Friday, June 25, 2010

The magic of tennis

John Isner Thursday at Wimbledon after defeating Nicolas
Mahut in a record-breaking, 11-hour, five-minute match.
The score in the fifth set was 70-68.

When Dr. Alyea walks into the exam room and asks if I've been watching the tennis, I usually relax, because I figure if he had dire news to deliver, he wouldn't enter asking about tennis. Of course I never know if he's seen my numbers yet or not, unless he enters with a print-out.

It's magical thinking, rather than anything based in fact. I'm sure other people have their own versions: If he rubs his nose twice, if he wears the blue tie, if I wear the same earrings, etc. This of course extends beyond doctor appointments.

In any case, it helps calm my nerves if we talk about tennis while he's pulling up my numbers on the computer. Tennis usually comes up during a Grand Slam tournament, and sure enough, on Monday, Day One of Wimbledon, he came into the exam room and asked, "You watching any tennis?"

I felt like a bad tennis fan when I answered that I don't usually watch the early rounds.

But for once I did watch the first round. Joe was out and called me Wednesday to tell me that there was a long match going on at Wimbledon, with the fifth-set score around 32-32. I went to turn the TV on and took several minutes to find the station. I sometimes have trouble with our newfangled system with all the wires and options. It was a challenge finding ESPN-U, and I despaired that by the time I found it, the match would be over. Ha.

I did find it, and I ended up watching until the match was called due to darkness at 59-59. (It had also been called for darkness on Tuesday.) Joe came in, and we watched together in the den. Ben called to make sure we were watching. My friend Mary came over, and I practically threw her on the couch and told her we were watching TV. Mary, along with the two of us and people all over the world, got hooked.

The match resumed again Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and lasted another hour and five minutes when Isner finally won at 70-68.

Wimbledon has no fifth-set tie-breaker, so players must win by two games. It never has, and likely never will, last this long.

It was amazing to watch this historic event. I'm glad I popped into a first-round match.

As for the exhausted John Isner, he lost swiftly yesterday to Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2.

Maybe watching all that good tennis made my counts go up.

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