A friend of mine recently remarked that for all my talk of supporting tennis, he has never seen me consciously make the decision to support tennis sponsors. Sure I buy tennis rackets (and I have a bone to pick with Steffi and Andre about that piece of crap called 'the Youtek Three Star' that Head put out with their ringing endorsement -- but I digress). Sure you buy tennis rackets and balls, my friend observed, but have you ever driven a Kia? Or decided to write only with Pilot pens? Do you put your money where your mouth is when it comes to supporting tennis sponsors?
Well I have to admit that he stopped me cold. Not just me, but the group of women I was with at the ale house. We’d gotten into a habit of ending some scorching Saturday afternoon tennis sessions by downing a few at a local sports pub. That Saturday he decided to join us. And he threw down the gauntlet regarding tennis sponsorship. For a sport to survive, he bellowed self-importantly, fans have to be willing to put their money where their mouth is. They have to buy the products that tennis sponsors sell!
Are you asking me to buy that piece of crap shoe that opened up on Guga’s feet on the tennis court, one of my friends wondered. We giggled hysterically. And then started throwing out ideas of products we wouldn’t be caught dead in. Like anything worn recently by Maria Sharapova. I suppose I could always order a Sham-Wow, another friend remarked, I always see them advertising on the Tennis Channel. We carried on like this until the next pitcher arrived.
The man became increasingly irritated. Here we were making fun of his idea when he was being totally serious. In part to pacify him, I suggested an experiment. How about if we spent the rest of the weekend making every single purchase about tennis? How about a weekend of total immersion in supporting tennis sponsorship?
My girlfriends giggled nervously. They looked at me as if I had lost my mind. The boyfriend slapped the table and bellowed his support. He gets loud when he’s had a few.
I said, in that case let’s make the next pitcher Stella Artois beer. Too easy. It was the rest of the weekend that proved to become unbelievably hard. Full disclosure -- I didn’t make it past Saturday night.
The first problem was that I had forgotten I had to get my hair done. Could I give money to a hairdresser? The good news was that my bank is a tennis sponsor, so withdrawing cash was no problem. But how to spend it? Were there any hair care companies that support tennis? I combed the internet to find out. And sure enough discovered that Garnier Nutrisse have indeed sponsored tennis. Come to think of it, I still have samples of their sunscreen that I collected at the US Open. And if I say so myself, I didn’t do a bad job. My roots no longer looked jaded. So far so good.
I had plans to meet a co-worker to go to the movies. Neither of us had seen Avatar and had decided to belatedly catch it at the cheap show. Sure we could rent the DVD but we wanted to see what all the fuss was about on a big screen with 3-D glasses.
But did James Cameron support tennis? I mean the man has millions and can easily start his own tournament. But what did seeing blue people with tails have to do with tennis? And could I even pay for the damn 3-D glasses? (How soon before that gets introduced to tennis TV coverage? What a potentially cool idea! You read it here first folks).
This plan was turning into a wreck before my eyes. In fact, the more I sobered up, the more implausible it seemed. Again I turned to Google for assistance. Not a damn thing. The impression I got of these blue people was that they never played any games at all. Unless you call taming dragons a game. Dragons that could kill them. Not to mention all the time they seem to spend busy fighting off human invaders. ¡Ay, caramba!
Clearly this drunken decision was not going to work. I’d have to re-think it another day when I was stone cold-sober. Or maybe I should have been guided more by the spirit of my friend’s suggestion, than by the literalness of it. Support tennis by supporting its sponsors, when you can. And, in my case, not just when buying the next pitcher of beer.
It served me right that the cinema was out of 3-D glasses. And I still don’t see what all the fuss was about. The man plain old ripped off the Bible, and every damn African legend.