Archive for January, 2013

I Like To Watch.

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Fed defeated Tsonga in five sets in the Australian Open Quarterfinals. He did not play his best nor did he rise easily above the pressure of the moment. 4 for 19 on break points is not a champion’s ratio. He prevailed in this match with movement and the benefit of two successful tie-breakers- the lottery of tennis. I feel that the speed of this tournament’s surface (the fastest of the four majors) will benefit the best serve; back -up plan is to have the best return of serve, where Murray and Roger excel. We’ll see.

Aside from marveling at his humor in English during the post-match, on-court interview (English is his third language, which may be true for most American football players as well), I noted with relish his remark that he enjoys watching tennis on television. Truly?! Roger Federer watches ESPN or similar with a clicker in one hand?! What does he watch during the commercials? Housewives of Oberhausen? Ludwig Springer Show?

He was serious and giddy even. Partially still enjoying his match victory and mainly because Roger Federer likes tennis; playing and watching and analyzing playing and watching. He’s not trying to win; he’s tries to play tennis as he is capable, which is blessedly spectacular. How else could he still be motivated at 31 with infant daughters and so many achievements that further accomplishment can barely be measured. Sort of like another home run by Babe Ruth or another amazing idea by Apple. “Been a bunch, right?!”

That’s the secret of persistent achievement; an infinite looping of the pleasure of well selected effort. This is where he separates himself from Tiger Woods, most tennis professionals and most professionals (moi aussi). The anxiety of failure rushes us to conclusion which probably frustrates the potential of our capabilities.

What I’m really doing is talking myself into setting the alarm for 3:30 to watch his semi-final match with Andy Murray. Andy is on a roll; played well at the US Open (he won the trophy); and knows that his waxing complements Roger’s waning. Still, I favor the movement of Federer presuming their serves are about equal.

I’ll like watching this match.

Dinner in Swedish Bank Canteen. Really!

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Take Your Time, You Got All Night

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

2013, what’ll be? It’s hard to make things different, aka the perennial resolutions, when one enjoys comfort in the familiar and supposedly predictable. What gets me going are those who serve our country because I enjoy their genuine truthfulness and truthful genuineness. Plus, the circumstances of their lives are often funny and sometimes incredible. Here are few examples from Friday January 11.

I accepted happily the assignment to organize a spring visit to New York by executives of a Swedish Bank. My Swedish collaborator and I share notes each Friday morning via Apple’s Face Time video conferencing tool, iPad to iPad. We create what I consider to be our unique and temporary television broadcast. Merely the realm of science fiction 50 years ago. Somehow we meandered to the topic of how he came to Sweden. As a fifteen year old living in the Sudetenland in 1945, his father was pressed into military service with the instructions to report to the town square in an hour. Trained as a paratrooper, he parachuted into Russia where he was wounded within 200 meters of his landing. Relieved from the Front, he found his way west to Germany for the brief and violent duration of the war. As the Russians advanced mercilessly, German soldiers were informed that if they surrendered to Russians, they would be shot; if they surrendered to the Americans, they would have a short trial and hanged. To avoid the status of desertion, his commanding officer ordered him to flee in the direction of Norway. There he was detained and enrolled in a post-war education program. When made aware of jobs in Sweden for those with textile experience, he exaggerated his training in trade school, qualifying for relocation. He married a Swedish girl and raised a son to be a successful banker.

At our Naval Academy Alumni luncheon, our guest speaker was Captain Ivan Castro, US Army. He’s run 24 marathons, biked across America and climbed a 14,000 foot peak since losing his eyesight in a mortar attack in Iraq in 2006.

I sat next to a guest, the father of the roommate of a Chapter member, and learned that we served on the same destroyer, USS Wiltsie (DD-716), some 10 years apart. After this many years of post-Navy gatherings formal and impromptu, this is the first ‘shipmate’ that I’ve run into. Even though he served in Vietnam and I served in the Reserve Navy; even though he was stationed in San Diego and I in San Francisco, we enjoyed the coincidence and, of course, the sea tales of five inch 38 gun mounts, the danger of sailing with aircraft carriers and the memories liberty in Pacific ports.

Double coincidence or not, Tessa and I saw the matinee of Zero Dark Thirty. Who are the bad guys? Why does Al Qaeda consider the USA such an evil force? How could these people be so committed to such an uneven fight? The scene of the disaster at Camp Chapman criticized the pursuit of Bin Laden by comparing the career ambitions of several to the self-sacrifice of an individual. Don’t Americans usually root for the underdog?!

I realize that humans, on our brief visits to this world, must make the most of the circumstances that we inherit. I realize that Fate can evolve tragedy into opportunity and example; it’s numbing when it can also evolve into simply more tragedy. Even when I rooted for the SEALs, it seemed pointless to deploy such talent over such a long period of time in order to devastate a building in order to get one man, albeit one protected by the resources of the Pakistani military.

I begin the new year convicted to make the most of what I am offered. I hope to do so mindful of a purpose without being riveted to a conclusion.