Friday, June 27, 2008

A few more weeks... has been a while since I've been in contact. And...really...this site isn't under construction. Rather, my computer crashed, and I am in the process of getting another. Until then, blogging will be sporadic at best. Still, if there needs to be a post that lingers at the top of the page...the most recent post more than suffices. But this too shall pass....Hope you are all well.

Monday, June 2, 2008

LOVE/LO-OVE! Or, A Five-Year Plan of My Very Own...

It's been nearly twenty years since the Soviet Union and its associated satellites fell. In the aftermath, Western Europe braced itself for a deluge of political and economic refugees with advanced mathematical training, but debilitating fashion sense (their union with the West at the "height" of the mullet's popularity has caused ever-so-many cultural misunderstandings ever since). Now, as le printemps turns to l'été in Paris, two decades later, Western Europe again girds its loins for a fresh invasion from the East. "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!"...and they brought friends. The French Open is being dominated by hot, young Slavs. For you see, as the Patsy Ramseys and Dina Lohans of this country were shuttling their daughters to and from child beauty pageants and The New Mickey Mouse Club auditions, the new kids on the (post-)Soviet bloc were being groomed by far more sensible showbiz parents, hardened by the harsh realities behind the Iron Curtain. They knew their daughters could never land speaking or singing roles if a Slavic tongue were spoken in the home, and in any case, family pride objected to casting agencies shortening Sharapova to Sharp. Instead, they gave their daughters the gift of tennis. And that gift, as of June 2008, just keeps on giving.

In the spirit of 2007's "Sweet 16 of Love," I unveil for you the 2008 French Open...Women's Seeding...of, er...Love. Now sadly, I've not posted with enough foresight to allow for any voting results on matches to be tallied before the end of the current Grand Slam (next weekend). I expect, however, that the field will be largely unchanged by July's Wimbledon tournament---played on grass---and the matter could easily be revisited then. The only criteria I set for the selection of this pool of 16 were that (1) either the player be ranked in the top 100 as of the start of the French Open, or (2) she make the draw for the French Open; all in all, a pool of 138 from which to choose. No consideration was given performance on the court (in terms of a player's tennis game) in selecting the 16. Only physical beauty qualifies an individual for this draw, the purpose of which is not to objectify or degrade these successful young women, but to expand our culture's "narrow"---and often harmful---ideals of feminine beauty to include the specific allure of the female athlete...and then to appreciate such. The fierce Olympian physique of the great Steffi Graf was a welcome transition from the Sanchez-Vicarios of yesteryear, and now we are witnessing the erection of a new paradigm in the evolution of women's tennis. This shift, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, has taken a while to develop, but, in the end...isn't "nearly twenty years" just about right? I hope everyone enjoys this final week of the French Open, and if a reader has not yet had the pleasure of embracing tennis...perhaps these sixteen will entice you.

The draw (in no particular order):

Ana Ivanović---ranked #2, Serbia
Daniela Hantuchová---ranked #10, Slovakia
Alyona Bondarenko---ranked #27, Ukraine
Petra Cetkovská---ranked #77, Czech Republic
Nicole Vaidišová---ranked #16, Czech Republic
Ashley Harkleroad---ranked #61, United States
Serena Williams---ranked #5, United States
Dominika Cibulková---ranked #31, Slovakia
Gisela Dulko---ranked #40, Argentina
Sania Mirza---ranked #32, India
Tatiana Golovin---ranked #21, France
Sabine Lisicki---ranked #83, Germany
Elena Dementieva---ranked #8, Russia
Marta Domachowska---ranked #73, Poland
Maria Kirilenko---ranked #23, Russia
Maria Sharapova---ranked #1, Russia

Sunday, June 1, 2008