Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Oh, indeed

Filed under : Rants,Tennis
On August 28, 2012
At 11:55 pm
Comments : 4

You know, I was going to put the blog on hiatus since all my news is bad news and it’s not even bad news I want to share. But oh happy day, folks! There is finally some bad news I’m willing to post about. I had gambled and won; the tickets I had put down for in our family plan long, long ago, did indeed turn out to be the day the US Open draw and schedulers had determined David Nalbandian would play. There will be good weather. He is playing on a court with plenty of open seats. It is tomorrow!

And then today he pulled out with an injury [insert wah wah sound].

I feel pretty, pretty sure I will get a sunburn and food poisoning tomorrow. Also, someone will spill their drink on me.

Could this summer have been more awesome?

Since I fell in love with The Wire this summer, I think I’ll let Omar answer.


I was going to entitle this post “Sheeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiit,” because I do not like two posts beginning with the same word right next to each other, but I understand that some people don’t like profanity in their Facebook feeds, so I am reduced to being repetitive. Plus, if Depeche Mode can title two songs on the same record “Question of Time” and “Question of Lust,” who am I to be anal?


Is that a tennis ball in your pocket, or are you just happy to have won the medal?

Filed under : Sports,Tennis
On August 6, 2012
At 1:15 am
Comments : 2

Well, both.

I wanted to say a lot of cliched things about how the Olympics inspire people to do the best they possibly can and to push the outer limits of what humans can do. But in the end, I decided to just post this photo of Juan Martin Del Potro, sobbing uncontrollably after winning the bronze medal for Argentina.

In tennis, as in most team sports, it’s better to win the bronze than the silver, because the silver means you narrowly lost the gold, whereas with the bronze, you narrowly avoided getting nothing and being no better than the guy who lost in the first round.

But then again, as Meredith and Matt so classily reminded us, the vast majority of Olympians win nothing. But don’t they inspire you anyway? So remember: announcers blow and athletes rule. You have to be in it to win it, as they say, and I think they all won it. Especially Juan Martin Del Potro.

Photo from J. Finney/Getty.


Winning, no hashtag

Filed under : Baseball,Reasons to be cheerful,Sports,Tennis,Travel
On March 11, 2012
At 10:45 pm
Comments : 3

This one is a hard one because although I’m in the midst of a happy thoughts marathon, I’m feeling sad about something. So I will just leave it with a couple of happy sports things that happened today (for me) (and for these athletes). First, I finally managed to catch a pre-season baseball game and even Mariano’s first outing of the season. And the Yankees won! Although it means nothing, woot! More meaningfully, David Nalbandian won his second round match today at Indian Wells, where the Deases are, and in usual Nalbifashion, that is, in all tiebreaks. But hey, the result is what counts, or so they tell me. That makes me feel wistful about deciding to go to the UK rather than the Sony Ericsson Tournament in Miami, since he will be there, too. But due to laws of space, time, and money, I can only choose one place to vacation.

Speaking of, I’ve sort of decided on Northern Ireland and must get cracking on hotels since it is (gulp) now a bit over a week away. If you feel like planning my vacation for me, please apply in the comments section.

No song today, I’m Derry sorry. Ha, better jokes to come, I hope.


The 700 club

Filed under : Tennis
On September 4, 2011
At 12:05 am
Comments : 3

Last post about tennis…. I think. But this is my 700th post, shouldn’t it be about David Nalbandian?

Anyway, just to update, I did manage to get to the Open on Friday and was rewarded by seeing Nalby win in a fabulous match. I started to think about coming back Sunday, when I am really supposed to be planning what the hell I’ll be doing with my 1st graders. My phone was still clinging to life so I checked to see what court (Court 13, for instance, where he played Friday, isn’t usually streaming on the US Open site, thus necessitating a ticket). Oh, oops, he’s playing some guy called Rafael Nadal which will of course be on television, so I decided to just stay home. My TV will certainly have a better view than the rafters of Ashe.

I took this one Friday, and this is how close I usually sit. So you may understand why I’d just rather watch from my sofa.

I don’t have high hopes for this but one never knows. As Phillies fans used to say, “Why can’t us?”

Also, could someone please remind me when I am shopping for my next phone that I need one that lasts longer than six hours of heavy usage and a better camera is imperative? If you forget to remind me, it is also OK to poke me before next year’s Open and suggest I buy a second battery. You rock!

Lastly, a few other questions and comments:

1. How is it possible for a place to be bakingly hot during the day and freezing cold at night? Is Queens a desert? It is amazing in the space of one day to both burn your butt on a metal bench and later on recoil at a frigid one. I must have some meteorologist readers who can explain this to me.

2. Is beer very cheap at Citifield? Why must Mets fans be such loud drunks? Forget John Rocker, this is really what is most wrong with the 7 train.

3. Can you guess the only nation with really, truly rowdy fans this year? Did you say Sweden? Chile? No! It was Luxembourg. What a dark horse.

4. This isn’t a question or a comment. I lied. It’s a picture, yet also a stereotype. I was so cold at this match that there were goosebumps on my sunburn. I was seriously shivering. Yet here we were at Florian Mayer and one of his German compatriots sat in the chill drinking a tall frosty. I called him Horst in my head, but only because I had previously named someone else Kurt (a man with a “Deutschland” hat).

That’s Jean-Rene Lisnard, from Monaco, on the court. At one point he was wearing brown shorts, a black top with various colors, a white hat, and two different colored wristbands. I guess he was in a rush to pack after the big royal wedding.

I should have something else to post about later or tomorrow. You won’t really be interested in that either, don’t worry.

Heaven 17 – Play To Win


Into the sunset

Filed under : Tennis
On August 31, 2011
At 1:15 am
Comments : 5

Thanks for all your assistance! I assume it was your MINDS which helped Nalbandian win today, after falling behind and losing the first set as well as looking somewhat less than sharp. But then he got better! So, hurrah, and what a great day. Again.

But a couple of thoughts on the nature of fandom. This may well be the last match I ever see Nalbandian play live and in person, because I don’t think I will be able to make it to his next one later this week, and since he will be playing a decent talent, there’s every chance his run will stop there. And even if not, I have a job which begins after Labor Day. It’s not as though he’s announced his retirement or anything, it’s just that things are inevitably winding down and even if he gives it another 2-3 years, one never knows if he’ll be healthy next August.

People invariably ask me why I root for Nalbandian and I usually say something glib (as in the About section on this site) about the first match I ever saw him play, against Jarkko Nieminen. For whatever reason, everybody went for Jarkko, mostly because his name is fun to say, I kid you not. One end of the Armstrong crowd would yell “Jark!” and the other would respond “O!” I don’t think anyone there knew anything about either of these guys.

But Nalbandian was unflappable and seemed completely unperturbed. I liked him. I liked him for not falling apart and just playing on as though 8,000 people weren’t pulling for the other guy. In the end he won the match and me as a fan. The next year I made sure to watch him again and he was still utterly self-possessed. I was his for life. The only time I have ever seen Nalbandian break down was actually in that same US Open, 2003, when he won the first two sets against Andy Roddick in the semi-final before proceeding to lose his shit completely. Keep in mind that he had just beaten Federer a few days earlier to get there. Roddick went on to win the entire thing, his only Grand Slam trophy. I’m still not sure what happened.

Obviously, I’ve known it had to end sometime (and as I said, it may not be this year) but I’m not really sure I’ll ever love another player as much. You know why? Because I discovered Nalby’s secret. He is unflappable because he doesn’t really care. Big points, small points, it’s all the same, really. It’s why he almost never wins easily or in straight sets. Why try too hard? (As Brother2 said this evening, “I see Nalbandian won in 4 sets, not 5. What did you do with all the extra time?”) It’s hard to care more than the guy actually doing the hitting, but I often feel like that’s the truth. And I care a lot.

To wit, today, I sat at Court 17 (Court 17: did they just invent it?) all day, partially because my family also wanted to see Shahar Peer play there (she won, too!) but also so I could stake out the best seat imaginable: close enough to see well, far enough to get the span of the court, unobstructed by the umpire’s chair. One set in, after sitting in this seat all freaking day, a guy came up to me and Brother1 and said, “excuse me, my friends are sitting right next to you and my wife and I would like to sit with them, would you switch with us? We’re just two rows back.” A million thoughts crashed into my head at once, but they all sort of tied into: are you fucking kidding me? These are my perfect seats, I sat here all day, this is my once a year date with the sports figure I worship the most, why didn’t you come earlier, can’t you guys chit-chat later, why can’t the people next to you switch, etc.

I said, “I’m sorry, I waited all day in these seats for this match.” The guy said, “but it’s just two rows back!” I said, “maybe in the changeover someone else will move.” Brother1 said, “this is her favorite player in the world.” I said again, “I’m sorry.” The guy looked at me as if I were the biggest bitch on wheels and for the next five minutes or so, we were treated to him saying loudly to his spouse, “it’s six fucking feet! Six feet!” Because Brother1 and I were raised by the same people, in the changeover, he said to the two guys sitting next to us, “look, there are four seats together two rows up.” The guys laughed and said, “we don’t really need to sit next to them, hahahahaha.” Great. Then, in the changeover after that, they all decided to go to a doubles match anyway. It was all the polar opposite of how seriously I took the whole thing. But sometimes that gets exhausting. I’m not sure I’ll look for someone else to feel that way about so fast. There are days you just want a tennis match.

On the other hand, it seems to just happen, so who knows? I’ll keep my mind open. In the meantime, best of luck to El Rey David whose fans do care very much. And if the last glimpse I get of Nalby is him walking by me amidst a throng of cheering Argentines after a fabulous match, I’d be entirely satisfied.

Trivia question! Who was my favorite player before 2003? Why, Martina Hingis. She retired from tennis (the first time) that same year.

I’m glad I wrote this now because when he does really retire in, hopefully, a few years, I’ll already have done it. The title comes from the last song on one of my, oh, top five albums of all time, Neil Finn’s One All/Nil. I always listen to it on the way to the Open on the 7 train because by the time we reach it, I can step off onto the boardwalk during Rest Of the Day Off, a song which has always perfectly encapsulated my feelings about leaving work behind to come. It’s the second to last song on the record and if I am a bit ahead of schedule, I skip ahead to Into the Sunset, a pretty, pensive, and moody number, and listen to that first. It’s always a bit disconcerting to then skip back to joy.

Neil Finn – Into the Sunset