i was first introduced to layer tennis more than 5 years ago–well before i dipped my toe into the (web) design pool. it was love at first glance —art, competition, wit and a challenging test of my patience as i sat refreshing the page over and over again until a new serve loaded on my screen. awe, bewilderment, procrastination and respect filled my fridays.
and then… it was gone. I kept returning to the site to see when it was starting again; stalking the twitter feed, obsessively seeking updates.
four years. no volleys.
until this September. as if no time had passed, the proverbial racquets returned, challenging my need to be productive on Friday afternoons and winning every time (sorry clients). a guilty pleasure with absolutely no guilt.
and never frustration. until recently.
several weeks ago #intro" target="_blank">Mike Monteiro served as layer tennis commentator. as a fan of ‘design is a job’ i looked forward to the potential of his brutal honesty on the designer’s dialogue. unfortunately the visuals on my screen were eclipsed by the picture Monteiro painted of family dysfunctions. and as engaging as it was, i found the lack of reference to the designers or their work more jarring than his painful recounts.
even more distressing was the reaction on twitter. layer tennis fans heralded Monteiro as the true winner of the match; praising his personal narrative as the knock-out punch.
but it wasn’t about him.
as with any commentator, the onus is on he/she to articulate the events on the screen (or court, field, stage, etc…) with a language colored by personality but not one that obscures the very talents we’ve signed on to see. in another capacity (a blog post, an interview, book chapter) i would happily lend my attention to Mike Monteiro’s reflections. but in this arena, it left me feeling sad for the designers and disappointed by the experience.
if i’m to gauge the general reaction by the twitterverse, i’m in the minority on this one.
thankfully layer tennis continues on. and with the playoffs underway, the only potential distress (hopefully) is trying to get enough work hours in before the continual refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh…