21 June, 2011

Wimbledon Day Two (3 Thoughts)

Today reminded me not only of why I love tennis, but why I love sports.  In an earlier piece, I discussed dominance and the difficulty of appreciating dominant champions.  Whether we're talking about Roger Federer, Jimmie Johnson or Manchester United there's a simple, common and unquestionable truth.  The price of winning is often being vilified.

It's easy to cheer for losers, to encourage them to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and try again.  It's not quite as easy to watch someone crush all comers time after time and still deep down root for them to win.  Serena Williams is a winner.  I won't recount the stats, as a tennis fan, you know them by heart.  She's a winner who literally almost lost it all.  Watching her cry today after winning her 1st round match vs. Aravane Rezai reminded me of that.  It reminded me that we're all equally human.  Both the dominant world champions and the players who wouldn't qualify for public park tournaments have our victories and we have  our failures.  Serena won today simply by being able to suit up and play the game, the scoreline was a bonus.

Today Serena was not a tennis terminatrix, she was a woman who almost lost it all and lived to play another day.  Unscripted, raw and compelling.  This, my friends, is why we watch sports.

While we're channeling our better selves, let's give a shout out to France's Virginie Razzano.  As you may have heard, her fiancé and coach died of a brain tumor five days before the start of Roland Garros.  Razzano understandably dropped her 1st rounder there.  Today, she battled past India's Sania Mirza in three sets.  In her press conference afterwards, Razzano said "And today it was the same problem, 3 Love [down], and I say, Okay, now you must to be aggressive. You are here for to play, for you, and for Stéphane, for your husband."

  John Isner/Nicolas Mahut II, boring.  Told ya so.

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