Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wimbledon miscellany

So-called journalists continue to ask inane/offensive questions:
It looked like mirror images. You had your left leg all taped and she had her right leg all taped. Is this for the cripple's championship or what?
Do you think about the girls ahead of you? Steffi Graf has seven; Martina has nine.
Unfortunately, players very rarely call these people out. It would make a difference if they did.

9th seed Christina McHale was upset in the first round of junior girls competition today.

128 people had to be treated for heat illness at Wimbledon today--128 if you count Jelena Jankovic. And one had to be taken to the hospital. The temperature went up as high as 28C, which--where I live--would constitute a mercifully cool day right now. I remember, decades ago, traveling to London in the summer, and feeling so relieved that the temperature was much lower than it was here. Imagine my surprise when I saw heat wave precautions posted everywhere.

Here's a unique take on Melanie Oudin.

Though I generally try to avoid Sports Illustrated, I was relieved to find someone there who, like I, cannot understand why screaming is called "grunting."

Can someone please tie up Brad Gilbert, put a sock in his mouth, and lock him in a closet until Wimbledon is over? Actually, the sock part would be good enough. There is probably no greater philistine or yahoo on the sports airwaves--and that's saying something. It isn't just his constantly calling the French Open champion "KOOnetSOva" his "Double J" moniker for Jelena Jankovic, or the fact that he calls Tammy Tanasugarn "Tammy Sue Garden." His extreme "masculine" posturing, matched only by his tiny frame of reference, can be maddening.

Today, he was astonished by the idea of moving outer court matches to Centre Court if there is rain and Centre Court is not being used. Seriously, he was amazed that someone suggested this clever probability. And he made a series of lame "Simon says" jokes about Gilles Simon, whose name, of course, is not pronounced "SImon."

He also tried to "reassure" Tommy Haas that it just wasn't so when Haas described himself as emotional. Patting him on the back, Gilbert said in an avuncular tone, "No, you're not." It wasn't irony--he needed for Haas to stop thinking of himself as "feminine," I suppose.

If you've ever been to a gathering--maybe just your office--and noticed there is one man who just has to blurt out anything, no matter how inane it is, then you know what Gilbert is like. Several of the commentators are annoying, but next to Gilbert, they're all class acts.


Unknown said...

Just because someone is annoying doesn't necessarily mean they aren't a class act. Perhaps because you're put off by Gilbert's personality you're seeing him as being worse than he is.

Diane said...

David, I meant "class act" within the context of the post--as a commentator. He is definitely not a class act as a commentator, and I am far from alone in thinking this. In addition to being a boor, he doesn't show much regard for the dignity of others, and he definitely has gender issues.

On ESPN, CBS and NBC, there is a kind of unconscious competition among some of the men to out-grunt each other. My theory is that they are a little uncomfortable that they have the tennis gig.

Caroline said...

I would be happy if ALL of the commentators would be a little quieter and give more consideration to what they say. I don't need to know their every thought, what happened to a player when they were 12, or what it was like on the tour when they were part of it (Johnny Mac, I'm looking at you...).

Unknown said...

Diane, the kind of banter you see from male commentators in tennis is no different from what one sees during NBA, MLB, or NFL broadcasts. It's typical male behavior and it's no better or worse than typical female behavior. Saying they are trying to "out-grunt each other" is a bit offensive.

Diane said...

Point taken, David, only--to me--the commentators for football, basketball, etc., just don't seem to be forcing it. It always strikes me as a bit contrived when it comes from the tennis commentators. And I'm not talking about all of them, as I pointed out--just a few--it' like they're trying too hard.

McEnroe, Caroline, is a case in point. I like him as a WTA commentator (though I certainly had issues about him as a player), but I almost can't bear to listen to him when he calls ATP matches--his personality changes so much.

And I guess I'm lucky, because such "typical" male behavior isn't manifested by the men with whom I hang out.

I am offended by almost all of the commentators--male and female--as I have written many times, because they do not respect the players or the tour enough to know the facts they should know (including pronunciations). Gilbert is probably the worst offender in that category, though it's a close call.

Readers of this blog also know that I have questioned the professionalism and integrity of one of the commentators, also--and that person is a woman.

Unknown said...

Diane -- ESPN tennis telecasts do have a hint of contrivance. My guess is that they (ESPN) still consider tennis a "country club sport" and, thus, in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, they inadvertently overdo it with the "regular folks" talk and goofy, how-to-make-a-diving-volley segments. I wouldn't blame Gilbert, Shriver and the rest for this. They're not calling the shots.

Diane said...

That's a good point, David. ESPN does seem to be the worst offender regarding over-the-top commentator material.

I like the commentary on Tennis TV because one person does it. He or she simply calls the match, with no brainless banter.