…Dedicated solely to the great and lasting works of the Dead Brain Cell Count Brigade.
I’ll probably get over it in a week or two, but I tend to flirt with this idea during the weeks when my love of tennis forces me to listen for hours on end to the people who cover it for a living.
Normally, the idiotic things said about Serena Williams alone would keep the blog humming along for days as far as content (though it would definitely dampen the run I plan to make for the Mr. Sunshine title some day when the world is young again).
But this week’s winner is so definitive I couldn’t pass on giving it at least some sort of acknowledgment.
As Tennis Channel closed it’s Wimbledon coverage for the day on Friday evening, Mary Carillo (not a DBCCB member), Jon Wertheim (who occasionally flirts with membership) and Jim Courier (former champion player who is a DBCCB lifer) were discussing the controversy of the day, which was the tournament’s decision to close the Center Court roof between the third and fourth sets on account of impending darkness.
There were some legitimate points of debate–namely the fact that Wimbledon apparently does not have a clearly defined public policy on whether and when to close the roof during matches (the closing was significant because the perception was that turning it into an indoor match and interrupting the flow of play would seriously advantage one player over another, though in this case the player who was expected to benefit lost the next set and the match rather handily when play resumed–of course he did).
Anyway, Courier, DBCCB lifer that he is, took the position that there was no difference between delaying a match at any given point (rather than a set time like, say, the end of a set) because there is no meaningful difference between darkness and rain, which stops play whenever it makes the court unplayable and is the main reason the roof exists in the first place.
When Wertheim stumbled around a bit with his response, Courier actually played the “yeah but you’ve never been there” card that former players love to cow geeky sports reporters with.
Having not managed to make any clear argument on his own point’s behalf–or indeed any argument at all–Wertheim was stuck and a few seconds of mindless babbling ensued before Carillo mercifully stepped in and changed the subject.
Which kind of left Courier’s question unanswered.
What’s the difference? Can you tell me that?
How about this Jim…
You know when darkness is coming. In fact you know precisely when it is coming. Like, to the minute!
Unless things are far more different in England than I’ve been led to believe, the same cannot be said of rain.
When science tells us, for instance, that “rain is in the area,” and the area included tennis players playing tennis, what that means is, the court might be unplayable in three minutes…or it might be unplayable…never!
When science tell us that darkness is coming in, say, forty-three minutes? Well, what that means is–absent a moon-sized meteor striking the planet in the interrum–darkness is coming.
In forty-three minutes.
So, yeah, there’s that.
Now I’m gonna give Wertheim a small break here. I do not believe he grew up in Florida (or even in the south) so he does not have the life experience required to spot this particular unique blend of arrogance and ignorance–i.e., the ability to hammer the opposition in an argument by pretending that even the simplest measures of logic and common sense are really the natural province of morons.
Had he possessed this vital experience, he would have been able to parry well known University of Florida fan and supporter Courier’s erudition by simply keeping his head and pointing out the rather obvious difference I mentioned above. And then he would have been able to simply shake his head in mock wonder and, with just the right amount of world-weary resignation, say, simply:
Jim Courier would have had no clue what he was talking about.
But, on the late night broadcast of the Tennis Channel’s coverage of Wimbledon, I bet even a solid majority of that part of the audience who have never so much as heard of the University of Florida would have at least gotten the general idea.
(And by the way, Jon, if you practice this mindset often enough, you may get around to having real retorts on the tip of your tongue for that “yeah, but you never played” nonsense. Like maybe: “Well, that’s true enough, but I did go to science class where we learned that the earth is round and revolves around the sun which is why even the All England club knows what freaking time it’s going to be dark every single night! But that’s a ways in the future. Years perhaps. You’ll need to start with baby steps.)