Dependable Erection

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Everybody's talking 'bout Landon Donovan . . .

and rightly so, but meanwhile, over in London:
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut tore up the record books as their epic first-round contest at Wimbledon became the longest in tennis history.

The match was locked at 59-59 in the final set after 10 hours of play when it was suspended because of bad light.

The decision meant that, incredibly, the contest would go into a third day, having been called off at two sets all on Tuesday for the same reason.

It will resume on Court 18 on Thursday after two other singles matches.

The final set, which began shortly after 1400 BST on Wednesday and was still going seven hours later when the sun went down, is already longer than any match ever played.

So, if you had tickets to watch that match when it began on Tuesday, does that mean you get in to see the finish tomorrow?



  • It's actually seemed to me that people are talking more about this match than about the US match, and I think that's silly. The Wimbledon match is great theater, but ultimately is sort of a novelty side show, with great courage being displayed but not necessarily great tennis.

    The World Cup game, on the other hand, is one of the biggest US soccer victories in history, and the most dramatic finish to a soccer game I've ever seen, and gave the US its first real group win in World Cup play. I'm bummed to see Wimbledon getting more play than a huge win by one of the most charismatic and likable US teams in any sport that I can remember.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 11:57 AM  

  • I gotta wonder about you sometimes, Michael.

    You can see dramatic finishes like that every week in soccer, and i daresay that today's just concluded Slovakia - Italy match, with 4 goals in the last 17 minutes plus stoppage time, leaving Italy just short of qualifying by losing 3-2, was far and away more exciting.

    Two equally matched contestants unable to break each other down for what - 12 hours of competition? - that's a once in a lifetime thing, and people should be talking about it.

    Besides, the US plays again on Saturday, against the team that knocked them out of the World Cup 4 years ago.

    That'll be exciting.

    Oh, and Isner won. check out this scoreline: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68.

    By Blogger Barry, at 12:08 PM  

  • Okay, I admit. Maybe it's just because tennis bores me to tears.

    However, you don't see finishes like that "every week," because "every week" there isn't the chance to win your group in World Cup competition or go home. If you're pooh-poohing a stoppage time goal to break a scoreless game and win your group over a world power (yes, on the back of a garbage goal, but still), particularly overcoming two egregiously disallowed goals (yes, not the first, worst, or even and unusual outrage, but an outrage nonetheless), then I'm not sure what's wrong with you. Yes, the Slovakia game looked like a great one, and I'm sure there's been others, but I did qualify it with, "most dramatic . . . I've ever seen." I admit -- I don't watch a lot of soccer, so I'm sure there have been more dramatic finishes, but in US soccer history?

    Quite frankly, if you have any interest in seeing soccer not even go mainstream, but at least make it on mainstream TV a little more often in the US, you should want people talking about US-Algeria A LOT. As shallow as it is, it's often dramatic games that turn people on to a sport. Witness the 1958 NFL Championship, before which American/Massasoit/Ivy/Walter Camp/forward pass football was a pretty minor American sport. Witness the growth in popularity of hockey following the "Miracle on Ice" (granted, Gretzky helped that too...). I can mark the point at which baseball went from some dumb thing my dad watched to an intriguing sport at Kurt Gibson's epic home run for the Dodgers in the World series.

    This was the kind of game that, in the context of a larger run, could be that kind of landmark, because unlike the tie against England (probably a more heroic result), it could be boiled down to the fabulous highlight of Howard clearing it long, four American players out-sprinting the Algerians down the field, and the charismatic Donovan slamming it into the net. It wasn't even Donovan's best goal of the World Cup so far, but I've seen the highlight of him diving to the corner flag and getting buried in the jubilant dogpile about 50 times now, and I'm still not tired of it. On top of it, it was an actual win, not a draw.

    Anyway, I'm not saying don't talk about the match -- sure, it's definitely worth noting. But to me, it got more billing (from the sports web sites and highlight shows I managed to catch) than the World Cup, and I'm saying that's bogus.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 1:44 PM  

  • The tennis marathon is a good story, no question. However, it's also a novelty episode in which two journeymen tennis players boomed unreturnable serves at each other for three days at the one world tournament that doesn't have a tie-breaker rule.

    As for the US victory over Algeria, Jason Whitlock makes a good argument here that we shouldn't get TOO excited.

    The short version: Stop pretending that David has just beaten Goliath. We damn well should have beaten Algeria.

    By Blogger David, at 2:20 PM  

  • I'm just pissed 'cause i had a perfect bracket going until that goal.

    By Blogger Barry, at 2:24 PM  

  • Well, we all thought you were nuts picking Slovenia anyway. (And again, yes, outrages happen all the time in soccer, but had the Coulibali/Edu goal counted, it wouldn't even have come down to the last game.)

    As far as David vs. Goliath, yes, Algeria is the game that we certainly should have won, but this WC has been littered with "should haves" left and right. We did, in fact, get the goal, and we beat out England for the group, which is most certainly David vs. Goliath.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 3:22 PM  

  • Just as a follow-up, tell me if you've ever seen anything like this reaction on a widespread basis over footy in this country.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 6:07 PM  

  • I'd argue that his goal at the start of the second half of the Slovenia game was both better and more important.

    If he doesn't get that goal, the US most likely loses the Slovenia game, and the Algeria game becomes a battle for third place. As an individual piece of skill it was also sublime.

    No argument that it caught people's attention.

    By Blogger Barry, at 6:11 PM  

  • I'd agree. Better goal, more important. But not more dramatic.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 12:34 AM  

  • Not to belabor the point about just how much of an underdog the US team is or isn't, but one point in favor of us being more of a Goliath than a David:

    While the professional game is small potatoes in this country, our top players are world class. Only four members of the team play in the MLS. The other 19 play in Europe and Mexico (20 if you count Landon Donovan's very successful loan stint to Everton earlier this year).

    By Blogger David, at 11:54 AM  

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