Who watched that incredible, for-the-ages, heartbreaking U.S. Open men's tennis final last night? I am still making tears and associated sad faces. Roger Federer, my Rogie, is one of the greatest players of all time and also one of the classiest. I mean, did you hear his speech just prior to being given that lame-arse, second-place plate?
People, the plates have got to be retired. No one spends six hours a day for 18 years sweating and becoming super-human to win a plate. Even if it's sterling silver and engraved.
Back to Rogie. The wavy hair atop his head never succumbs to scalp sweat. He is always gracious and lovely. He and his wife have TWO sets of twins. The colored side vents in his tennis shirts always line up with the same-color stripes running up the sides of his shorts. That alone is worth something more than a plate.
I honestly think that nothing more needs to be said in support of Roger. Except that if ever you've wondered why I love Benedict, it's rather the same: both RF and BC are expert at their skill, both are classy beyond compare, AND both can wear a suit like nobody's business. Who could want more? Or, what more could one want?
Last night's game was an epic one: two real champions duking it out with various crests and falls of greatness. When T and I had been dating for about two months, I got tickets to the U.S. Open final between Sampras and Agassi. Another historic showdown, not least because Petey retired shortly after. I wonder if Rogie will do the same soon.
I grew up watching and loving tennis. I was a terrible tennis player, but my parents, sister and I used to set up a large "nest" on our family room floor -blankets, pillows, etc- and watch as much of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open as possible. My Nanny loved the sport too, and until she was no longer able, she often joined our family view sessions.
Once I moved away and when she was too old to travel, I'd call her at the start of a match; she and I always loved the same players. Stefan (now, fabulously, Roger's coach), Pete, Roger.
"Nan, do you have the game on? Are you watching?"
"Oh yes, do you? Isn't X handsome?"
"He sure is, Nan. I love you. I'll call you after the game, OK?"
I really wanted to call Nanny last night, both before and after the game. It's in these little moments that I miss her so deeply.
Last week, somewhere, I saw a darling elderly woman wearing those elastic-waist, faux-denim pants that Nanny always wore. Where does one get those? Will I find out after I'm 70? I saw that woman and I gasped. I wanted to see if she, like Nanny, had on a camisole, under her button-up shirt. Did she use Aqua Net hairspray? Did she wear Sas shoes? I wanted to hug her, and maybe take her hand, to see if it was soft and cool and smooth like Nanny's, like I can't imagine mine ever being.
I couldn't do any of those things, but last night, as I saw Jack get really excited about the thrilling match we were watching; as I saw something spark in him the way it must have once sparked in me; as T, who has the crappiest cold, gave in and wandered off to bed,
I thought, "My Nan is gone, but my Jack is here. And if I let him stay up late with me tonight, watching heroic sportsmanship and athletic ability play out in front of us, maybe he'll come to love this sport as I do. Maybe we'll watch Wimbledon and the U.S. Open together each year and perhaps, if we're lucky sometime, we'll go to either tourney in person, together, and see something that we'll never forget."
Maybe one day, he'll call me or his child will call me, and say, 'Nan, do you have the game on?' And I'll have found those elasticized pants and the perfect recliner, and I'll be so happy my grandchild is calling, and I'll say, "Oh yes, do you? He is so handsome!"
Though I'm still heartbroken for Roger, I don't regret our late night one bit.