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Ben Greenman's Match Preview

Once More Unto
the Breach

Welcome to today’s Layer Tennis competition. I’m your color commentator, Ben Greenman. The colors I will be using will be black and white and, occasionally, red.

That is how I have started every Layer Tennis commentary, and that is how I started this one. It is not laziness that makes me repeat myself: or, I should say, not laziness alone. It is also nostalgia, because today's competition reunites me with Armin Vit, who was one of the participants in my very first foray into Layer Tennis Commentary, all the way back in 1918. At the time, Armin was already a veteran: he had fought against the Canadian designer Marian Bantjes, and was returning to the battlefield for what was, at the time, an all-Brooklyn match against Sam Potts. Armin's match against Sam was fought against the backdrop of the Great War. Many men took to the battlefield that day, and many men died. Even thinking about it now, I feel myself about to produce those little salty drops that come from the corners of the eyes. What are they called again? Oh yeah: tears.

Let's not speak of the war.

Armin, by the way, is a very talented designer who is currently the co-proprietor (with his wife Bryony) of UnderConsideration. Armin has lived in many places over the course of his life. He was born and raised in Mexico City, then went to Atlanta, New York, and now Austin. Along the way, he was in Chicago, which is the home of today's other competitor, Mig Reyes. Mig currently works as an interactive designer at the t-shirt company Threadless, and also does a number of other related projects in the world of design, including teaching at the Chicago Portfolio School. He played Jessica Hische earlier this season.

Oh, also, lest you think that today's match is an ordinary Layer Tennis competition, think again, suckers! Today is a Quarterfinal Bracket: both Armin and Mig were chosen by a public vote from the season's winners. The two men also know each other. In fact, I have seen a photograph of the two of them standing together, looking pleased. It should be noted that neither of them is wearing a t-shirt in the picture. This might be fine for Armin, but I feel fairly certain that Mig is contractually obligated to wear t-shirts everywhere: weddings, swimming pools, and certainly in photographs with other designers.

Anyway, here they go. Give them your attention and your admiration. They are sharpening their electronic pencils and putting on their fiercest looks.

Let's speak of the war.


Ben Greenman is an editor at the New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including What He's Poised To Do (which the Los Angeles Times called "astonishing"), Superbad, and Please Step Back. His newest book is Celebrity Chekhov.

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The Layer Tennis Blog

Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion. jc-12.20

Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4. jc-12.20

Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four. jc-12.17

Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday. jc-12.12

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