Thursday, June 28, 2018


For years, my high school friend Gary and I have gone to the US Open during the last week in August.  For several of these years we have been joined by another high school crony who has sometimes made the trip from as far away as Australia.  We are going again this year and adding yet a fourth high school bud to our trip to Flushing Meadows.

But the big news this 2018 is, after talking about it for years, Gary and I are leaving tomorrow for Wimbledon.  Years ago I actually did see a tennis tournament in England, but I have never been to Wimbledon and a smile creeps onto my face when I think about next week when we plan to attend.

I'm working on a book now about sports and communication.  So, in addition to just the fun, this excursion will be edifying I believe as I'll be able to juxtapose tennis fandom in Wimbledon with the fandom at the US Tennis Center. We have been told that we need to queue up beginning at 7 to gain entry.  A friend of mine who has done just that in the past said that waiting on line even for the three hours is kind of fun as you get to mingle with other aficionados.  It is there, I hope, where I plan to do some informal research.

My prediction is that except for some of the rituals, the experience in Wimbledon will be akin to what occurs in New York. The USOPEN is really an international gathering.  And I imagine the same will be true at Wimbledon. Of course the majority of spectators will be from the UK, but there will be representatives from all over the world there who are watching the games.  What they serve at the refreshment stands might vary and the costs different and protocols confusing, but my hunch is that I will observe more similarities than differences.

An aspect of the trip which we did not think about, which to me at least will be valuable, is that coincidentally the World Cup round of 16 games will be played while we are there.  And England is still alive in the competition.  If I have the times straight, some of the matches will be played while we are at Wimbledon watching tennis, but one match a day may be in the evening. It will be a hoot for me, someone who does research in sport bars, to watch the fans congregate in pubs and cheer. Since Wimbledon is likely to draw many from all over the world, it would not surprise me that fans from all countries represented will be cheering madly.  Yesterday, here in a super market where there is an alcove dedicated to coffee sipping, I watched the end of a match with some shoppers.  A woman who I assume from her concern has a Mexican lineage, wanted to know how Mexico was faring and others in this area were similarly riveted to games.  If in a grocery store, in a Boston suburb, where the US has been eliminated, there are people riveted to televisions while they sip coffee amidst bags of celery stalks, laundry detergent, and doughnuts, I think the noise in the English pubs will be robust.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Say Something Smart About That

You've been surfacing more regularly over the last week or so. In my dreams and occasionally when I am awake.  Yesterday I was driving and I remembered something from a seder, probably in the 70s. It was the second night and you invited friends from work.

The seders typically impressed our guests. You made sense out of them as opposed to the ceremonies that people often attend.  I've been at seders that ranged from very religious affairs that I could barely follow, to what amounted to a dinner that only nominally referenced the holiday. Yours made sense. We followed a hagadah in English.  We finished up after the meal.  Your buddy Larry once sighed when you said we were going to finish up, but when it was over he was grateful.

On this one occasion that floated up yesterday, we were talking during the seder about some current event. One of the guests said, "Say something smart about that Meyer."  He wasn't being sarcastic. You had not been holding court and pontificating.  It was just that you regularly had insightful things to say. So the guest was interested in your thoughts.

Father's Day is coming up. I don't think the Hallmark holiday is what has brought you to my consciousness.  But since we are approaching the day, and since I have been thinking about you, and since mail may take a long time to get to where you are at even with the internet,  I might as well write this now.

The most apt father's day gift I ever got for you--far better than shirts or ties or tennis racquets--was a compass.  I think this was in the early 90s.  It was most apt because the best thing you ever did for me was be someone who knew where you were, and travelled in the right moral direction as best as you could figure it out.  Quite an irony since you had such a terrible sense of direction as a motorist. As a person, though, you went the right way--not right in terms of pragmatic--right in terms of right.  And you defaulted to it.  Whenever I feel as if I am losing my way, I have a sense that I am doing so--I might not stop and get back on track--but I feel a tug like a voice saying, "Uh look where you are going, boychik." It can be annoying.  Nevertheless I am grateful. In nature versus nurture, this is nurture.  

Without a moral compass, it becomes more difficult to avoid faustian bargains.  One can zoom along what seems like a smooth road, then find out way down the highway that you took a route that leads to a hell of some sort.

Happy father's day.  thanks for the travel guide.