Wimbledon seems to have come round remarkably soon since the last time that our screens were saturated with incomprehensible grunting and invisible action.
I know there are plenty of blind people who enjoy following sport. I’m not one of them. I prefer to follow writers and poets and the changes in GDP or what interest rates are likely to do. I follow what happens in parliament. I follow politics. Who’s at the top of their game and who’s losing their place in the league. The vicious volleys of BREXIT are just as enthralling, to me, as Wimbledon is to some of my less politically absorbed counterparts.
Question Time is turning into the not to be missed tournament of the summer. I’m devastated its finished until the autumn. At least I understand the terms of engagements and can see how the players play their shots, what was a good rally and what is just plain bad gamesmanship.
In the bad old days before I discovered the sport for me, I had a go at tennis. This was tennis the good old fashioned way, long before blind tennis was invented. Check it out. http://ibta-takei.com/
Growing up, I had regular access to tennis courts. They provided amazing opportunities to get up a bit of speed on a bicycle or a scooter when adults were inside watching Wimbledon on the telly. It was the 70s, a decade that heralded the arrival of the luminous green tennis ball. The adults, in their wisdom, thought that this was an opportunity to normalise me, to turn me into a tennis player and I was up for it.
Protection from the sun was required. A ready solution presented itself in the form of an enormous sombrero in black. If you have ever tried to play tennis in a sombrero you will know that there is a very good reason why Serena Williams does not. Standard issue dark glasses, that I still never go outside without, were next. All this was topped off with a good covering of sun block which is about as comfortable as being wrapped in cling film.
“Serve” I shouted to the friend somewhere over the other side of the net. Back came the instruction to go “left”. Tennis racket aloft I did as I was told and missed. I could not find the ball. “Serve” I shouted again and followed instruction and missed again. Now there were two missing balls.
Undeterred, the friend suggested that I serve. I was not bad. The thwack was followed by another instruction and again I missed. Green balls were not doing it for me. They had not proved to be the miracle on my path to normalisation that everyone had hoped for. But now there was a strange swooshing in my head. It did not seem to matter which way I moved. It would not stop.
As we chucked in the towel on tennis and decided to turn our attention to finding other distractions, the swooshing only became more irritating. By the time we were told to come in for lunch I had begun to think there was now something seriously up with me. At least it was cool inside and off came the sombrero and the mystery of the tennis balls revealed itself. I had spent the best part of the morning with tennis balls rolling around the sombrero and consequently round my head.
I admire Serena Williams, not least for her breakout success and for her triumph over her pelvic floor, but I just don’t get tennis. Last night a friend invited to watch Wimbledon on her tiny telly. Why? I have no idea. I’d rather stay at home and listen to political jousting on the radio. Much more fun.
I am so wimble done.