Wednesday, June 15, 2011

on Internet sharing, and screaming

(Photograph is copyright AP Herald Sun)

You know, it’s really amazing how the Internet connects people around the world, and makes the sharing of information and ideas possible and so easy (though honestly, I sometimes do think too much information is not a good thing, and ignorance certainly can be bliss).

Well, one thing I find vaguely entertaining about the Internet is that I can use it just to see if anyone else in the world had the same thoughts about something that I did. I’d enter the keywords into the magic Google search box -- say, “Bieber hair silly” for example -- and then scan the results to see if anyone else in the whole wide world thought the same thing (usually someone somewhere does) (and in the case of Bieber’s hair, I was definitely not alone).

Recently my husband was watching the women’s tennis finals on TV, and from inside my room I could hear this regular, high-pitched, screaming-type grunting. Now I’ve heard players who grunt, but never anything like this. And at every single stroke? I used to play tennis, but I never felt any urge to grunt myself; perhaps it’s something that separates the pros from the amateurs.

Anyway, the screechy grunting went on with such unfailing rhythm and regularity, that I finally called out, “Who is that??”

And my husband laughingly replied, “Maria Sharapova”.

“Why must she do that??”

“It’s her style,” he explained. “She always does it”.

“Well, after all that, did she win??”


Well, this was one of those things which I couldn’t resist looking up on the Net. So I typed in “Maria Sharapova scream”. And wow -- a whole list of thingies came up on the subject, including Youtube videos just of her screaming, and even a ringtone of it.

I also found an interesting article by Matthew Bayley for The Mail, entitled, Grunting girls of tennis told to cut the racket.

“It has long been a source of irritation for opponents and tennis fans alike,” Bayley writes. “Now women players who grunt loudly when hitting the ball have been accused by the referee in charge of Wimbledon of doing it deliberately to win matches.

“Alan Mills claims players such as defending champion Maria Sharapova have been coached to emit ear-piercing shrieks so they put off their opponents…

“… At last year's championship, Russian Miss Sharapova produced the loudest grunts, yells and squeals ever heard on Centre Court.

“The noise the 18-year-old makes when striking the ball has been measured at 100 decibels, equivalent to a small aircraft landing nearby.

“Second in the grunt rankings is Serena Williams, at 88 decibels, followed by her sister Venus (85db), fellow American Lindsay Davenport (84db) and Russian Elena Bovina (81db). By contrast Tim Henman registers 61.6 decibels, while even the noise of a rock band (80db) and a Harley Davidson (85db) would be drowned out by some of the players.

“Miss Sharapova's grunts have prompted complaints. Last year in Birmingham, she apologised after competitors said they could hear her from four courts away”. (From The Mail on Sunday; whole article can be found here)

As for the Net, it’s kinda cool really how one can virtually say to someone on the other side of the world, “I know!! I thought the exact same thing!!”

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