"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sports Spectating

My sports interests were set in stone in my childhood. In order to feel at all sports-minded, I have always required one of the following accessories:

a. a horse
b. a tennis racquet
c. a soccer ball

The only possible addition to the short list is baseball, which I played under duress yet quite avidly in grammar school, before moving on to the Big Three listed above. As both spectator and armchair commentator, I follow a favourite National League team (the Atlanta Braves) and one in the American League (the Boston Red Sox--a geographical and cultural imperative).

My inclinations in sports viewing are similarly limited--show jumping or horse racing, major tennis championships, and European football. (And usually the World Series, provided I'm Stateside.)

Needless to say, on this damp, drippy weekend, I'm in sports spectator heaven.

World Cup 2006. I got up to watch England beat Paraguay, 1-nil. An underwhelming performance, but a win is a win. I'm supporting three teams this time round: England, Czech Republic, Ivory Coast. The first is a given, the second and third choices vary from Cup to Cup. (It used to be Ireland and Cameroon, but they're not in it this time.) If the US do well, I'll be happy, but my allegiances were set years before the nation in which I presently reside turned into a football (sorry, soccer) powerhouse--currently ranked fifth in the world.

French Open. Throughout the footie, I switched channels to catch flashes of the Women's Final match. I wanted the Belgian to win, and indeed she did. If Federer takes the men's title away from Nadal tomorrow, I'll be surprised but content.

The Belmont Stakes. A bittersweet occasion, this final leg of the Triple Crown. All hope of a coronation ended three weeks ago, in a most tragic fashion. I predict there will be more coverage of Barbaro's ongoing recovery than the race of the day. We didn't catch Barbaro's stunning Derby win live--we were in Europe--but I've since seen the videotape. We did witness that heartbreaking Preakness. A pity Bernardini isn't running today, either, but I respect his trainer's and owners' decision to keep him out of it.

As I sit glued to the tube this weekend, I'm also making notes on that 6-volume 17th century diary. I expect to be finished with Volume I by tea time.

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