“In prison, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.” – This is a quote from Albert Einstein. I guess we’re getting some Australian prisoners really excited about professional tennis?
Thank God for the competition today,” Rush said. “It’s good for us here. To keep us active, and I like to be active, so do all the prisoners here.”
Chan and Rush formed a doubles team to take on the finest from Indonesia’s Immigration Department as the prison opened its doors to the media for the tournament.
Prisoners and public servants traded ground strokes as an organ played music in the background similar to a baseball game anda prison choir serenaded about 100 spectators, among them Australia’s consul in Bali, Bruce Cowled.
The event was the idea of Yon Suharyono, the prison governor, who revealed that the many of the Bali nine, the young Australians convicted of trafficking heroin, were keen tennis players. “They love it,” he said. “They play tennis almost from morning till noon, all day until they have to go back in (their cells),” he said. Looks like the ATP needs to look new places for some professional players?
All prisoners competing in the two-day “Department of Law and Human Rights Tennis Open” wore matching red shirts, like Tiger Woods, with Si Yi Chen, Myuran Sukumaran and Matthew Norman of the Bali nine also hitting the court.
For Rush, Chan and Sukumaran, all residents of “The Tower”, the section for inmates awaiting death by firing squad (Bali’s death penalty), the tennis is a good distraction as they wait to make appeals against their sentences. I mean, when I’m sentenced to die, the first thing on my mind, is how I can improve my backhand, how about you?
Asked about the possibility of death, Rush was uncomfortable, if existential: “I don’t know, I don’t think death is a good thing. But, it’s the law in this country.” Typically death is not viewed as a good thing, so I understand where he’s coming from.
Do you think the USA should add prison tennis to it’s activities as taxpayers pay $15,000 for each court they place in the prison plus $1,500 a year in upkeep?