Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Wimbledon Drinking Game

We're heading into the home stretch at Wimbledon, and if you've been watching every day, like me, you've perhaps become ... accustomed, let's say, to the tendencies and repetitions of the TV coverage (in my case, on ESPN and NBC).

So for those of you playing along at home, I am pleased to join the esteemed Sarah Bunting in presenting our official Wimbledon Drinking Game. Pull up a couch cushion and a cooler and let's get to watching some world-class tennis. And doing some world-class boozing.
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-Drink 1 every time Brad Gilbert intentionally mispronounces some poor non-American's name.

-Chase that drink with something sour every time Cliff Drysdale corrects Brad, dripping with contempt.

-Drink 1 whenever Pam Shriver is sent into the oblivion of the stands rather than being allowed to call a match.

-Drink 1 (obviously) when Mary Carillo mentions her catch-phrase in waiting, BIG BABE TENNIS. Drink again when you can't quite figure out WHY Mary's yelling BIG BABE TENNIS. Whilst drinking, ponder the following: The term "Big Babe tennis," in addition to having no apparent fixed meaning -- Carillo is quick to assign the label to five-foot-five players with big backhands, or to revoke it from six-one players who don't serve and volley; it seems to attach to whomever they have footage of -- is incredibly patronizing, the kind of pink-sequinned-writing Girl-Power-t-shirt nonsense you keep hoping sports coverage is going to get past one of these days. These women serve at 120 miles per hour; Venus Williams is a professional, and she could step on you and kill you. Why does that need to be cutesy-fied in order to be palatable to the home audience? The Roger/Rafa rivalry is spoken of in the low tones usually reserved for dead Vikings, but women with the same skill sets and the same seriousness of mind get blown off as "Big Babes." The branding infantilizes the entire ladies' draw, and on top of that, it's a rhetorical failure. Somewhere, Billie Jean King is throwing up, and she's right.

-Drink 1 whenever a reference is made to last year's Roger/Rafa final. +2 more for a "goosebumps" reference.

-Drink 1 LIGHT beer (or rum and DIET Coke) whenever John McEnroe talks about a woman's "fitness level" as code for "fatty-fat fat-fat."

-Drink 1 whenever Roger Federer is described as "graceful," Serena Williams is described as "dramatic," or Dinara Safina is described as a "mack truck of a woman." That last one counts even if the description comes from your own living room.

-One sip from your Sea Breeze for each part of Safina's outfit that doesn't fit (yes, the hairstyle counts) (girl, PULL YOUR SHIRT DOWN-EH).

-Drink 1 whenever a match is called for "darkness."

-Take a sip from your dirty martini every time Dick Enberg shills for the "translucent" roof on Centre Court.

-Drink 1 shot of Sambuca lit with a flaming dollar bill for every time the cost of the retractable roof is mentioned

-At every Brooklyn Decker reaction shot, raise your glass, start to drink, but instead get distracted by discussion of who she is and why she seems to be famous.

-Drink 1 for each overcompensatory overpronunciation of a continental last name, AND/OR drink 1 for each ugly-American pronunciation of the same name (op. cit. "Oudin").

-Drink 1 for every time you see those sprawling, asterisk-shaped thigh bandages and wonder how they could possibly be beneficial in any way.

-Pour a little out, then tip one back for no-longer utilized tennis accessories, particularly that velcro ball-holder Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario used to wear on the small of her back. (Also: Williams sisters' hair beads).

-Drink 1 more when the ladies wear jewelry that by all rights should interfere with vigorous ground-stroking (...ew, sorry).

-Start a waterfall whenever Bud Collins appears onscreen. First person can't stop until Bud says the words "Fraulein Forehand" or somehow shoehorns in a reference to Margaret Smith Court.

-Start drinking again when Bud drops "Yvonne Goolagong."

-Drink LOTS when Dick Enberg starts going all Jed Bartlett with "cathedral of tennis" this and "rapturous" that.

-Drink 1 whenever Brad Gilbert's strident and obnoxious support of certain front-runners is so intense that you can help but root for the opposition. Drink again when object of said support drops the first set of a Gilbert-guaranteed sweep, yelp "Well THAT'S a funny-looking straight sets win, BRAD!" and crush beer can against forehead.

-STOP drinking when you've gone 30 minutes watching a match before realizing you're watching rain-delayed coverage of yesterday's matches.

-Take a sip from your mimosa at the first strawberries-and-cream sighting. Top yourself off at each subsequent sighting.

-Take a swig from your imported ale of choice whenever a German player is compared to Steffi Graf, a Swede is compared to Bjorn Borg, an Aussie is compared to Rod Laver, or one of the more handsome ladies is compared to Martina Navratilova.

-Drink one for the Casio keyboard beats of faux urgency during previous-set wrap-ups, plus a popper.

-Finish your drink whenever McEnroe and Carillo reference their mixed-doubles past. Crack open another one once someone in your viewing party turns "mixed doubles" into a double entendre. (Note: that "someone" can be you).


DuchessKitty said...

This? BRILLIANT! "Handsome ladies"...hee hee hee

Although I've been watching a lot of the All England Club matches this week, I have yet to have a Brooklyn Decker sighting. And I think I should be grateful.
Isn't she that Sports Illustrated model? WTF does she know about tennis?

KAB said...

@DuchessKitty: She's married to Andy Roddick, so I guess *that's* what she knows about tennis.

Liss said...

I think Wimbledon may have just killed me due to alcohol poisoning. I'm just glad I'm not the only one giggling about "mixed doubles". I am permanently twelve.

Claire said...

I'd say drink every time they mention Andy Murray and what he means to English tennis, but if you actually lived in England you'd probably die of alcohol poisoning in 10 minutes

Couch Baron said...

Just to get ready for the women's final, you must take a large sip every time Mary Carillo talks about how much better the Williams sisters play when they're on opposite sides of the draw. Be prepared to see four Williams sisters duking it out on Saturday.

PollyQ said...

Fabulous list; just needs one more entry: drink 1 Soapy Tits every time McEnroe starts ranting about ways to improve the Davis Cup.

Midgard Dragon said...

re: one of the sidebar comments.

WALL-E was easily better than Up (Up's still great). Anyone who didn't find WALL-E brilliant regardless of peer pressure is a soulless tool.

Joe Reid said...

Wow, okay! I totally take back that thing about "hectoring," because clearly that was offbase.