all that, very, very good.
i love a day when i can drag my blanket from bed to couch, and watch movies from morning til night.
and i love any morning when i can drink coffee and watch some tennis on tv. throw in a bagel, and it's a party.
there have been quite a few opportunities to watch some great "morning" matches in the last couple of weeks, but work's been encroaching on my fantasy life. the other night, my favorite player started his semi-final match at 3:30am ny time. and for a moment, i considered staying up. but on a "school night," it just wouldn't have been smart. so i set the dvr.
when i got up on friday at 7am, i expected the match would be over. but as most people know by now, the match--the longest in australian open history--was only half in the bag at that point. i was thrilled that i had the opportunity to watch it LIVE, and that was before i realized how thrilling the actual tennis would be. within minutes, i was riled up: OOF! NICE! JE-SUS! DAAAAMN! I even threw in a little tagalog--"PUNETA!" i'm not even sure what that means exactly. but you get the idea.
at a certain point, i just felt bad for both of them. they'd sit at the change overs buried under ice packs, looking more and more disheveled. and yet the quality of the tennis remained stunning. who would crack first? i almost couldn't bear to watch them push themselves and each other, physically and mentally--it was a relief for me to have to get ready for work. when nadal would seem to struggle, and play defensively, or verdasco would crush a winner, i'd start poking around in my closet, distracting myself with decisions like, skirt or jeans? black tights or grey? striped sweater or solid?
but by the middle of the 5th set, i was sitting on the edge of my couch, fully dressed, with my black north face jacket on. zipped. i was already late for work. but i couldn't decide if my heart could handle staying--or if i would kick myself for leaving.
i'm glad i stayed. not just because nadal won, but at triple match point, i saw a look on nadal's face that, to me, told the whole story. exhaustion, desperation, on the verge of tears (and in about 2 seconds, that look was gone). if i were a photographer, that would be the shot i'd want, that i'd use to tell the story. if nadal had won or lost, that look said everything about that 5 hour, 14 minute match. as a photographer, i'm sure it's no easy decision what to focus on, at any one moment. so much of it is luck. and i imagine, you must always feel like you're missing something. and for an editor, the money shot usually reflects the outcome, whether it's expressed in a physical gesture, or a more emotional portrait.
but this is the kind of stuff i get to dream about from my couch. so i dreamed i took "that" shot. and i couldn't shake that image all day long.
my favorite writer offered his impressions of the semifinal match, with particular appreciation for how expressive nadal is (at 4-3 in the fifth, he observed "a trance-like bug-eyed look filled with exhaustion and maximum adrenaline at once" that he'd never seen before from nadal) and he included a fantastic, close-up shot of nadal's face (i love that his hair is all mussed under his bandana).
if your heart can stand it.
nice gallery of the semi-final via the la times here.