Archive for June, 2009

09
Jun
09

Scoring the perfect gift

TENNIS-FRA-OPEN-ROLAND-GARROSA perfect gift / Photo from AFP

When Roger Federer won Roland Garros, I felt like I won it too from the deluge of text messages I received from my friends. His win couldn’t have come at a better time than on my birthday.

Speaking in French during the awarding ceremony, he might have greeted me as he raised the silver cup in victory. “This is my birthday gift to you because you have been an ardent fan. I cannot believe  you had your own score sheet of this championship match. Not even my lovely wife ever did that. And so, happy birthday and you can now shower,” I believed was what he said.

If anyone disputes my interpretation, speak up and retrieve your head from Robin Soderling’s silver plate.

I indeed kept score of the championship match.

Writing on the clean side of a subscription form for PLDT Landline Plus 2nd Line, I tallied each player’s winners, aces, unforced errors and double faults per game and per set. If I could have gauged the speed of their balls, I would have noted it down too. But a non-tennis player could only accomplish so much with her manual tally.

scorecardBy doing my own scoring, I was not as tense watching Federer play a GS championship match as I was in previous ones when I felt like I was being starched to stiffness.  This time, I took note of ball trajectories and landings but got sidetracked by my emotions when RF and Soderling tied at 3-3 in the third set.

When the statistics were flashed at the end of the first set, I checked my score card and was pleased to see I had the same numbers except for the percentages in the serves and net approaches, which I left to genuine tennis statisticians. I had enough digit concerns for one night.

The second set statistics (the one done by real statisticians) showed that I missed an ace from Soderling and my count of the unforced errors was a few more than the official stats had. At one point in the second set, I got a shared call from three Nadal fans who assured me of an RF win in this year’s French Open. Those guys know about my Federer moments.

I couldn’t compare my third set stats with the official one because I was already beside myself with jubilation when a misfired shot from Soderling ended Federer’s chase for the Roland Garros Cup and 14th GS title.

I couldn’t have gotten a more perfect birthday gift than a Roland Garros Cup for Federer. I wonder if he’d like my score sheet for his birthday.

04
Jun
09

Energy from a bracelet

phitenFor the past three weeks, I’ve been wearing this aqua titanium-lined silicone bracelet that is supposed to energize me and improve my well-being.  Two friends who lead an active lifestyle and wear the bracelet attest its effectiveness as an energy booster.

This is how the Phiten bracelet, a red MLB Phillies (in homage to Jayson Werth yet I doubt if he wears one), has worked for me:

Of late, my swimming has been confined either to treading the water or wading into it at shoulder depth and then spending the time in it chatting with friends similarly situated. I haven’t swum beyond 10 meters in four years or so until last month.

I’ve been wearing the Phiten bracelet for three days when I swam toward an islet in Guiuan, Samar from a friend’s yacht that was anchored a little more than 50 meters away from shore. I swam back to the yacht after a huge lunch in the islet. It wouldn’t have been a big deal had my body been primed for such a distance.

kayak guiuanTaking the kayaks, my friends reached the islet and then later the yacht, way ahead of me. I might as well have been racing against an old turtle trudging land. I took my time, noting the depth of the waters as long-spined sea urchins became more visible as I got nearer the shore.

Warmed up by the swim in the seawater, I did laps in the 35-meter pool when we got back to The Surf Camp. I wasn’t sprinting like I had to beat Dara Torres’ record or the old turtle’s terrain time. The point being, after four years of not having swum long distance, meaning beyond 10 meters, I managed to crawl non-stop from one end of a 35-meter pool to the other.

The ScreamFrom the way I was catching my breath after the first lap, I saw myself as a meatier version of the subject of Edvard Munch’s painting, The Scream. I didn’t find my wind until after the third lap. I swam seven more laps, alternately using freestyle and breast stroke.

I woke up the next morning with a stiff neck.

I have a farm in FarmTown. Since I wore the Phiten bracelet, I now plow and plant faster and my right arm, where I wear it, feels less heavy after hours of moving the mouse.

Since I wore it, I sleep earlier and longer so much so that I have difficulty getting up at 5:15 a.m. to go to the track oval. My running shoes, worn only twice since I bought them, cry for my attention. Soon, shoes, soon.

I will not blame the Phiten bracelet for my hearty appetite because no amount of titanium, whether it be wrapped around my neck or my wrist, can restrain it.

When I told my acupuncturist about the Phiten bracelet, he dismissed its effect as nothing but placebo. Er, Doc, this bracelet, which looks like rubber to you, cost me almost P2,000.  For this sum, it should have an intrinsic remedial value. Wearing it I feel invigorated.

My acupuncturist, who is also a medical doctor, looked at me and said, “It’s the acupuncture that makes you feel energized.” Oh.