My cousin and I were hitting a tennis ball back and forth over the net at our local Chicago courts. I won the game. My cousin wasn’t happy with some of the umpire’s line calls.
This led to reminiscing about the old tennis players.
“Do you remember that certain player, with the mop of hair tied with a head band, who uttered those famous words at the umpire,”You cannot be serious.”
“You bet I do, I loved the way he threw tantrums over bad line calls by the umpires.”
My cousin’s eyes glistened with excitement.
“He really acted up in England at Wimbledon. He used bad language, kicked the grass and pouted and shouted.”
“Oh, yes, I remember, although he acted up in America too, it seemed worse when he did it in England.”
“Why is that?” I said, egging my cousin on.
“Well, you know how the English feel they are so civilized. They like to think they’re more sportsmanlike than other people. They get uptight when an American comes to Wimbledon spouting bad language.”
“I think that’s the way John motivated himself on court, by arguing about everything,” I said.
“Yes, that’s right, I remember he would go nuts yelling at the umpire. Then he would compose himself and play an excellent next point.”
“You sound like you don’t like the English,” I said.
“Well, they like to make other people feel inferior, with their precise, languid way of speaking.”
“It’s the way they seem to look down their noses at you. And you know they do take high tea.”
I shook my head, smiling.
“Do you think the English should have apologized to John for all their criticism?”
“Yes, I do, where do the English get off criticizing a poor kid from N.Y. for mumbling a few bad words and pouting a little?”
“I guess you won’t be going to England on your vacation.”
“Well, they should look to their own soccer fans for unsportsmanlike behavior. Nobody pays attention to the bad language their fans and players use. There’s a body count, instead.
“Is it that bad?”
“Yes, full blown riots in the stands and on the streets.”
“Well, I guess waving a team scarf is to tame,” I said laughing.
But my cousin’s face was very serious, when he said:
“ I think John should have spat in the umpire’s eye. The one that didn’t have the monocle!”