Friday, 20 January 2012

Bernard Tomic - The Teenage Dream

Ned Flanders said you’re never alone when you’ve got a fluorescent light. Word. C.S. Lewis said we read to know we are not alone. Word again. I say you know you're not alone when you’re watching sports.
Bernard Tomic administered a five set beating with dramatic splendor last night and, bless the boy’s cotton socks, delivered me to that state of almost narcotic sports-induced bliss. Talk about a bristling thriller. Tennis. Goddamn. What a game. It’s gladiatorial. Two men enter the arena and only one leaves. In a figurative rather than a literal sense, but still. And both players have to lug their own kit bags. I just love this; the way both victor and loser have to set about fussily stowing their gear in those giant bags in the game’s immediate aftermath. It speaks of gritty realism and real-world truth – win or lose YOU CARRY YOUR OWN SHIT.

These – what is the word I’m searching for? – shitheels who only last year were painting Tomic as a demanding and combustible boy overburdened by ego and poised for a slow crash into the chasm of oblivion can today AND FOREVER MORE endure the wretchedness of looking into the dirty mirror of truth and seeing themselves reflected as the fuckwits that they are. Wily precociousness is GO!     
And for the rest of us, this now affords the opportunity to marinate in the self-satisfied smugness that comes from longtime, ‘before they were cool’ fandom. Back when he was all emaciated-adorable swagger, remember? Yes.

There are many reasons to love Bernard Tomic. Here are just four:
1. He has the sheen of a beautiful youth strolling through Elysian fields and at the same time he exudes dark, eastern European cragginess. His father coaches him and, unlike the Dokics, the two of them constitute a charming narrative wherein the weight of European history is exchanged for New World optimism. John Tomic is just dour and spiky enough to preserve the thread of gothic intensity running through this story, and Bernard has just about the right mixture of jovial intensity and together the two are an aching invocation of how truly awesome tennis is.
2. He used his racket to walk a cricket off the court in the middle of round two, thereby saving it from certain death by tennis shoe and endearing himself to me, and, upon my retelling, my judgemental mother, who has never missed an opportunity to comment on how she cares not for his 'hard cold face'. Wench.

3. He crosses himself. Subtly, though. He doesn't, like, drop to his knees in the way of religiously demonstative NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. That would be wack.
4. He goes for the Gold Coast Titans. He is a huge fan. Fantastic. I love finding out people I rate support loser teams. It's one of life's great levellers.   

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