Lebodome: Tennis in the District… and Some Cool Sneakers

by Borderstan.com August 9, 2011 at 8:00 am 3 Comments

Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Scott Leibowitz, Borderstan

The Legg Mason Tennis Class was last week at Carter at the Tennis Center on 16th Street NW. (Scott Leibowitz)

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome.

Live Tennis: Dramatic Theater or Actual Sporting Event?

Summer is great for so many reasons: the weather is nice, people are friendlier, clothes are lighter and slurpees taste better. However, one of my favorite parts of the summer is the week-to-week build up in this country to easily one of the best sporting events of the year. I am talking about professional tennis and the dramatic lead-up of small tournaments nationwide culminating with the US Open in New York City. As D.C. residents, for the last 40 years we have had front row seats to this build up with The Legg Mason Classic in Rock Creek Park.

Thanks to my grandpa, all my life I have had the pleasure of attending the US Open regularly, and for the past six years I have been attending The Legg Mason Classic to wet my tennis taste buds. For the second straight weekend, my girlfriend took me to a sporting event (she must really like me) and despite her very strong sports credentials, she could not see the fun in pro tennis. At first I thought maybe she just wasn’t a true fan and didn’t see the beauty in it. But then I thought to myself…

What’s with the Silence? For the life of me, I can’t figure this out. I remember high school basketball practices where our coach would have the PA system blasting heavy metal music while we practiced, just to train with crowd-like noise. This must be a holdover when tennis was exclusively a country-club sport (it still is in many ways), but this has to end. Bring the noise and let’s see how these millionaires compare to football and baseball stars. That or at least cheer with more than golf-claps.

Dress-code norms? When you go to a basketball or baseball game, do you see normal adults dressed in shorts or cleats ready to jump on the field in case a player is needed? Do football fans watch games in full pads? So why is it that at least 30 to 40% of tennis spectators dress in their court outfits and shoes like they may be needed in case an ankle turns? Trust me, you’re a spectator. It’s staying that way.

Who should I cheer for? I’m American so I root for Americans? I am lefty so I root for southpaws? How about the lower seeded player and rooting for the underdog? There is no rhyme or reason to it. I, for some weird reason, like Australians, Czechs, Swedes and Argentinens when it comes to rooting for tennis players. I wish I knew why.

Tennis is great though, despite these issues. They don’t have lockouts, the players tend to be either amazing personalities or decent human beings, and they are aware of how lucky they are (for the most part). D.C. is fortunate to have this event and if you didn’t make it this summer, mark it for next year, as I am sure there will be a groupon for it again.

Sneaker Con, H Street NE, Borderstan, Scott Leibowitz

Sneaker Con held an event last weekend on H Street NE. (Scott Leibowitz)

I Went to a Sneaker Convention and Liked It

An entire convention just about awesome dunks, kicks, sneakers or w/e you want to call them. Damn straight I went to H Street NE rocking my own heat to check out this scene at the Sneaker Con. The admission price of $12 was a bit steep, I thought, but what I saw was priceless.

Literally a giant room filled with back and forth haggling, purchasing from approved vendors and awesome beats blasting in the background. A fun Sunday — hopefully it comes back to town next year.

Thought of the Day

I don’t care how bad the market is, I ain’t stocking up on gold. I am shocked to see how many of my level-headed college friends bought into this…

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • Washington Nationals pitching phenom Stephan Strasburg is coming back, slowly.
  • I am not a dad yet, but when I am, I want my kid to have this.
  • I have no coordination, but watching the 2011 X-Games makes me wish I did.

  • jules

    Re: Silence. Have you been to a Washington Kastles World Team Tennis match? Well, case closed then.

    • Lebodome

      Don’t get me started on World Team Tennis (http://www.wtt.com/). This is tennis for small children or adults w attention issues. It’s gimmicky, doesnt showcase any real talent, and has zero bearing on real world rankings or prestige. Billy Jean King has done a lot of amazing things in her day….this is not one of them though. I guess maybe it’s cool to see some of the bigger names (who only play occasionally), but overall….cant say I am fan.

  • Always Asking FOr More Dome


    To answer some of your questions.

    Silence: You hit the nail on the head with your assumption. Tennis, much like golf, is an upper class sport predominantly played at country clubs when being played by amateurs, unlike many other sports which are played wherever space can be found. Because of this presumed prestige (which may or may not exist) and country club association, silence by spectators while playing has been incorporated into the professional match. And lets be honest, does Tennis or golf really need people yelling out obscenities, or anything for that matter, while a match is being played to distract not only the player but also the fans? I think not.

    Dress code: I dont think people dress in their tennis attire because they believe there might be an opportunity for them to jump on the court and get a set in against Federer, but because they are trying to remain comfortable while still looking appropriate. Again because of the country club atmosphere, you dont want to see people showing up wearing just anything.

    My overall point is that, I like any other true fan love to support my favorite player or team and get routy and riled up in the process, but there is something top be said about keeping sports classy. And I am for it, just like in a recent report on ESPN I agree with NCAA football coaches who keep their players from cursing, it says something about their character and isnt a part of the game.


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