Remember when Death Cab For Cutie released their first big studio album "Plans" and a gazillion people thought it was the best thing they'd ever heard? And yeah, the songs were catchy and not bad, but they kinda felt a bit over-produced and mainstream. The band gained a lot of new followers who couldn't get enough of "Soul Meets Body" and "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" while a lot of people, myself included, who had known the band for years were left thinking, "But, but...their older stuff is incredible!" and "You new fans just don't know!"
The newly released songs weren't necessarily bad, but they were easy in a way. Where was the magic of hearing Ben Gibbard sing "Company Calls" at the Black Cat in DC? Or how about in the Millhiser gym at the University of Richmond in 2001. Where were the moments of exploration to truly be moved by something instead of getting the carefully chosen singles that were the most likely to appeal to a large audience?
Music can be easy and that's wonderful. Loving a radio hit is great, but so is putting in the time to find the smaller gems out there. And yeah, sometimes the lesser known songs become huge hits, but that's when it's fun for the original fans to sit back and smile while the rest of the world catches up.
So, stick with me here, but I think the same idea can be seen in tennis. I think that a lot of people are fans of Roger Federer's because he is the "radio friendly" hit they see in the finals.
The casual tennis watcher probably sees a handful of matches a year, right? And for quite awhile, Roger Federer was in most of them. He is an amazing player! No one can deny that. He is graceful on the court, rarely misses (at his prime), and saunters around the court like he owns the place. He is a force and I totally understand enjoying that.
But where was the casual viewer in the Quarterfinals when Federer played an up and comer full of heart who left everything on the court in an effort to win. Or in an earlier round when someone from your country played the match of his life and took Federer to five sets?
There is so much more to tennis than the final. In a Grand Slam it's two intense weeks of A LOT of matches. It's so much fun in the early rounds to see someone play in his first grand slam match or even, sometimes, to play his idol!
So, like in music, there is nothing wrong with liking the easy choice, but it's the depth where things are truly interesting. Pick a player outside of the Top 10 and really get behind him or her. Trust me, it's fun! And then, in a few years, when that player is competing for big titles, you can say you knew them when.
And, I just have to say that if the only tennis you see is on Sportscenter, just stay quiet.
The Biggest Tennis Fan On The Planet
And P.S., if you'd like some music suggestions, let me know in the comments...I'm kinda obsessed with finding new things.