Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The pictures I did not take in Charleston

I did not do much sightseeing over the past weekend in Charleston, and when I did go round and about, I forgot to take the camera. My focus all weekend was on tennis.

As a result, I have no photos to show of you of the amazing Ravenel bridge that crosses the Cooper river and connects downtown Charleston to the Mt. Pleasant area where our hotel was located. The hotels on Daniel Island were completely sold out so I had to settle for this commute. A word to the wise -- check the status of road construction before booking your hotel next year. It can make all the difference between an easy commute and a slight nightmare.

I also don't have photos of the trendy shopping and hipster vibe of downtown Charlotte, with fit young men riding pedicabs, a modern day version of the old hansom cab except that you can substitute gorgeous young men for stallions. Or maybe you can just call them stallions. As long as you tip well I suspect they won't mind what you call them. I strongly recommend eating at the Mellow Mushroom. Great pizza and such a laid-back vibe. I loved it.

I also don't have photos of the boats laid out one next to the other in the beautiful bay of the Isle of Palms. There is a distinct Caribbean feel to this part of Charleston. I could really imagine myself living there.

Back at the Family Circle Cup, I went looking to take a picture of the plaque or picture of Althea Gibson to whom the secondary court is dedicated. I could find neither. I asked an attendant and she had no idea where it was. But never mind, I find it comforting that there is a court dedicated to the memory of a great African-American player.

I thought of her as I sat behind a group of white American women during the Serena vs. Sam Stosur match. It was almost funny the way they tried to wrap their beer-soaked tongues around the phrase "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi". Of course people have the right to support whomever they want. But there is an unspeakable sadness about the fact that so many Americans do not see Venus and Serena as simply American. They see them first and foremost as Black. That alone explained why so much of the crowd seemed to be rooting for Sam. Against Safarova they seemed to accept that there was no hope so they just mainly stayed silent.

We have come so far and we have yet so far to go. So ironic that on the same weekend we were celebrating the group of women who got the WTA tour started. Virginia Slims was the first sponsor. “We've come a long way baby” was the slogan. Oh really?

At her interview Sam was asked about playing against Serena. She had nothing but praise for her opponent. If there was some hidden negative aspect to her body language, well then I completely missed it. All I saw was an athlete offering a genuine appraisal of her game and that of her opponent's. I wish her fans could learn from her example and start seeing beyond color.

But back to the pictures that I did not take over the weekend. I thought of taking pictures of some of Venus' outfits at the re-launching of her EleVen line. But none of the pieces inspired me. I felt that the collection lacked cohesion. There seemed to be more of a commitment to a color scheme than to a design esthetic. There were blacks and whites, a lot of pinks, and grays. There was watercolor, animal-like prints, and scribbles that bordered on graffiti. But there was no coherence to the collection. I did however like the black and white animal-print like capri leggings that Venus herself wore on court. Perhaps these had sold out because none of them were hanging in the shop.

In the end, the only photos I took were of tennis. In my next thread I will post a selection. It will be my first purely pictures thread. Feel free to add your own captions. And do remember to please ask my permission before using.


3 comments:

Jack said...

I am a professional tennis coach and brought my daughter (12) to watch the Family Circle Cup qualifying. We had a great time and I got to see some of my friends from the time I coached on tour.

I was in awe of the ball striking and the athleticism on the tour now but thought strategically they had a ways to go. I can't count how many times I saw a player up 40-love or love-40 and lose that game. I didn't see any use of patterns or strategies on those points, they just kept banging harder and harder.

This was the qualies so they weren't the top 50 women playing but I was disappointed in the 'thinking' on court. We had a fantastic time at the tournament and in Charleston, what a fun city. My daughter came back full of desire for practice and matches, mission accomplished.

Your thoughts?

Jack in Travelers Rest SC
Cliffs Communities/PBI

tennischick said...

Thanks for your comment. Some time ago I wrote an article in which I called the women players daughters of Sampras and the men players sons of Hingis. I was trying to make this same point that you have made so succinctly. It is ridiculous to watch these women just banging away from the baseline. Radwanska has become a refreshing change of pace. And to think I used to find her mind-numbng to watch!

Jack said...

I remember long ago in the 80's someone asked a top player 'what is the biggest weapon in Men's tennis?' The top players answer was 'Mats Wilander's brain!'

Hingis was a great thinker and you are correct that Radwanska is too. She wins a lot as she allows her opponents to lose instead of trying to win every point. She figures out what they don't like and gives them plenty of it.

Thanks for your fun responses :)

Jack in TR