I said the NET, stupid

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Aussie expat and SAJR reader Mike Meyerson shares a hilarious Yiddish mix-up he’ll never forget
by MIKE MYERSON | Nov 04, 2014

Who remembers Mike Meyerson, SA expat now living in Australia, a tennis player and a keen follower of SAJR Online? Well, Mike never quite became the pro tennis player his dad would have liked him to be, but he still plays and has taken to writing tennis stories – a few of which have even appeared in Australia in the national newspaper, The Australian and in The Big Issue.


RIGHT: Mike Meyerson

Mike shares this funny story about a Yiddish mix-up he’ll never forget…

My failed attempt to become a tennis champion also meant that I failed to fulfil my father, Louis’, hopes that I would in some way make up for his own failed sporting ambitions. These circumstances made for fraught parent-child relations.

Occasionally, however, there was some humour in our somewhat dysfunctional situation. Take the “opgeret” episode, which aggravated an already drawn-out match. I was playing against a stubborn opponent, with Louis, as usual, watching anxiously from the sideline.

At the first change of ends I heard Louis say something that sounded like “opgeret”. Louis, one generation removed from those who escaped persecution in Eastern Europe, often used Yiddish words in daily conversation.

As with many Yiddish words, there is no exact English translation for “opgeret”. It means “finished”, but not only “finished”, but completely and utterly finished. Much like the English-Afrikaans phrase “finish and klaar”.

“Klaar”  also means “finished”, but combine the two and you know that whatever is being referred to is more finished than just finished - and also more finished than just klaar.

Again the word 'opgeret' was muttered

So when I heard the word “opgeret” muttered again from the sidelines when we changed at 2-1 against me, I was confounded. How could Louis think the match, yet to unfold, was not only finished but completely and utterly finished?  When the same word was repeated more stridently at subsequent changes of ends I became annoyed.

How could he be intimating that the match was all over and done with, especially when it was not me who was ahead. Now the “opgerets” became louder and more frequent. I began hearing them between points! Unable to vent my anger against my father, I took my fury out on the ball, my shots becoming ever wilder.

Match point against me finally arrived, simultaneously with Louis’ final “opgeret”, now muttered in a plaintive tone.

I lost the point, and so lost the match - a loss I attributed to Louis. I stormed off the court and accosted him, demanding to know why he had said “opgeret” throughout the match. “I wasn’t saying ‘opgeret’”, he replied, “I was saying ‘get to the net!’.”

Meyerson - The Long Game FULL
Mike's story in The Big Issue

Meyerson - This Sporting Life 1
Meyerson - This Sporting Life 2
From: The Australian


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