Who needs pay-per-view? | VailDaily.com

Who needs pay-per-view?

Linda Boyne

Every now and then, DIRECTV, the lovely people who provide me all things televised, give me some of their super special, premium channels for a short period of time at no charge. The Freeview, they call it. And who doesn’t love to get something for free? It’s like a little unexpected gift, a present that you might not actually need, but enjoy nonetheless.

I know their motive is to get me to buy the premium channel after the Freeview is over, but that doesn’t diminish my joy of getting something for nothing. They want me to get used to having it so that when they take it away again, I need it. They’re depending on addiction to get me to buy it. But they don’t know that I won’t pay for what I can live without. I’m a monetary conservationist. It stems from growing up during the Great Depression. No wait, that was my grandparents. I guess I’m just fiscally conservative.

I love a good deal. I feel some small sense of pride if I can get something for less than the sticker price. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things, but I love a bargain. I don’t buy cheap, poorly made stuff just because it costs less, because I can get three for the same price as one of the good things. I like quality stuff at the cheap stuff prices. I’m trying to live the champagne lifestyle on a beer budget.

I realize that with the limited shopping options in the valley and the infrequency of my shopping trips to Denver, sometimes I have to buy something I need when I see it and pay full price. Gasp! I know. But I get a real thrill if I see something in a store that I like and I have the time to be patient, to cyber-stalk it, waiting for the price to drop.

Then I can pounce on it, snatching it up for song, like a lioness snatching her poor defenseless, prey. If I can get something I want and/or need at half-price, oh, man, nothing better than that! Pure elation.

But I digress. Right now DIRECTV is giving me the Tennis Channel (channel 217 for those who want to partake). Isn’t that amazing? A channel with nothing but tennis matches, tennis talk, tennis instruction, tennis player biographies, tennis-o-rama! We’re watching tennis 24/7 at our house right now. They’ve timed it so we can enjoy the French Open, so it’s like a little bit of the Travel Channel too, as they include pieces on the best of Paris, tours of the city, highlights of French culture. Oolala! C’est bon.

The French Open is a fun tournament to watch. It’s played on a red clay surface, adding the exciting element of players sliding across the court. And they get dirty and grimy, so it’s practically like a muddy football game in the rain. Practically.

Instead of being sponsored by Lacoste and Longines, a French laundry soap should step up and underwrite the tournament: “Official detergent of Roland Garros. Strong enough to get the clay stains out of your tennis whites.” Come on! That’s the perfect marketing campaign. Maybe that’s too American, pairing something as pedestrian as detergent with something as elegant as tennis. The French require a little more elan in their sponsors, I suppose.

I did learn via my Freeview that it was the French who paved the way for modern tennis fashions. But, of course! Rene Lacoste, nicknamed The Crocodile due to his tenacious playing style, was one of a group of French tennis players known as the Four Musketeers that dominated the sport in the 1920s and early 30s. After playing in incredibly warm temps at the U.S. Open in Forest Hills, he wanting something to wear that was cooler than the traditional garb of the day, the button-down oxford (can you imagine playing in that?) He designed the first sport-specific clothing, the polo shirt with the crocodile on it. Fascinating!

So when I’ve ODed on watching tennis and my free Tennis Channel has gone away, I’ll have to grab my racket and actually play the game myself.

Linda Boyne is an Edwards resident and a regular columnist for the Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to editor@vailtrail.com.

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