Tuesday, June 26, 2007

26 June 2007: Tennis

Bizarre sight here on Level 4 a few minutes ago. I was meandering through the lab and was suddenly faced by a whole slew of people walking out of the coffee room and back to their desks, all smiling.

Turns out they'd had the Wimbledon coverage on in the coffee room and they'd just witnessed Tim Henman winning his first-round match against Carlos Moya, an epic five-set battle eventually won 13-11 by Henman this afternoon after it just got too dark last night to finish the game.

"He won!" exclaimed one happy IAMer.

Of course he did. It's round one. Even though Timmy's powers are definitely waning, he's still a better tennis player than me, you or most of the rest of the world. He's a better player right now, for instance, than Jeremy Bates was at his peak, or Mark Petchey, or any of the other nonentity players we used to cheer wildly for as they bravely lost in the second round or, maybe once in their careers, played with real heart and incredible luck to make it through to the fourth round. And it seems to me that the optimism and excitement shown today much more closely mirrors those good ol' days than the last ten or twelve years when we've had at least one (always male) player with a not-totally-unrealistic shot at actually winning the thing.

My tip? Expect Tim to lose, bravely, later this week.

My reason for meandering through the lab, incidentally, was to do with the still-tight deadline for graduating this year. Despite getting the amended thesis back from the bindery and actually handing it in, the process remains every-so-slightly incomplete as Dr Les, my internal examiner, still hadn't (as of this morning) handed over the necessary paperwork to the admin folks. So a quick chat with Dr Les (during which he assured me - and I repeat this for reasons of public record - that he will get it done before he leaves today) and that was, hopefully, that.

Meaning not only will the visiting relatives from the US be able to see me graduate this year (passports pending...) but I'll also be in the same graduation ceremony as my second bunch of students to whom I had the joy of teaching programming. Their results came out on Friday and showed a slew of 2.1s but just one first-class honours degree being awarded: congratulations to Kerry, and indeed to the rest of them.

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