Monthly Archives: September 2010

Lame Adventure 94: Foot-faulting Through Life

Once again, a foot-fault call at US Open tennis was in the spotlight when ninth seed Andy Roddick blew a gasket at a line judge for (correctly) calling this error on him during his loss Wednesday night to his Serbian opponent, Janko Tipsarevic.

Andy Roddick not asking, "What time is it?"

When the line judge explained her call to Roddick, she suffered an ill-timed brain-freeze and mistakenly said it was his right foot, when she meant to say it was his left.  Therefore, he detonated, but his outburst was Sesame Street worthy when compared to the $82,500 fine-incurring profane meltdown that Serena Williams exhibited at last year’s Open.  The New York Times recounted Serena’s outburst of hysteric proportion as follows:

“[Roddick’s] tempest was nothing compared with the most remembered match of the 2009 Open, between the powerful Serena Williams and a diminutive Japanese woman named Shino Tsurubuchi. After Tsurubuchi called Williams for a second-service foot fault, landing her a point from defeat in the women’s final against Kim Clijsters, Williams angrily confronted Tsurubuchi at her post outside the lines, threatening to asphyxiate her with the aid of the ball in her hand.”

Translation: Williams said, while clutching a tennis ball for emphasis, “I am going to shove this fucking ball down your fucking throat.”

Composed Serena three days after outburst at book signing on 9/15/09 where no one had the guts to joke, "Foot-fault."

Tsurubuchi was not the line judge that incurred Roddick’s wrath.  Roddick’s loss sent him packing with his stunning Sports Illustrated swimsuit model wife, Brooklyn Decker, calling to mind the Fur Fish and Game assistant document shredder, Staten Island Plotnick, that I dated some years back, proving the new adage that we mate (or date) what we rate.

Mrs. Roddick

US Open Tennis and Wimbledon are my two favorite sporting events, but I do follow the other Grand Slam tennis tournaments as well, the Opens in Australia and France.  Even though her personality is deficient, I admire Serena’s athleticism, but as a human being, I prefer her sister, Venus, approximately one million times more.  I would love to see Venus, at age 30, win this year’s women’s singles final.  The fact that Serena withdrew claiming a suspicious foot injury increases Venus’s chances of capturing this top prize once again.

Ironically, the highest paid female athlete today is not the top seed, Serena, but number fourteen, Maria Sharapova.  In January she signed an eight-year contract with Nike worth $70 million.  Milton and I find this mind-blowing since she last won a Grand Slam in 2008.  Serena’s won five Grand Slam titles in the last two years.  Unlike Serena, Sharapova has a winning personality, and coincidentally, she looks like a model.  Sharapova easily won her match Thursday against Iveta Benesova.  If Sharapova reaches the finals against Venus, that would be exciting.  Neither of them has won a Grand Slam since 2008.

Without Serena playing, the women’s draw overall is much less exciting this year, but even without Roddick, the men’s draw remains very competitive.  The final I would love to see is Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal.  They have played each other 21 times, but never at the US Open, the only Grand Slam tournament Nadal has yet to win.  If this match happens, my allegiance will be with Rafa, but if Federer wins, and it is not because of a foot-fault call, I will be okay with it since I like him very much, too.

About Federer … what to make of this video?  Did he really knock the can off this guy’s head twice?  He will not confirm or deny it.  Hm.

Shoes are also news in the US Open.  Federer is wearing ones decorated with the New York skyline, which I much prefer over the pompous Federer crest blazer he wore in 2006 at Wimbledon.

Federer's New York State of mind tennis shoes.

Last year, the teenage upstart from Marietta, Georgia, Melanie Oudin, got very lucky when she somehow managed to beat three far superior players, including Sharapova, while wearing shoes inscribed “Believe,” until Caroline Wozniacki, wearing shoes invisibly inscribed, “Reality bites,” knocked her out of the running.  Yet, Oudin, a spunky blonde, was last year’s media darling.

Melanie Oudin's 2009 Believe tennis shoes

While serving as play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports during weekend coverage of the Open last year, Dick Enberg gushed that Oudin “is the kind of kid you wish lived next door.”

Oh, you really think that, Dick?  Clearly, you don’t know me.

This year Oudin wore tennis shoes inscribed “Courage.”

Melanie Oudin's 2010 Courage tennis shoe

She got knocked out in the second round.  I don’t think foot-faulting was a significant factor.  I do think if she let go of the shoe inscribing, and focused more on her serve, that might take her game in a more winning direction.  Of course, this is easy for me to say as I foot-fault my way through life.

Lame Adventures Woman Disgruntled Jack Purcell sneaker

Lame Adventure 93: Back Again

Last month I had my annual mammogram.   This is a routine exam I have done every year at Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s downtown diagnostic center.  For anyone unfamiliar with what this exam entails, it is an x-ray that is a screening and diagnostic tool for breast cancer.  The procedure is one that is not particularly pleasant, but it is important so I do it.  A friend’s description of it being akin to laying a breast on a cold cement floor and then having a refrigerator slam down hard on it is an accurate account of what a mammogram entails.

Since I am minimally breasted, the technicians are challenged, but they have always managed to get the shot, even if that means I depart the premises significantly welted.  A few weeks after my exam they send me a form letter announcing the results.  It usually starts that they’re “pleased to report that the result of your breast examination on [date] showed no evidence of cancer.”

This year was different.

I got a phone call.

The second I heard the caller, a very pleasant woman, say she was calling from the diagnostic center, an alarm bell rang so loudly in my head that I was initially deaf to what followed.  All I was thinking at that moment was:

Me:  I’m gonna die!!!!!!!!!!

While I proceeded to hyperventilate into a brown paper bag, the Caller calmly continued.

Caller:  The doctor couldn’t read the image of your right breast.

I groan loudly and hope my family remembers that I want to be cremated.

Caller:  We think everything is normal.  We just need to retake that one image to be sure.  This happens occasionally.

Realizing that this is probably nothing more than a routine snafu, I resume thinking about other things such as US Open Tennis, what films I want to see at the upcoming New York Film Festival, and how close I came to accidentally gargling with toilet bowl cleaner instead of Cool Mint Listerine.  I was very tired, not paying attention to what I was doing, and they both smelled minty.

Less filling. Tastes great.

The one thing that does make me think of having to take this test again is that The Flusher, the crazy drunk neighbor that lives below me, is uncharacteristically nice to me.  I call him The Flusher because he has this annoying habit of flushing his toilet repeatedly.  One night, when a friend was visiting, we counted 77 flushes in a row.  He has also done this when I’m showering.  Every so often I nearly suffer a third degree burn.  The Flusher, reeking of alcohol at 8:30 in the morning, is returning from a cheap beer run just as I am leaving for work.

The Flusher holds the door for me.  He never holds the door for me.  Ever.  Immediately, I’m suspicious.  He also speaks.  The last time he spoke to me was so many years ago, he still had hair to comb over.  He issued a torrent of  anti-Semitic slurs in my direction.  I’m not Jewish.  I do not feel warm or fuzzy towards this guy.

The Flusher:  Ya got a lear there.

Me (confused):  I’ve got a what where?

The Flusher points at the radiator cover where tenants often dump their junk mail.  Isolated from the pile of junk is an envelope addressed to me from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  Apparently, it was delivered in someone else’s mail box.  The Flusher’s?  I take my letter.

My lear.

Me:  Thanks.  I didn’t notice that.

The Flusher looks at me spooked.  He might now think my name is Marked For Death.  He probably fears my ghost.  It was just a form letter about calling the diagnostic center to set up the second appointment.  When The Flusher figures out that I still have my health, I expect that he’ll revert back to his regular loutish self.  If he’s feeling sentimental, he might call me something anti-Semitic.

On a very hot and humid day, I return as scheduled to the diagnostic center where I have the one image of my right breast retaken.  When the attendant asks if I remembered to not apply deodorant, I assure her:

Me:  Yes, I’m not wearing any – much to the dismay of all my fellow passengers on that 2 train.

Blame me.

They do not make me sit for very long in the waiting room.  I only have to hear a single bastardized version of Barbra Streisand’s first huge hit, People.  When I was last there I recognized several songs I loathed that I had not heard in decades such as Anne Murray’s Snowbird.

The procedure itself was swift, which is as close to painless as a mammogram can be.  They made sure I went with their gold medal technician this time.  Within ten minutes, I was given my diagnosis, a clean bill of health, so I was free to slather myself with deodorant and not see them again for another year.  Phew!