FIFA World Cup and Polish Boyfriends

Hi all. I’m definitely a bit behind this week. Just started the summer program in my school district and spent about four hours total trying to schedule three mornings worth of students. I suppose lots of folks hope to win the lottery, but I’d be satisfied with $500/week for life. Then I’d take the summer off—for once since my early teenage years, when I wasn’t old enough to work. (I’d still have to keep the day job, but figure $350 after taxes ain’t a bad thing…)

Anyway, y’all know tennis is my game and I’m currently following Wimbledon. Yes, I know, Rafa is out. He managed to hold his own during a trouncing by qualifier Nick Kyrgios, but I’m happy Rafa beat Rosol in the second round. The rest—it is what it is. Who knows? Federer might take Grand Slam #18. That would work too. 🙂

tennis Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art

I’m not a big fan of soccer—that’s my little Italian mamma’s thing. She keeps me updated on FIFA World Cup standings, but I know it’s a big deal to lots of folks (including many of my favorite tennis players).

We’ve talked about the anxiety that seems to run on my mom’s side of the family. I promise you, some of these wonderful folks can take the simplest of situations and work themselves into a ridiculous frenzy over what they conjure into horror shows in their minds. Earlier today I remembered some loony stuff that ties into the 1990 World Cup.

I was working at my first full-time job, at a hospital in one of the boroughs of NYC. My friend had gotten married right around that time. She and her new hubby lived in a neighboring borough, had a couple of cats and needed someone to apartment-sit.

I offered. My anxious Italian mamma was not happy with my decision. In fact, she was so annoyed with me, she told me I shouldn’t have bothered calling her on the Monday immediately following the wedding, my first day as cat-sitter.

So the next day, I hung out late at work. Stayed to watch the final match, West Germany vs. Argentina, the team that took out the host team, Italy. (My friend might not have had cable. This many years down the line, the details are a tad fuzzy.)

soccer player

Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art

Aside: I’m not sure how valid this statement is, but don’t most Italians believe Italy should always win when it comes to soccer? If I remember correctly though, there was some questionable stuff associated with Argentina’s win, so any fans of Italy rooted for West Germany just to see Argentina get its due.

BTW, I didn’t call Mamma. (She told me not to bother the day before, right? I was being a good listener 😀 .)

Went to see a private patient after the game. Rolled into my friend’s apartment around seven or so.

I might have been in five minutes when the phone started ringing. (This was in the pre-cell phone era.)

At the other end was a work friend. “Call your mother. She’s looking for you and she sounded upset.”

A second friend called a very short while later. This one lived in my state, about twenty minutes from my house. “Call your mother. She has no idea where you are. She’s really worried.”

My newly-wedded friend’s mother called. “Call your mother! My husband’s going crazy over here.”

Turns out, my mamma went through my phone book and started making calls to any name she recognized. My newlywed pal’s stepfather—let’s call him Teddy—was born in Poland. His English is broken (but very entertaining) to this day.

I learned Teddy had the misfortune of picking up the phone. His conversation with my mother had him defending himself that he had no reason to take up with a 26-year-old girl. (My friend and I still laugh about it, and Teddy has retained the honor of being “first Polish boyfriend.” The second one never worked out. Thank. God.)

Anyway, I’m sure I wound up in an argument with my mamma that evening.

But for the sake of the people in my phone book, I called her the rest of the time I apartment sat.

Any FIFA World Cup memories of your own to share? Or stuff your parents did to make you nuts stories to tell about? You’re among friends here!

On a separate note: Quickie shout-out on behalf of long-time friend and very prolific screenplay writer Ric Rodriguez. He’s recently discovered blogging and sharing about his journey and other thoughts.  Check out his website/blog and show him some love! Many thanks to those of you who take the time to do so. 🙂

American flag

Happy Independence Day to all my American buds! (Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art)

Here’s to a wonderful day,

Joanna

Advertisements

Does Andy Murray’s Olympic Gold Count?

The 2012 Olympics are complete, flame’s out, flag’s been passed and the athletes gone.

Hi all. Just beginning to catch up after a week away and a very busy weekend. Hope all is well and that y’all missed me terribly while I was ‘out.’ 😉

Okay, I had to go here. This one wouldn’t leave me, and I’m sorry, but it’s a bit of a rant. (Besides, US Tennis Open qualifying action starts in a few hours. I’ve got tennis on the brain, lol.)

Until Wimbledon 2012, Andy Murray was, simply put, a top-five player. I respected his game—you have to have some skill to be the world’s Number Four—but he didn’t excite me as a fan. The tennis world didn’t seem to consider him a major contender either. Recent slam wins were reserved for Rafael Nadal (Rafa), Novak Djokovic (Nole or Djoker) and “the great” Roger Federer (The Fed).

Well, go figure. Andy signs on former champion (and very stoic) Ivan Lendl as coach and is now hanging in much tougher at the big venues. He made it to this year’s Wimbledon’s final and held his own big-time against The Fed, who’s earned many a trophy there. Murray played a great match, took second place and gained a tremendous amount of respect and fans that day.

Fast forward to one month later: Centre Court, Wimbledon, London 2012 Olympic gold medal tennis match. Andy vs. Roger, in a rematch of four weeks before. This time, Andy emerges with the title.

And what do the commentators say?! “Does this count?” (As in, is this title big enough to be the equivalent of a slam?)

REALLY?!

I mean:

REALLY??!!

Andy Murray wins his first REALLY big tournament at a venue that takes place ONCE every FOUR years. He claimed gold at Wimbledon, in his home court of London, representing Great Britain as he has since he joined the circuit. The addition of pros to Olympic competition—especially in tennis—kind of makes it REALLY hard for any non-pro to medal at all, let alone take gold.

So, essentially, Andy Murray won the gold Olympic medal against his peers, the elite of the elite when it comes to tennis. (BTW, let’s not forget Roger walking away with silver and Juan Martin DelPotro taking the bronze from—OMG!—the world’s Number One player, Djoker! You think DelPo’s not proud of THAT achievement? And while we’re at it, let’s recall that DelPo beat Rafa in the semis to beat The Fed in the 2009 US Open Tennis Championships. Nuff said.)

Unfortunately, since the days of Nancy Kerrigan taking silver (God-forbid) for her figure-skating grace and poise, anything but a gold medal seems glossed over and almost non-important. (Geez, Louise! I took second place in a writer’s contest and was every bit as excited as if I’d taken the top spot. Soon as I opened that email, I started shouting, “I’m the first loser in the contest!!!” all over the house. That’s hubby’s line, btw.)

Back to tennis: I do not pretend to understand pro rankings, but I do know playing in the Olympics “counts” toward rankings. Guess what: the commentators know that too. Perhaps they were being facetious and I heard the words and missed the tone? I suppose anything is possible. But, uh, commentator guys—you know who you are—let’s not downplay Olympic gold. No one’s forgotten Rafa’s (garnered in Beijing). I’m thinking most tennis fans—and especially Murray’s—are all going to remember well Andy’s first ‘BIG’ win.

Whew. Done. Thanks for letting me vent.

Here’s a link to a great photo of Andy sporting his gold medal! (No fun not being able to post a picture in the blog, what with copyright nightmares another blogger is dealing with.)

If you please, SHARE via one of the buttons. I do so thank you!

Have a great day and TTFN,

Joanna