Monday, June 29, 2009

My Wimbledon obsesssion

It's Week Two of that tennis Grand Slam tournament called Wimbledon. And I love it. If I could be bothered to add it up, I would be ashamed to admit to the hours spent sitting on my arse watching blotchily tanned adults whack a ball up and down a bit of knackered grass.

There is something so soothing about the backdrop of sights and sounds at Wimbledon, mixed with all that green and purple, oh and strawberries. I can so easily fall asleep to that sound which kind of defeats the object of turning on the TV really, but maybe you know what I mean? The hours can pass by in blur of greens and brilliant whites - shorts that are too long, dresses that defy fashion engineering, grunting that breaks the sound barrier, and flying, fluorescent, fuzzy balls - interspersed with great tension as I shout at the screen and clench my fists. Invariably the Quarter Finals or Semi's are the best matches - last year's final between Nadal and Federer being the exception - and I just lap it up. Then it's gone ....

And I don't watch another tennis match all year.

And I do like tennis, I really do but there is something cold and distant about watching other competitions on the screen. I don't like blue or red courts. I don't like the sounds, I don't like the fact that the fans sit too far away in harsh metallic seating. There is nothing personal and cosy and intimate about other Grand Slams. The camera angles are all wrong. I love my familiar and comforting BBC coverage.

I used to live about 30 minutes away from Wimbledon. It always felt very local and personal to me and as I sat on my sofa basking in the sunlight coming in through the window, it would be a mystery that the ground staff were pulling on the covers during a torrential downpour.

This momentarily reminds me that I often think all sport is a complete waste of time. Well, it is really - c'mon. Grown men chasing or hitting or whacking spherical objects around courts, courses and rinks. Freakishly muscled females running or cycling or hitting things in the pursuit of deadlines and points. Are we all mad? And I sit and watch it, from the comfort of my squidgy, unfit body and marvel at their dedication. Armchair critic, me.

But sport does bring out amazing feats of strength - strength of body, of mind, of dedication. And I marvel at their sheer skill and endurance. Something I have absolutely none of. Playing on the school hockey team (that's 'real' hockey folks - on grass, not ice) made me feel momentarily invincible - strong and fast and happy - part of a team. Then I got to 18, went to college and it all faded away through apathy on my part. And that feeling never returned. I am not a competitive person at all - apart from board games - don't touch that dice! - but have over the years enjoyed swimming, walking and learning to ski (badly) but I really don't care for speed, time trials and black runs.

Sport is a great way of getting together with people, of staying fit and healthy (ish, till the injuries kick in), and to just get out and 'do something' but it's not for the faint-hearted, or those without a competitive bone in their body. Well, not team stuff anyway.

And don't even get me on to classification of what is sport ... I'm sorry, but you cannot compare a snooker player to an Ironman triathlete ...


  1. Hey, am glad to have found your blog. I know what you mean when Wimbledon feels local, I used to work in Tooting and live in NW London so sometimes my route took me past there.

  2. Yep, I can totally identify with your 2 week obsession. The other night I was watching Andy Murray, literally shouting and bawling at the TV in language which I can only describe as 'colourful'. It was only when the match was over that I stepped out into the garden to see my neighbours sitting in theirs that I realised that the doors and windows were wide open ...... oops! Anyway welcome to bloggerland.
    Look forward to more of your posts.

  3. Thank you guys for your comments, and welcome!

    I need some anti-Wimbledon medication - I'm losing hours of my week to this affliction! Oh well - nearly over and then my tennis-free life can resume for another year.


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