Steffi, will you marry me?

I mentioned Wimbledon in my previous post and the other day they showed this classic, very funny clip of Steffi Graf on BBC TV. It’s an oldie but goodie that I just need to share here as well…

No matter how often I watch this (and I have watched this countless times over the years), I still adore this. So, now you, my faithful readers, get to share in the joy of this little video as well.

Now I’m really off to bed. Good night!

Football, Tennis, Zoey and Thor

Last weekend Mr Esther, mini me and I travelled to the east of The Netherlands to see our Dutch national women’s football team play a friendly match against Finland. It was fun and mini me wished she could be on the field to play as well. The posed team picture was taken after the match but we saw them pose for that from where we were sitting. After the match we happened to walk past the stage door part of the stadium and indeed saw one of our national players (Merel van Dongen) come out and pose for pictures. The three of us are in the background of one of the pictures that was posted on social media.

The Netherlands won 2-0. It was fun seeing the sea of orange errupt after a goal (I really like that we have such a recognizable national colour) and we even had the wave go around the stadium as well…

What I really loved to see was that the audience was filled with young girls and women. Women’s football has really taken flight here the past 10 years or so and is really inspiring a whole generation of young women growing up now. It was fun to do this, my first time seeing a professional football match too!

I’ve also been loving following Wimbledon this past week and a half. There’s really some excellent talent coming up now and even two Dutch players (Van Rijthoven and Van der Zandschulp), who seem to be coming out of nothing, have done well. We’ve also become enamoured with young Spanish player Carlos Alcaraz and Italian player Jannik Sinner. Alas, all of them are out now but they do show that the future of tennis is looking bright. Oh, and I love that a two time mother, age 35, has made it to the semi-finals! I hope this German player, Tatjana Maria, can make it into the final.

Besides all that, I have recently also been watching a show called Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Only two seasons were made of this show in 25 or so episodes and I have just finished it, really enjoying it too. The show is about a smart computer coder, Zoey Clarke, who after an event magically begins to hear people’s innermost wants and desires through popular songs. Especially the first season with the terminally ill father storyline really struck a chord with me, culminating near the end of season two with my fave father-daughter performance…

I also really liked the diverse cast in this, especially Zoey’s gender-fluid friend Mo and Zoey’s colleague Simon. The second season was less strong, I felt, as was the final movie (a Christmas movie) they made, so I do get that the show had run its course. Still, it was a fun watch and if you like music and drama and some comedy as well, it might be worth a gander. A trailer:

And to finish it all off, Junior and I went to see the latest Thor movie in our local cinema this past evening – Thor : Love and Thunder.

I know not everyone agrees but I really enjoyed seeing Jane Foster again. The movie itself was fun although a little more gravitas to oppose the sometimes almost too much comedy would have been nice. In the whole Marvel universe Thor has always been my fave and I am looking forward to the next one, which will apparently be coming at some point. I heard some harrowing things during my refugee work stint in the afternoon, so watching this film in the evening was a good antidote for that.

That’s it for my little round up. It’s 2 am now, I really need to head for bed as I need to be sitting at my laptop again for work in six and a half hours. Good night!

Muse & Metallica ice dancing

During the pandemic somewhere early last year I came across a mesmerizing ice dancing routine set to Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters on a quiet rink with no one around in New York City. It is skated by American teen siblings Oona and Gage Brown and I have watched that video several times. It flows so beautifully, the camera follows every movement so closely and there is a magical and intimate quality to it all…

I came across it again today, was as mesmerized as when I first saw it, and now find that they have recently also made a video set to Exogenesis by Muse! It is just as mesmerizing to me, even though that Muse piece is less known than the Metallica song to most people…

Wow, I like these youngsters and their ice skating music choices. I wonder if they will one day end up winning World Championship and Olympics medals. I, for one, would give them one!

Apparently these videos are made by a former ice skater turned videographer, see his YouTube channel here for some more mesmerizing videos with other skaters.

Legend

Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst has set a stunning record today: for the first time ever an athlete has won gold medals in five consecutive Olympics!

I was in an online meeting when it happened and I half heard it on TV. As soon as the meeting ended I was able to rewind the programme (yay for digital TV!) and watch her race and the following three races where she had to wait to see if she would actually take the victory. And she did!

Ireen Wüst has been winning Olympic gold medals from when she was 19 to now, at age 35. And we have seen them pretty much all in the past 16 years. We watched the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin in Italy when she won her first gold there on the 3000 metres. It’s the first Olympics my son was aware of and he was completely into it. He even re-enacted the speed skating start over and over again, wearing oven gloves and swimming goggles. He was four years old.

My kids don’t know a world without Ireen Wüst winning Olympic gold medals. In 2016 we even saw Ireen Wüst and our other legendary skater, Sven Kramer, live during the Dutch speed skating championships (he has also been winning Olympic medals for that long, though is yet to gain a medal at the Olympics this time around). She has two more races to go in these Olympics and who knows if she’ll win more medals. No matter what happens next, she’s a legend already!

The Dutch TV commentator said just after she won, “The world has Wonder Woman, we have Wonder Wüst!” and he was right.

Olympics

I caught more of this year’s Olympics on TV than I ever thought I would and maybe more than I’ve ever watched before.

These Tokyo Olympics have been the best Olympics yet for The Netherlands. “We” have won a staggering 36 medals (10 gold, 12 silver, 14 bronze) this time around, placing us at number 7 in the overall medals table, higher than ever before. There have been some great victories in cycling and sailing and hockey and rowing and riding but the ones I enjoyed most where the Dutch athletics medals. “We” have never been this good at athletics before and one woman was responsible for 3 (!) of those medals. I especially was fascinated by the amazing runner Sifan Hassan who won gold on the 5k and 10k runs and bronze on the 1500m run, which is a trifecta no one else has attempted before. This woman is so determined and so good, it is truly inspiring to see how she challenges herself (in sports and in life) and how it has paid off! She has truly been the superstar of the Olympics over here.

There have been disappointments too but especially lots of great moments for the Dutch at the Olympics…

I’ve been disappointed to not see the Dutch football and handball teams progress further and I have also missed a lot, like seeing any of the tennis tournament part of the Olympics. But then there were also some lovely, heartwarming unexpected moments I saw, like the Italian and Qatari high jumpers deciding to share their gold medal or Simone Biles bravely showing her humanity by admitting to mental health issues and how she dealt with that or British diver Tom Daley knitting away during breaks or last night when, just before the finish line, Dutch marathon runner Abdi Nageeye encouraged his Belgian running partner and friend to follow him so that he too could win a medal. I’ve seen sports I only watch once every four years (if that) and that’s been fun too.

It was nice getting up in the mornings and switching on the TV during breakfast to see what had happened at the Olympics overnight and then popping in now and again during the day to see what else was going on. I didn’t think I’d enjoy watching what I did as much as I did. And now, this coming morning (I’m typing this really late at night, it’s 2.45 am) there will be no more Olympics updates to watch. So, what do we do with ourselves now that it’s all over?

Of course, I can stop being like Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice now…

And I guess I can use the time tomorrow to sort through junk in the attic, something I’ve been putting off doing for a very long time, but I’ll miss the excitement of the Olympics…