Tennis and Poetry: “If” recited by Federer and Nadal


Combining some of my favorite things i.e.  poetry, tennis, and tennis players.  This Wimbledon promo is simply a fortunate find.  Without further ado, I present Roger and Rafa reciting Rudyard Kipling’s “IF” which adorns the entrance to center court at Wimbledon. 

 

 

IF
by Rudyard Kipling

(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
 

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My way of saying goodbye.


One year ago today Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose leaving behind a daughter and throngs of adoring fans. It is hard to believe it has already been a year, probably due to the amount of media coverage his last film role has received. Today the nominations for the Academy Awards were announced and not surprisingly Ledger was nominated for best supporting actor as The Joker in last years smash hit The Dark Night. Last year I wrote a post in memory of Heath and Brad Renfro who had passed right around the same time.  I am re-posting (Jan. 31, 2008 was the original post date)  it because I think it did a good job describing my feelings about the tragic loss of this fine young actor.  May Heath rest in peace knowing he was loved and appreciated for his work as an actor as well as his character as a man.


For me when someone talented, interesting and special dies regardless of whether I knew them on a personal level, or admired their talent from a far, I grieve. The last two weeks have seen the death of two talented young men first Brad Renfro and then Heath Ledger. The minute I learned of each I had the same initial reaction.

1. Utter shock (stomach drops)

2. Disbelief (Heart races)

3. Curiosity (Reading as much as I could on initial reports)

I must digress for one moment. I interviewed both Actors between 1997-1999 when I worked press junkets for major motion pictures. They were both very young, handsome and talented, Renfro who was amazing in The Client and I had interviewed the cast of Apt Pupil.

I became a fan of Ledger’s initially for the obvious reasons, he was great to look at and charming. Through the years his films became better and he would shine in each role. Brokeback Mountain showed a mature actor taking risks and worthy of all the accolades, including an Oscar nomination. I have seen almost all of his films since. Candy was another heart breaking performance, as Ledger and Cornish brought to life the book of the same name.

The media coverage and all of the speculation took the focus off of the actual loss of Heath. Once again I experienced,

1. Anger (too young, too good)

2. Curiosity( continued almost non stop coverage by media)

3. Disbelief (Each time I saw his face, stomach drops)

Now that is has been several days and his memorial in Hollywood took place, his body is in his country and his family must bury their extraordinary son I feel,

1. Profound sadness.

2. Grief

3. And the beginnings of acceptance.

So this morning when I got on the computer I let myself truly experience the emotions by watching tributes to both Heath and Brad. Yes, I cried and smiled as I saw the familiar faces on the screen in roles I loved. I listened to their words in interviews and the songs played on tribute pieces compiled by so many on YouTube. I let myself feel the grief of knowing that these images, still or moving were the only ones left, their legacy. Of course Dark Knight has yet to be released, and this will cause a new wave of sadness and maybe anger.

The stages of grief are fluid. They are repeated and recycled until time allows otherwise. I have friends who think I am foolish, ridiculous and childish for caring at all. They certainly do not take me seriously and I usually try to avoid discussing these people with them because they say things purely out of ignorance and it simply angers me and makes me wonder how people could be so heartless.

I know that I am perhaps extra sensitive and that I cannot judge others for what they feel. However through the use of this tool, my trusty blog I can express my feelings freely and not care if I am judged to be overly sentimental or foolish. I love film and I love actors. So here is my tribute to a young man who shined on screen and whose light dimmed tragically early.


HEATH LEDGER TRIBUTE – IN MEMORY

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In Memorium : JFK jr.


In 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died when their single-engine plane, piloted by Kennedy, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

I remember hearing the first words of the missing plane and who was on it and knowing it was over.  I knew the circumstances, watched it unfold as did everyone because John John was royalty.  He was also this guy who was always downtown in Soho, on his bike, or roller blades. at bars and always a big flirt. 

One summer night in 1998, out with friends celebrating   Max ‘s having passed the BAR exam.  We were down on West Broadway at Lucky Strike and Box a very Euro bar with great drinks.  JFK jr. came in, and went to the bar.   Notoriously he had not passed the BAR in his first attempt, and had real difficulty passing it later.  I always saw him  but I would never approach him, there was no reason to and he was always surrounded by women anyway.  So the joke/idea was that we should ask him to join us for a toast to Max for his achievement,  passing the BAR on his first try.   It was teasing and mean and I don’t do mean.  There was no way I would go through with it even though the bar was rather quiet that night and the fact was John John had looked over a few times and smiled his famous smile in our direction.  My friends kept telling me to go over, he was looking and I was being ridiculous, but I had no intention. 

As he was leaving, he veered toward our table and said  “Hope you are having a good night,”  looking and locking eyes with me and then smiled the killer smile and walked out.  Well my “cool” friends all burst out into nervous laughter as I turned crimson red.   I was so happy they never went through with their childish dig. 

A year later he was married and missing and everyone I knew was crushed ,shocked and in disbelief.  How could it be in real life, that this could happen to him?  I mean why?  The Kennedy curse just would not relent.  I remember my first thought  was, thank G-d Jackie O. had passed, and about Caroline and her utter despair over her baby brother.  The Bessette family losing two daughters in a national tragedy.  The search went on for over three days but I grieved knowing there was no surprise ending. 

It was like Princess Diana all over again.  It devastated the country and the world.

 

 

I am a sentimental person so I shared that silly story.  Rest in peace, John, Carolyn and Lauren you are not forgotten.

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Wimbledon Men’s Final Point And Victory


 

Nadal Wins the 2008 Wimbledon Men’s Final:Championship Point


 
This was the greatest tennis match I have ever seen. Rafael Nadal wins his first Wimbledon and Roger is crushed. They played like gladiators and did so for over 4 hrs and 40 mins. Nadal emerged the champion. At 22 he is a tremendous athlete, a true champion and I have been a loyal fan since he turned pro. This is a beautiful moment in history I wish to share with you.

Bravo Rafa!

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