Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Slap Hitter: Tiger Woods and the Incovenient Truth

Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 8:01 PM

Monday, middle of the day everyone near a TV set extended their lunch hour for as long as their boss would let them (and longer if the boss was in there watching too) a sporting event they ordinarily wouldn't watch at a time they'd never look for a televised sport. I know because I was one of them. The finish of the U.S. Open was a moment made all the sweeter because of its serendipity. Whatever the opposite of "appointment television" is; this was it. Back to the future as knots of strangers huddle around whatever video screen was on, commenting to the air with the hope that one of the strangers would take our expressed thought and respond to it. And it was a moment that plucked a nostalgic chord for those of us who ever looked at a game in the appliance department, ducked into a bar or snuck out of the party into the TV room to catch the last swing.

Monday, middle of the day everyone near a TV set extended their lunch hour for as long as their boss would let them (and longer if the boss was in there watching too) a sporting event they ordinarily wouldn't watch at a time they'd never look for a televised sport. I know because I was one of them. The finish of the U.S. Open was a moment made all the sweeter because of its serendipity. Whatever the opposite of "appointment television" is; this was it. Back to the future as knots of strangers huddle around whatever video screen was on, commenting to the air with the hope that one of the strangers near us would take the our expressed thought and respond to it. And it was a moment that plucked a nostalgic chord for those of us who ever looked at a game in the appliance department, ducked into a bar or snuck out of the party into the TV room to catch the last swing.

Maybe it was better because it wasn't scheduled, maybe it was because it was a moment of stolen time. Rocco and Tiger had dilettantes gasping as to whether an approach shot would scan the water. And others hoping to glean what "lying two" even meant. Conversations directed at the screen, "I didn't know you played golf…" and a kind of respect for the one guy in the room who seemed to know more than the whispering announcers. Philosophy and sport: why were we rooting for Tiger to win? We hate the Yankees and the overdogs, yet why were we twisting with Wood's saving putt?

The win was Tiger's, the respect was Rocco's, the moment was ours.— Kibby Kleiman

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