Occam’s Razor

November 25, 2007

Fanboy Chronicles

For an extended moment after the match I was in a sealed bubble of satisfied disbelief and nothing, absolutely nothing can prick my bubble of joy. Truth be told, I felt that I could dodge bullets or neutralize lightning while I was at that state. I was… happy.

Earlier that day, I was telling TJ that in a few hours I will be realizing dreams that I have passionately held for years. In high school and during the early years of my college life I watched in awe every time Pete Sampras lifted the Wimbledon and US Open trophies or everytime he unleashes that vicious running crosscourt forehand. While watching on cable tv, I believed that I was more nervous than him and secretly I wished that I’d be able to see him play in person someday. I also wondered how it would feel like to be right there, to feel the atmosphere, to be in the same place with them, to see them make their back swing which my tennis trainer(s) have consistently told me I need to improve on.

And then there’s Roger Federer. Perfection come to life. A living tennis royalty. His greatness in tennis rivaled only by Pete Sampras’ record 14 Grand Slam titles. The guy whose tennis matches I mark on my Outlook Calendar and mobile phone alarm. The one who makes me go crazy during those rare occassions that he loses a game. The one whose biography I know by heart. My tennis idol. I wished out loud many times before that I’d be able to see him play in person someday.

That night, two of my dreams came true. Roger and Pete. Me right behind my sports heroes. Cheering them on raucously and sharing some fan moments with them. To cheer them on was the least that I could do in return for the countless times that their careers have inspired me to keep wanting to achieve more in my own life. And when the going gets tough, they taught me to just keep low and to return with slice backhands to keep the ball in play until I find an opening for that drive volley or crosscourt forehand.

I have always thought that Tennis is a perfect metaphor for life. And how these great tennis players conduct themselves on court should be the standard to which we handle the booming serves and gut wrenching rallies we face.

On our way to the stadium, Cullen and I were practicing our Roger cheer. Deep inside I was wondering if our seats were good enough to enjoy this momentous event. The premium seats were sold so fast that we had to settle for the 2nd best seats which turned out to be 3rd best once we got there. The seats were good enough when you want to lay back and enjoy the match as it happens. But I didn’t want to lay back and relax, I did not fly all the way from Hanoi to KL to freakin relax. I knew I needed to make the most out of this experience. I waited years for this to double-decker dream become a double-decker reality. There’s no way I was going to relax. I was gonna suck it all up, have fun and have tons of memories of what happened that night.

I saw a group of kids gather in one corner of the stadium and knew right away that this is where Pete and Roger will be entering the court from. The scene was all too familiar, kids holding huge tennis balls for autographs and people wielding their cameras as they patiently wait for the players to come out hoping to get that elusive signature or at least have them pose for a photo. I squeezed myself in and when they finally came out got these photos:

As the players went on to have their warm up, I scanned the stadium not knowing exactly why but I knew I was up to something. I thought hey, I maybe it wouldn’t hurt if I get near them and take some shots of them on their warm up. Which I did, but once I got to within a few feet from Roger Federer I knew nothing can make me go away. This is it, I thought. Every single movement, every single swing I can now study them up close. Heck, I can even smell their sweat if you wanna get weird about it.

And so I squeezed myself in the premium seats section camped there and boy, until now I can’t believe how close I was. At one time Pete unleashed one of his trademark running crosscourt forehand and I yelled, “Boy, we missed that forehand!” He looked up me and smiled. After all that shot is HIS and over the years he has taken pride on HAVING that shot. Pete looked up at me and smiled. I know I made my tennis hero feel good coming back on court from a five-year retirement. Knowing I was able to return the favor, damn I felt so good.

My fan moment with Roger was more, uh typical of me. Too dense taking photos that I didn’t realize that he actually half-laughed-half-smiled directly at me. I don’t even know if I reacted. I was too busy taking photos. A ball from Pete serve smacked my camera coz I was too busy taking photos, Roger looked at me and laughed/smiled. What did Les do? Kodak pa rin ng kodak! I was able to get a photo of him smiling at me pero naka side na:

Until now I still can’t believe it. While some people have Gandhi or Mother Teresa. I have tennis and my tennis heroes. And for two hours of my life we were close… And that was enough for me. I just wanted them to know that when I get a chance, I would back them up and cheer them on if I could. And I did just that. And they smiled back.

(If you are looking to download the full match here are links that I got from MensTennisForum, unfortunately I can’t DL from MegaUpload so if you could please convert them to torrents and seed for a few days I’d be very thankful. Here are the links for the

Malaysia exhibition:

set 1 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=XFPLZ3PY
set 2 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=F6RLONQV and for the

Seoul match:

set 1 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=C47KSQGE
set 2 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=71OLW102 and then the match in

Macau which Pete won:

Set1: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3WMZ7ZTE
Set2: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=92WYAZ4Z

thanks to Reece of MTF for uploading)

UPDATE: Found the torrent for the Federer Sampras exhibition matches. You can find them here and be part of the DL pool so we’ll have faster downloads.

Here are some more photos I took from my seat:

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