Today was the men’s finals of the annual tennis event known as Wimbledon. Djokovic won over Federer in what has been called a classic match–five sets. I don’t know if it really earned the title of classic because I didn’t watch, but just saying the word “Wimbledon” brings warm feelings to my soul.
See, I grew up in a Tennis household. My parents were jocks when they lived in Hungary. My father played volleyball and my mother was a beast in European Handball, which my father also played. When they arrived in the USA, they looked for a sport that poor immigrants could play–something that didn’t coast a lot of money. Tennis, with free courts in almost every park, was it. They took to it with a passion. They played in leagues and tournaments, won trophies, and had more tennis parties than I can remember. They made my sister and me play as well. I had lessons for years, and I remember my feelings of triumph when my mixed doubles partner and I beat my parents in a tournament. It was amazing.
But neither my sister or I were ever jocks. Sports, while fun, was an afterthought to me and certainly not what I wanted to spend my free time doing. It just wasn’t in me. I remember my mother criticizing me once (as mothers do) saying she and my father didn’t know how to handle us because we just didn’t care about sports and this fact was their great disappointment in life. At the time I thought it funny since I have played volleyball regularly for decades, and am prepping to participate in my first Senior Olympics this year in the sport. But she was right. I don’t look at myself as a jock by any means. I have a huge competitive streak in me and I love winning games, so you’d think I would have been more into sports, but I just wasn’t.
While other families watched baseball, or football, or basketball, our TV was on for every tennis match ever broadcast. We really had no interest in the Superbowl or the world series., but Wimbledon was the event of the year. My parents would sit glued to the television for days while it played, yelling at bad calls, criticizing the play (as if they could do better) and enjoying the matches with their whole hearts. It was pronounced Wim-bleh-done in my parents accent and to this day I say Wim-bleh-done in my head.
But these days I don’t even watch that much sports on TV. I tune in to the Olympics with a passion because it brings back memories of my father, and while I can enjoy the occasional Padres game, I’m not much of a baseball fan. I watch the Superbowl for the commercials, and I rooted for Germany over France the other day in the World Cup, but I didn’t watch a minute. I sometimes think it’s a shame that I can’t get as excited about sports as I can, say, over a Dr. Who rewatch, but there you have it. Robot Guy will have to wait until he has a son-in-law who might like sports to have a viewing buddy someday.
But Wim-bleh-done will forever bring me wonderful memories of sitting around our house to the boisterous comments of my parents. By the way, congratulations, Djokovic.
Books I’m reading now:
Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase