not only did I have no school but I had my summer camp, where I had some of the best experiences of my life.

Nowadays, I love school. And, as I’ve said, I consider it a vacation from the real world, i.e. Monday through Friday, 9-5 work. The ability to stay up till the wee hours, get up late, handle the day exactly as I wish, and have no one to report to but myself has been like a dream. And well, at some point you have to wake up. I decided to stay in school another year partially because I couldn’t bear for that to end but in doing so, I knew that I’d need additional funding which meant work which means that in order to have that lifestyle, I have to not have that lifestyle. I know, it seems pointless. But there were other reasons I did it too, like getting more education and being better prepared for my new career. So here’s what this year will involve:

a. Part-time job, 3 days a week.
b. Fieldwork 1 day a week.
c. Special project 1 day a week.
d. Classes 2 evenings a week.
e. Thesis in any spare moment.

Yes, it’s going to be a challenge and the hardest part will certainly be the first one, which begins in a mere twelve hours (yikes). I am not good with bosses. I am terrible at doing things that other people tell me to do. Naturally, I did not bring this up in the interview. But I’m going to try my best because for a part-time job, it’s well-compensated. I know. I’m the first person ever to put up with a boss telling me what to do so I can pay my bills, right? But beyond that, I think I’m just going to miss my leisurely student life of getting up, puttering around making a hot breakfast, spending time playing on the Internet, reading for school in the quiet mid-afternoon, and then going off to class. Now I’ll have to fit those readings in when I can and go back to jumping out of bed via cranky alarm, scarfing something down, and running for the train, still half-asleep. I can hear you all playing tiny violins for me right now. I have a Facebook friend who works at a university and is off every summer. All summer long she posts about fun things she and her family are doing at their vacation home in the mountains. Then, in late August, she posts status messages whining about the end of her three-month vacation and I always roll my eyes. So I feel you if you’re rolling your eyes. But it’s been a lovely year, it really has.

Speaking of people complaining about lifestyles others envy, I’ve now had about five days without either school or work (kind of the vacation from my vacation) and finally had time to read the Agassi book (I’m not quite done… and I only have 12 hours left!). I remember when it came out last year there was lots of talk about the revelations: that he wore a hairpiece, that he never really loved Brooke Shields, that he used crystal meth and lied to the ATP about it. But for me, the biggest disillusionment was that he hated tennis. That was really hard for me to deal with. He says that he could never understand people who loved the beauty of the game. I suppose I am one of those people and watching the US Open series on TV these past few weeks has been wonderful. But now I kind of watch people play in a different way. Do they love the game as much as I do or did they feel it was the only thing they knew how to do?

It may be hard to believe, but I only became a tennis fan in the mid-90’s when my then-company gave me tickets to the US Open and I fell in love with both tennis and the story that a tournament is. The first match I ever saw Agassi play live is described in the book; it was during his comeback and the other player, Karol Kucera, was acting like a moron. I remember laughing when Agassi sarcastically reacted and in the book, Agassi mentions that the crowd laughed. This is just to tell you, hey, I’m in the Agassi book! But don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing read and hard to put down. I suppose they’d frown on me reading at my desk at work, huh?

Also during my five days off from everything, I saw Tears For Fears. It was great to see a band I have loved for a long time and never experienced live, but the show failed my two criteria for excellent concerthood: decent view and good song selection. Being that it was at the Hammerstein Ballroom and I am not the tallest of women, I could occasionally glimpse bits of either member’s head but not often. Also, not enough from their two good albums and, naturally, no hint of my favorite song by them, since it wasn’t a hit. This is the sorry state of concerts today: other people hold up their cameras so that you can see even less and then you have to go to YouTube to watch shaky videos of the concert for which you paid.

Lastly, I got fingerprinted by the Department of Education, so that I could do my fieldwork, even though I don’t yet know if it will be in a public school. But my school makes you anyway, just in case. Everything you ever experienced with government bureaucracy (think of your last trip to the DMV) existed here: long lines, people who went on break just as they were about to take you, requirements sprung on you (duh, don’t you know that you get your school ID when you get fingerprinted and thus need your picture taken?) which lead to yet more lines with no one being taken, and lots of words spoken to you in a tone of voice which makes sure you understand that it is the thousandth time they have been spoken by that person this week. WelcometotheDOEpleasefollowthosearrowstooffice17takeanumberandsitdown.

Then I left and went to Ikea where I bought $40 worth of things I didn’t know I needed in the marketplace. Because once you’re at Borough Hall in Brooklyn, what else are you supposed to do? It was one of the last days I could just go to an office in the middle of the day and then go shopping. I will miss you, sweet unemployment.

Onward and upward.

Title comes from my second favorite Tears For Fears song, which they did, thankfully, play.
Tears For Fears – Pale Shelter


Picture of the day, how sweet it is edition

Filed under : Sports,Tennis
On August 9, 2010
At 5:00 pm
Comments : 7

(Getty Images)

What else is there for me to say? Oh right, this. In my life, I have only seen David Nalbandian play in a final on TV three times (Wimbledon 2002, Shanghai Finals 2005, and yesterday’s Legg-Mason Classic in DC). This is both a function of the lack of tennis on American television and the dearth of championships in which Nalby has appeared. And it’s only the second time I have ever seen him win one. I’d try to explain how amazing it was to watch but instead, I’ll let the picture have its thousand words.

CNN: David Nalbandian wins Legg-Mason Classic title in Washington