I just heard about a most disturbing incident that occurred last week during a professional tennis match. Tennis, Graces! Isn't that supposed to be a gentleman's game?
At a match in Florida, pro David Ferrer hit a ball deliberately into the crowd toward a crying baby, who had allegedly distracted him and caused him to lose the point. Video here.
Let me state unequivocally that this is appalling behavior. Someone might have been seriously injured--this is a professional tennis player serving the ball, not me, with my anemic forehand, hurling a ball into a seated crowd (not that I would approve of that either, just to be clear).
Would Mr. Ferrer have executed an overhead lob to a passing airplane, a backfiring car, or a squawking bird that emitted an unexpected sound during a critical juncture of his game? Isn't it focused concentration part of, well, anything that we aspire to do well? If he wishes to play tennis in a silent, controlled environment, perhaps he should consider the Wii version.
And this is a pretty big but.
Why in the name of all that is Gracious did those parents bring a baby to a tennis match, a sport that is known for its quiet crowds and subdued fans? Was the baby a tennis fan? Knowing that babies are not yet capable of understanding that crying at a tennis match is not the done thing, shouldn't the grown-ups in the equation have left junior home?
Lest you think me anti-child, let me state for the record that I have two of my own. They accompany us when and where it is appropriate and stay behind with a responsible caregiver when it is not.
And let me also state for the record that there is no shame in the U-turn. If you bring the little ones along and things go south, then bail. Better to create a short-term disruption leaving a restaurant or movie than a sustained disturbance for the duration.
Time and place, Graces. Like formal dinners, PG-13 and R-rated movies, funerals, and performances that don't involve furry puppets, events that are geared to adults should be attended by adults.
Can you think of any event that is improved by the bawling of an infant? Exactly.