June 21st, 2011
02:29 PM ET

Wimbledon's Marathon Men

There is nothing quite like Wimbledon. The world's most famous tennis tournament is quintessentially British, aside from the sporting action, it is an excellent excuse for eating strawberries and cream, drinking Pimm's and having a picnic on Henman Hill/Murray Mount.

Last year, it also provided an unprecedented and unforgettable spectacle: an 11-hour, 5-minute marathon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The match stretched over three days before John Isner finally won 70-68 in a fifth set that lasted for 138 games and was longer in duration than any other complete match in the history of tennis. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

If you have as much difficulty as I do in processing a match that long, let me help you out. The match lasted longer than:

  • A flight from London to Los Angeles (10 hours, 10 minutes)
  • The entire first season of Mad Men (10 hours, 19 minutes)
  • The time football World Cup Champions Spain spent playing in the entire 2010 tournament, minus injury time (11 hours)

Sadly, Isner and Mahut did not quite make it to our next milestone: the length of time it takes to watch the entire extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (11 hours, 48 minutes).

No wonder then, that the gruelling combat between two previously unheralded players had become a global phenomenon long before it had come to a close, making front-page news and trending on Twitter around the world.

Then came the re-match on the longest day of 2011. How appropriate...


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Filed under: General • Personal musings • Sport
June 21st, 2011
10:00 AM ET

Tenth Annual World Refugee Day

Running. Afraid. Unsure what the next day will bring.

AFP/Getty Images

It's the plight of millions of people around the world. Refugees. People who, for whatever reason, feel they have no other option but to flee their homelands. Whether forced out by persecution or ongoing violence, they often leave reluctantly - abandoning homes and livelihoods - and taking along only as much as they can carry. And if that isn't hard enough, there's usually the added pressure of escaping with the family unit intact, traveling long distances with small children and the elderly, all the while aware the next days may be more challenging than the last.

For many, it's a difficult scenario to imagine. But for the world's nearly 44 million refugees, it's a harsh reality.


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Filed under: General • Personal musings