Petra kindly allowed me to watch the final of the US Open this morning. She’s figured out how to share the TV and my attention as well in the last couple of weeks. Before that, she got upset if the tv was turned to any channel other than Disney and I was battling to prevent her sacking out in front of the tv for what seemed like hours at a time. In the end, I tried a little reverse psychology and saturated her with tv for a few days in an effort to stop it being an such an appealingly scarce commodity. That seems to have worked and she’s not much interested these days unless she’s just too tired to do anything else.
Anyway, I watched the tennis (tentis in Petra speak) while Petra hung out with me and played with her animals and some play dough. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic faced off for the title. I hoped (as always) that Nadal would win because I am unreasonably enthusiastic about him. He’s an interesting mixture of polite, humble, small town lad off the court, and determined, dogged, enormously competitive thug on the court. And it doesn’t hurt that he has those arms and that hair. Although, I feel a bit squeamish about admitting that even to myself because he’s such a young thing.
It was an entertaining match. Both played well, but Nadal played better at the crucial moments. Here’s the NY Times on Nadal’s achievements.
I gasped and muttered at the good shots and Petra watched me curiously. She’s been practicing watching sport, lying on the sofa at the weekend in front of some random rugby league game saying “Come on everybody. Run fast.” She tried barracking with me, essaying a tentative “Go Berdych!” now and then. I don’t know why she knows about Tomas Berdych – I can only guess that she remembers him from Wimbledon – but for whatever reason, tennis means “Berdych” for her. And why not – Berdych is a good-sounding word.
Poor Petra though, already experiencing the tyranny of parental enthusiasms and interests and already trying to align herself with them. I remember hanging out with dad, watching car racing or golf on tv or listening to his play-by-play accounts of his weekend rounds of golf. I wasn’t into any of those things on my own account, but I loved my dad and wanted to spend time with him, and was willing to adapt to his interests if that’s what it took.
It’s a tricky line to walk actually. I want to share me and my excitements with Petra, but I also want her to have room for her own enthusiasms.