Monday, July 7, 2008

wherein our heroine betrays both her provenance and her socioeconomic background

Apart from tennis (the only sport in which I have any vague facility, and therefore the only sport for which I can have that technical, almost tactile appreciation that I imagine most boys feel for many more sports than most girls), my interest in sports is almost purely jingoistic. I was born in Illinois, and therefore I enjoy watching teams from Illinois dominate and lay waste to teams from other places, preferably places reasonably close by, near enough that I might have some crude, cartoonish understanding of exactly what is wrong with them. (I'm looking at you, St. Louis.*) I feel like I would have made a good Spartan wife, of the come-home-victorious-or-not-at-all variety. This is precisely why I could never really get into, say, World Cup Soccer, or cricket, or other "international" sports. Even the Olympics leave me dishearteningly cold.** This is also likely the reason that I prefer baseball to any other sport, as it features a greater percentage of antagonistic-staring-down time than any other nationally televised athletic event. I don't know what it feels like to, at long last, make bat-cracking contact with wicked fastball; I do, however, know what it feels like to stand silently, eyes fixed and blazing, playing head games with an opponent. I'm a chick, after all.

This is all my very long-winded and tangential way of saying that this is an awesome article about tennis written by David Foster Wallace for the New York Times*** that perfectly captures the feel of the only game I have a feel for. Yay for good writing.

*...with your silly cracker pizza. (This isn't a racial slur. It really is like a cracker.)

**Paradoxically, I recoil from the kind of nationalistic fervor that is the stuff of real jingoism, where sports, war, and politics merge into a creepy, bombastic, Leni Riefenstahl-directed montage of pseudo-science and face paint. As far as constructed identities go, I much prefer my very clearly irrational and wholly impotent provincialism to any militant loyalty with an actual nuclear weapon standing behind it.

***...that I was reading in my Lincoln town car on the way to First Presbyterian. Seriously, that has to be the WASPiest thing I've ever written.

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