Monthly Archives: February 2009

How to… Be a tennis nut

1. Know the tennis calendar forwards and backwards. Following just Grand Slams is for wusses. You’ve got to know your nine Masters tournaments inside-out (think quick: which one is unofficially known as the fifth slam?). And then know which ATP 500 or ATP 250 tournament is taking place each week, right from Acapulco to Zagreb. (Hint: investing in an atlas might help).

2. Get intimately acquainted with Internet scoreboards and/or online feeds. If you depend on television to meet your tennis needs, you’ll never get to tennis nut territory. To follow the tournaments from Tokyoto Estoril (see above) you’ll need to a) watch choppy online feeds from said corners of the world (with Japanese/Portuguese commentary) or b) refresh the online scoreboard obsessively.

3. Reset your body clock for two-week periods during far-flung Grand Slams i.e. the Australian Open and U.S. Open. You need to be getting up at 2 a.m. to watch the five-set matches – and we’re not talking just the semis and the final either. If you’re getting enough sleep during these slams, you’re not there yet.

4. Spend far too much time on Internet forums. This is an essential and often overlooked aspect. To truly hit the zenith of tennis nut-hood, you need to be active on at least four dedicated tennis forums online, boldly defending your favourite players, trashing others, and getting down and dirty in the flame wars that result.

5. Be familiar with the names in the Top 50, or at least the Top 30 players, their quirks and their game. If your knowledge of tennis stops at ‘Nadal’ and ‘Federer’, you’re falling way short. We’re talking about knowing, for instance, that Feliciano Lopez (rank 34) is a Spaniard with pretty hair, a penchant for posing in the nude, and a surprising serve-and-volley game.

6. And finally, the true mark of a couch tennis nut is the tendency to wax eloquent on past matches/rivalries/records of the game. The further back you go and the more obscure the reference, the closer you are to attaining tennis nut nirvana. When a casual fan looks at you and goes “Who cares?” you know you’re almost there.

DIVYA KUMAR

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How to… Be a couch potato

1. Be prepared to work hard at this. You’re sniggering to yourself thinking, “This is gonna be a breeze — I’m a natural.” But we’re talking about the big leagues here, not your garden-variety, three hours-of-TV-a-day couch potato. This takes dedication and planning — memorised schedules and digital video recording, in case your job / family / real life gets in the way.

2. Just because regular programming — i.e. mindless sitcoms, trashy reality TV, and over-the-top soaps — are no longer running in the wee hours of the morning, doesn’t mean you’re off the clock. Get to know foreigners-dubbed-in-Tamil / Hindi / regional language of your choice on the TV shopping networks (you know you need that ab-buster the Arnie-look alike is selling) or their desi counterparts (Bhagyashree peddling Roopamrit — how the mighty have fallen). They’re your new best friends.

3. Invest in an eye-mask, preferably one of those with cooling properties (if at a loss, refer to the previous). Also, consider an exercise ball for your remote-hand (repetitive stress injuries aren’t an occupational hazard only for the IT crew). Both are going the extra mile for you here, and you might want to give them a brief break during commercials. But not for too long, or you’re going to miss out on the all-important ads.

4. Which brings us to this. Conventional couch-potato wisdom has it that commercial breaks are when you, the boob-tube addict, take a break. But this is not true. Because the hallmark of a true couch potato is the ability to reference all those annoying ads, hum their jingles (if you’re doing this right, they’re going to be stuck playing in a loop in your head anyway) and regurgitate their taglines.

5. Food is an essential part of this process (refer to Jughead, Archie comics). Useful tips include keeping the microwave within reaching distance, a shelf / basket with munchies at the foot of your couch, etc. For the truly marathon sessions, there’s always home delivery (but time the arrival of the delivery guy at least — significant moments of the show you’re watching).

DIVYA KUMAR

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