Fellow Isolationists!

I really appreciate you!

That’s one of the many silver-linings to an event like this (I think we agree there is always some sort of “silver-lining” in down-times, tragedies, losses, etc. — though I still find difficulty discerning the blessing-in-disguise of the loss of my mother: I’ll keep looking-in on that one.).

During such times you come to appreciate the simple things in life — food, for instance! By the way, can you believe the hoarding that’s occurred? As many have already said, shame on those who have taken more than they reasonably need, especially with so many people, often more vulnerable than the likely youngish hoarder, still needing basic grocery needs. Unreal.

We lean-in on family and friends. Of course, many are hunkering-down with their loved ones.  You should be. I do not understand those who continue to want to go out, mingle, and carry-on as if there is nothing wrong. This is, like the hoarding, an offense to humanity. I am not kidding.

Go home. Hug your loved one(s). You live alone? Read a book, make a healthy meal, take a nap, write a letter to a loved one. Listen to music. Make a list; make several lists. Look yourself in the mirror.

Indeed, I appreciate anyone reading this, you there who love tennis and sporting competition as much as I do. Thanks for hanging-out, even briefly, to laugh and even shake your head at some of my crass but hopefully amusing thoughts on all matters of tennis, or sport or politics (sorry if that seems a bit out of my “game” so to speak), or life.

I hope you’re all isolated (not quarantined), at home, laying-low, spending time with loved ones, helping each other (family and friends and communities near and far) to cope with the loss of jobs, gatherings, life-styles, etc. I hope, dear God, no one has lost a loved one. The numbers, unfortunately and seriously, continue to rise.

This is insane, really. On so many levels.

Oddly, I am pleased to see that my routines haven’t changed too much. Living amongst this fear and public (and private) concern has certainly been a change. The world has changed dramatically; our thoughts, our basic psychology (think of our kids). There is no getting around that we are living in a different world today, ever since this virus has taken hold: there is no getting around that reality.

But the things I most like to do I still do. This seems a bit odd, yet good. Good, of course, to be able to carry-on in many respects despite the climate of infectious disease hanging in the sky outside like an ominous cloud, threatening to rain even more terror than has already fallen.

I like to read and write (I have to professionally — read that is; this is now online as all of the courses at the university where I teach have gone to virtual modalities, as they say).

I like to jog by myself throughout my hilly neighborhood, or on local trails, and get out into the back country to hike and climb more and more remote mountains, as I naturally push myself in terms of the physical and mental rigor of such adventure. I clarify that last point since this not only defines the ethos of alpine or mountain sports, but coincides ridiculously well with this sort of isolation protocol we’re all in.

Our home life has continued to thrive; we (my wife and I and our kid to a certain extent) like to stay at home, cook and eat (love to eat), sip something mature and tasty, etc.

Our pets. This is just a time to dig into some of this more personal space.

What I’m saying could sound quite crass, actually. People’s struggles have become more pronounced in this time of Covid-19; life has taken a very dark turn for some, work-related, financially, personally, etc. No doubt.

We have to rally, help others in whatever ways we can. To say this is a difficult time is not enough. This is complicated, sad, frustrating and tragic. Makes your head spin.

Bring on a little McConaughey. No? Well alright alright alright . . .

Maybe we can find something throughout this fucked-up maelstrom of human error to make us better, both personally and culturally, globally even. I see signs, but this is often the case in the face of tragedy: people seem willing to change . . . until the coast is clear.

So, find those kinds of activities in which you can thrive under these circumstances. Given that most of these kinds of things require independence, at least being intimate, or indeed alone, the prospects of more introspection, reflection and even meditation go up.

My wife had me mediate this morning (I pray often, but really don’t take the time to meditate, specifically, in silence, in emptiness, yada yada). She said, “five minutes — I’ll set the timer.” I went 10 minutes easy and would have gone longer had my little dog, Coco, not gotten so annoyed with this silly eyes-closed thing (her words, not mine).

Try something new, by yourself, for yourself. And connect more to your loved ones, to yourself.

Writing this post is such an exercise for me.

___________________________________________________________

Of course, some thoughts on our beloved sport:

So how about my old friend Clay? He won’t leave me alone. I said in a recent post that I want to refrain, at least rethink, my criticism of players, even those who thrive on clay. 😉

But Clay is not exactly a person (well, I could probably ruminate on that a bit and likely, terrifyingly, bring that old boy to life).

I’m talking about Roland Garros, of course. What a shit show. The tennis of that particular surface, sure, but what about this unilateral move to reschedule the year’s second major to take place from September 20th to October 4th. They made the decision to reschedule without consulting ANYONE.

This is perfect. You have to know this is music to my ears. How “inferior” is this sort of thinking? Timing couldn’t have been better, either. As governments and organizations scramble to deal with a very dangerous, disruptive and fluid set of circumstances, the Fédération Française de Tennis has taken a giant dump on the sport. Again, everyone is scrambling from players and their staffs to tournament organizers and fans around the world.

Here’s what the FFT ignored in deciding, unilaterally, to reschedule for that fortnight:

Per Tennis.com

Week of September 21, ATP: Laver Cup, Metz, St. Petersburg
Week of September 21, WTA: Guangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo
Week of September 28, ATP: Chengdu, Sofia, Zhuhai
Week of September 28, WTA: Wuhan

Included in that article is a reminder that the new dates for the French, pardonnez-moi s’il vous plaît, fall just two weeks after the scheduled dates of the U.S. Open.

Are you kidding me? Are the French and Chinese in some kind of sordid international affair?

I’d put James Bond on the case but Boris Johnson seems to have sucked the credibility out of that country’s ability to deal with any international crime or stupidity (I, the American, should talk hahah).

A couple of additional notes: some seem to be “hyping” the idea that the FO now conflicts with the Laver Cup, which turns into some sort of Federer vs. the French Open. This actually has all kinds of legitimacy given Federer’s relationship to the dirt; we can even push a Federer vs. Nadal narrative from this FFT brain fart.

But one can see that the new dates for the FO conflict with several other tournaments, as well. The French failed to consult with anyone on this, as I have already said. Bizarre, to say the least. Roland Garros of my child and early adulthood would never have pulled this kind of shenanigans. This is arrogance beyond arrogance. Instead of this being and acting like the 3rd or 4th major that it is, this is king-of-the-world sort of behavior.

Lol.

Of course the other note regarding those tournaments scheduled for that same two-week period: the WTA event in Wuhan? That should read:

“Week of September 28, WTA: Wuhan (WTF?)”

Really? Get the fuck out of here with that. I have refrained from calling-out China again including their claim that the U.S. brought the virus to Wuhan or where ever. GTFOH.

In closing, let’s bring this back to the Big 3.

When Nadal won the U.S. Open, he had #19 in the bag. Winning his fourth U.S. Open is beyond impressive even though the Arthur Ashe courts are, essentially, like clay in this day and age. But he won #19. He edged that much closer to Roger.

And the natural thought was he would certainly get #20 at RG 2020. Right?

Novak would be the only one to stop that from happening. Thiem? Sorry. Not a chance in best of five. Nadal would win his 13th French Open and equal Federer at #20. That seemed like a near lock, aside from Novak doing what he could very well do: smash Nadal in a French final for the ages.

Yet suddenly all of that is up in there. Not only has the French Open moved, but it’s to be played in the fall. This complicates Nadal’s schedule in so many ways.

Wouldn’t Federer at 20 and Nadal at 19 be a kind of logical ending to the Fedal legend?

This would mean that Novak, once the sport returns, dominates the bigger proceedings with a couple of youngsters finally stepping-up. Seems to make sense, but we all know how men’s professional tennis has gone over the last several years.

Nonetheless, we’ll continue to try to make sense of this, folks, my fellow isolationists.

Stay inside. Watch recordings of great matches. Put your feet up. Eat something. Take a nap.

Dream of a world without this threat hiding outside like a boogieman.

Stay positive!

How about a little levity:

View this post on Instagram

Even during a pandemic we are a special breed. 😂

A post shared by John Joseph (@johnjosephcromag) on

Thanks for reading, as always.

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