One Thousand Words on Tennis vs. Writing

I predict that the next couple of weeks are going to be the most difficult yet in my brief blog-writing career.

It has nothing to do with the school year starting. And I’m not psychically predicting some family or work emergency that takes up all of my time. It’s because the US Open started today.

I’ve written a couple of time about my love of tennis. It’s the only sport I watch and the US Open is my favorite of all the tournaments. Maybe it has something to do with them playing just five hours south of here. Or the fact that I went to the US Open and saw Pete Sampras play in his last ever grand slam.

The US Open is known for its night matches. The men don’t usually start playing until at least 9 pm, and later if the women go three sets. That means a lot of late night tennis. Late nights as in fall asleep on the couch, wake up at 1 am and they’re still playing.

So how am I going to juggle all this great tennis with writing? Tonight I turned off the Open after Roger Federer won his first set, but that’s not going to happen every night for two weeks, I can tell you that right now. The first set is never the most exciting set in the match. And what would happen if there is a big upset? I would miss it by only watching the first set.

It’s obvious I need a game plan.

I could write during tennis. My blogs for the next two weeks could be a play by play of the match I’m watching.

I’ve always secretly (or not so secretly) wanted to be a tennis commentator. Ellen DeGeneres had a contest a few years ago where you could write in and tell her what job you’ve always wanted to try. Then she selected some people and let them do it. I almost wrote in about calling a tennis match, but I didn’t.

I think I’d be quite good at it. I know I’d be a good contrast to John McEnroe. He has the technical expertise for people who really know tennis and I’d be the commentator for everyone else. I’d make it interesting for people who don’t understand the difference between a forehand and a backhand.

Johnny Mac would say, “Nadal really has Federer on the defensive now. Do you see how he overshot that forehand?”

And I’d say, “Yes, but Roger’s hair is looking very good tonight. And I love how his socks match his shirt.” Or, “Rafa tweeted today that he had lunch at Bubba Gumps on Times Square. I guess that fried shrimp has given him a lot of energy for the match.”

I’m not sure how tennis commentary would translate in writing, though. It would be an awful lot of “Roger missed his first serve. He hit his second serve out wide. Rafa returned with a backhand. Roger came into the net.”

I don’t think I’d have any readers left by the end of two weeks of that. I guess I’ll wait to try my commentator skills until John McEnroe invites me to join him on ESPN2. If any of you know John, let him know I’m interested, ok?

I could try taking a break during the day to write.

I don’t normally take a lunch break. I just eat at my desk. I know it’s unhealthy, I should take a walk, blah, blah, blah. But I have a lot to do and since I’m more than capable of writing an email and eating a sandwich simultaneously, it seems like a waste of time to just sit and eat.

The trouble with the idea of writing at lunch is that if I’m in work mode all my posts be about work. On one hand, it would be a great way of multitasking. I could get one thousand words written and complete a grant application. Or write all the show descriptions for our season playbill. And if I ran out of work related writing projects, I could just write for the future. I could get all our annual appeal letters written through 2014.

But again, I think this would be very boring for people reading my blog. Nobody wants to read about my job for two whole weeks. And a reader happened to be on our mailing list, they might be less inclined to donate if they’ve all ready know what the letter says. I’d hate for contributions to go down because I’d leaked all the letters on my blog.

Another option would be to take a day and write as many posts as possible. I could stockpile them and post one before I go to bed each night. No one would know the difference.

On second thought, they probably would be able to tell. I’ve yet to be able to write two posts in a day without drying up. I’ve written a post and some fiction, but two opinion posts seem to be beyond my capabilities. I guess I don’t have that many opinions. If I tried to write fourteen one thousand words blogs in one day, I’d be writing gibberish by the third one.

Not to mention the fact that writing a bunch all at once breaks my own rules. The whole point of this blog is to write every day, not pretend to write every day.

I’m out of ideas. There seems to be no single way to reconcile writing and US Open night matches. So, I guess I’ll have to try a combination of all the options I listed above. One night I can write during a match. Another I can take a lunch break and write. And over the weekend I can write a couple of extras to have on hand.

Maybe I’ll even skip a match some night in favor of writing. If that’s not proof of how seriously I’m taking this project, I don’t know what is!

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