Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I am up Watching the Australian Open

Work needs to get done.  Insomnia.  Doppelganger freaking me out.  The wife is snoring.  The kids and visiting dog are crying.  A shooting pain down the back makes it impossible to sleep.  Why is one up at 3 in the morning?  Those are my usual reasons.  Normally, this is harbinger of bad luck - being up this early.  Except for a brief period of time in January and February when, even at the most ridiculous hours, live sports may be found.

I admit that I like tennis.  I really don't get a chance (or should I say that I am not permitted) to watch sports live or on TV very often, so I usually keep it to the big three - Baseball, Football and Basketball.  It's much easier to pretend that a game in one of those sports is important.  Either for standings or for betting.

It's tougher to justify with tennis.  No one in their right mind bets on professional tennis (golf I can somewhat understand, but professional tennis? Please seek help if you bet on tennis, I'm sure Nikolay Davydenko did.)  And I am usually called onto the carpet if I pretend that a match is important.  But the important tennis tournaments offer a unique opportunity.  The French Open and Wimbledon are usually played early in the morning on the East Coast.  The U.S. Open plays late matches under the Flushing lights.  And in January, when I can't sleep?  It's just me and the Hitachi watching tennis from Down Under.  I'm not sure how many hours ahead Australia is, all I know is that when it is dark here, it's light there.  I also think that if some someone is coming home from the bars down there and drunk dials, they will be calling right after the dialing respondent gets back from lunch.  Nevertheless, this is a perfect way to kill some time.

3am.  Home.  I'm not sure why they are playing the first match.  Roger Federer vs. some guy named "Hanescu" in the Second Round.  I don't bother trying to find out anything about this guy, including his first name.  I wonder to myself how many games Federer is going to give up here.  6? 7?  He might be distracted trying to cover up his own tracks as his (former) Gillette buddy is spending time in "rehab" in Mississippi.  You know they went out to the clubs when Tiger was in Europe.  Maybe 10 games? 12?  Perhaps we should ask Prince William what he thinks since it appears that he is sitting in one of the front rows.  How do I know?  They KEEP showing him!  It's happening so often after points that I'm beginning to think he's one of the player's boyfriends.

In the end, Federer won 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.  Shortly after the match, while being interviewed, former American tennis great Jim Courier points in the direction of Prince William and favorably (I guess) compares Federer with Prince William as both cover their faces in horror and embarrassment (those asshole Americans, they both must be thinking).

5am.  Home.  We are then treated to 5 minutes of Taylor Dent getting his American butt whipped in straight sets.  Well done!  But wait.  Things are happening fast and furious now as ESPN immediately cuts to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco also winning in straight sets.  Two hours of tennis, three blowouts.

5:15am.  Home.  Bummer.  Live tennis has taken a back seat so ESPN can replay Venus Williams against an opponent named Bammer.  I'm not kidding about the name.  I go onto the Internet to see that Williams destroyed Bammer in straight sets also.  Yawn.  Then another replay, this time of Lleyton Hewitt against an American named Donald Young.  No need to tell you what happened there, either.  Checking the scores, I see that live tennis is being played, yet they are showing replays of yesterday's matches.  No one is watching anyway ESPN just put the live sports on!  Please?

6:00am  Home.  No dice on live tennis.  I see that the next match after Venus Williams plays features her sister Serena Williams.  Since ESPN just groups their stories as "Williams Sisters Do This" and "Williams Sisters Do That..." I already know what happened in with Serena Williams.  Maybe I'm just not motivated to discover, when I'm watching sports from overseas late at night, that they are simply replaying the previous days' matches.  I could be watching golf or life coaching infomercials right now. 

6:30am.  Home.  Visions of tennis balls and hardcourts start dancing through my head.  I guess it's time to head back to bed.  That's okay, the Federer match will probably be on again when I wake up.

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