It’s Wimbledon Week. (as I write this, Nadal just lost the first set in the Gentlemen’s Final. Update: he just lost to Novak Djokovic).
The New York Times has a terrific essay: Tennis by the Book by Touré (Touré, now a writer, was once a #1 ranked tennis player). It’s a look at some great tennis writing. The winner, the top article of all, is the incomparable Federer as Religious Experience by David Foster Wallace (listed in the top 25 on Cool Tools list of the greatest 100 magazine articles. I blogged about this list here).
Here’s the quote for the day:
Genius is not replicable. Inspiration, though, is contagious, and multiform — and even just to see, close up, power and aggression made vulnerable to beauty is to feel inspired and (in a fleeting, mortal way) reconciled.
In speech class, I have my students read poems – to work on diction, vocal variery, verbal punch.
Many/most of my students don’t know the poetry. Did you know that practically none of today’s students have ever even heard Casey at the Bat? Astonishing!
One of the poems I have them read is If by Rudyard Kipling; you know, the one that begins with:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…
Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia about the poem:
It is often voted Britain’s favourite poem. The poem’s line, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same” is written on the wall of the centre court players’ entrance at the British tennis tournament, Wimbledon, and the entire poem was read in a promotional video for the Wimbledon 2008 gentleman’s final by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. (link below).
So, today I’m reading Ebert’s reviews of the new movies for the week (as I do nearly every Friday). He loved Secretariat – four stars, “This is one of the year’s best films” – his most coveted line!
And in his review, Secretariat, this line about Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) jumped out at me:
She looked at the greatest racehorse in the world and knew she was right, when all about her were losing their heads and blaming it on her.
The reading by Federer and Nadal is a protected video, so I can’t imbed it. Watch it here.