Monday, July 30, 2012

Victory Convulsions

We noticed it first in tennis (such things start with elites)—the gradual appearance of victory convulsions. For us the first big name in tennis was Jack Kramer. He played in days when players wore long white pants. However fierce the competition, players were on their best behavior; they controlled their gestures and facial expressions—they also kept their mouths shut. No huge outcry with each serve or smash. At games’ end came a civilized handshake. Umpires never saw an ugly look—never mind having to endure tirades. It took a while before the victory convulsion came to be the routine marker of hard-won victories. Nowadays we see it so much the young easily learn it by imitation. Back in our days one had to work at it. There was the shout to practice, ideally the roar. Then the pumping of the arms—as if you intended to hit the sky with both fists balled. To that, if you could pull it off, was added a similar, repeated up-thrust of the hips, executed with the knees half-bent. Then the appropriate facial expression, which, to be effective, had to be the perfect fusion between rage and triumph. It doesn’t come naturally to all. It is rather pathetic to see some players, especially women (and the worst offenders tend to be ladies), trying to give an imitation of “nature in the raw” and utterly failing—because some still present stain of modesty prevents them doing so properly, giving it all the gusto. But perhaps I am wrong in calling it “nature in the raw.” Animals are quite incapable of it. Yesss! You have to have that something extra, that mysterious quality only humans have.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, Dad! You love the victory convulsion, don't you? You even do it when, for example, you've simply managed to get some small food container to fit into an overcrowded fridge! Or you really did roll those socks right! Staging the joy of triumph! I just had to laugh. Happy Birthday sir.

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    1. And thank you, Michelle. I've always held that one must practice the vices one deplores. Knowledge is power, etc. Always hands on...

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  2. Ha, ha ha... Michelle got the rebuttal in before I could!
    I am quietly, and modestly gesticulating)

    What I found odd is a piece I heard on the radio, and have yet to look and see whether it is true or not, that the officials in the world of international tennis are considering a penalty of some sort for players who grunt, moan, or cry out too loudly while playing. WHAT? I know that tennis matches have gotten loud but... really!

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    1. Tennis officials have evidently never heard of the First Amendment, Monique. Perhaps you ought to organize some activism to "educate" them. Or maybe the much maligned Attorney General should dispatch some lawyers to give Tennis some technical training...

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