Tennis and Soccer.
Two sports I could normally give a rats ass about, both had me riveted. June 17th 1994, was made into a documentary recently on ESPN and many people Tweeted that June 23rd 2010 might be it's sequel.
This is the part of the post where I have to mention that I don't enjoy watching tennis on TV. At all. I was OK at the sport and played through high school and loved it. But watching tennis isn't anything I've gone out of my way to do. I mean if a major final is on or Maria Sharapova is doing her sexy little grunts, I might watch for a bit. But I don't think I've ever watched a whole match from start to finish.
Until yesterday. Sort of.
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut aren't stars. They're middling players that Roger Federer bends over the net until he meets Raphael Nadal in the finals of X tournament. But since these guys were delayed on Tuesday for darkness in the fifth set, I happened onto it after watching some World Cup soccer on ESPN3. Since they were more that 6-6 in the last set, I was curious. Mildly, I suppose.
That was around 11:45 or so. Then I went to lunch for an hour, came back and it was 39-39 in the fifth set. They called the match for darkness when it was 59-59 and following exactly 10 hours of action. By any statistical measure, this is the longest tennis match in history... AND IT's NOT DONE.
Fifty Nine games a piece. In a set. Someone is going to have to get to 61 at least to win a SET.
Some of the better stats:
1) 7 hours 6 minutes is the time of the 5th set so far. 2) Isner leads Mahut in aces 98 to 95. Both eclipsed the single match record for aces. 3) There have been 881 points with 612 alone in the 5th set. 4) There have only been 81 unforced errors combined... so this isn't shit tennis, these guys are playing well. 5) ESPN is claiming that this would be the physical equivalent of a 50 inning baseball game or a 15 overtime basketball game.
This match could literally end in a couple of minutes. It could of ended with any of the 4 match points going the other way than they did. But it's somehow become this unbelievable anomaly that can't really be put into perspective... because we're in uncharted territory here.
Listen. I get it. Watching two over-privileged white guys swing racquets that would pay your mortgage for 3 months may not be your bag. So think of it like this... when this match resumes on Thursday, it's part III of a freak show. How long will they go? Could one person get to 100? I mean it's all absurd to think about... but so is 59-59.
Again. Unless it's the World Cup or a big national tournament, I've got almost zero interest in soccer. But again, I was sitting in front of my computer absolutely riveted by their game with Algeria.
By this point you've read all you've wanted to read about the damn match... so just watch the fucking goal again and get goose bumps all over. Again.
I mean these fuckers took it to stoppage time in a game they HAD to win to actually win and send the US side to the KO Round. This stuff doesn't happen. This isn't like hockey where you can expect a fair amount of last minute goals to tie or win a game... this is the World Cup. Goals are HARD to come by. And goals in stoppage time are almost impossible.
Hell, we even had a Holliday RBI to win a game Carpenter twirled a gem in and as the editor of this site, it wasn't front page news.
That's June 23rd 2010. One of the most random best days of sports in years.