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The Lost Champion


 

As one who played tennis for many years and watched championships for decades, I must say I have never seen one like yesterday’s Women’s final at the US Tennis Open.

 In any sport there are rules and regulations. There are contentious moments and days of grandeur but in the end the cliché that “it’s not about winning, but how you play the game,” still holds true.

In the past, players would rant and rave, scream at umpires and throw rackets. Some more than others depending on their temperaments. They displayed themselves in questionable performances or meltdowns of anger and hurt. Often they were cited for violations and sometimes fined as they should be. These outbursts of emotions from top seeded tennis pros would draw crowds filling stadiums to witness such shows of passionate athleticism but it doesn’t excuse their behavior.

Sadly, it has become the victimization of players who get offended by umpire calls and cited for their blistering tirades on the court that screams at the validity of the game. Calling into question are also the umpires who have personal issues with certain players along with whether or not they nitpick rules in different matches. The job is one that comes with recognition but should be scrutinized carefully. Umpires should be fair to all.

Bias of sportscasters of one athlete over all the other players has become as bad as the media in politics.  It only adds to the fury of hate and the loss of the Champion in waiting; and that was definitely the case these last 2 weeks.

 Of course there are discriminating facts between the sexes. It isn’t right, but shouldn’t be given into the debate of one player over another simply because of their accomplishments, fame and fortune. No one is above the rules especially as technology today can reveal exact spots the tennis ball lands and film crews can video tape unauthorized activities of those involved with the players during a match.

Everyone is responsible for how they act on and off the court. In this day and time the authors of entitlement have declared war on others because they believe they deserve to be treated differently and receive that which doesn’t belong to them, no matter what. That goes for players, coaches and umpires alike.

Forget competition as an incentive; the master of greed and offense has taken over.

What started out as an exciting, and anticipated great Championship match ended up being all about victimization that literally stole the greatest moment in a 20 year old girl’s life.

As she stood on the sidelines waiting and watching, her years of hard work and labor were swept under the rug of a diminished culture set on an “it’s all about me” syndrome. Tears streaming down her face should have been tears of joy for becoming the first Japanese woman to ever win a Grand Slam tournament. Instead they were tears overshadowed by shameful disputes that should have been determined peacefully and quickly to the point of being settled off the court in private even if the match needed to be paused.

 

As an American citizen and one who loves the game of tennis Naomi, I apologize that you were exposed to such reprehensible inefficiency.  The USTA needs some strong lessons in court management so that this kind of disorganization never happens again.

I commend and congratulate you, Naomi Osaka for your mature, quiet and graceful conduct in the midst of a tumultuous scene. You truly are the real Champion.

 

 


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“You have got to be kidding me!”


Famous words from a famous guy.

John McEnroe What about that hair?

John McEnroe
What about that hair?

For those of you who know anything about tennis, you recognize the above phrase as the signature line of John McEnroe.

Yesterday, the US Tennis Open began in Flushing Meadows, NY.  2 weeks of highlighted matches from the best players in tennis.  The last of the 4 Grand Slams a year, it is a time I look forward to.

If you don’t know who John McEnroe is well, let’s just say he was a showstopper. He played every point of a game/match as if it was his last. Add to that was his erratic, argumentative and very loud behavior on the court.  Besides holding the No. 1 spot in the world of tennis in 1980 he won 9 Grand slam titles.  

Crowds flocked to watch him play. He is a rare breed; he plays left-handed. In tennis that is like a curse for the opponent.

John McEnroe managed to get away with courtside drama that would get players thrown out immediately or fined today.  He was a force to be reckoned with as he made it clear when a call was made he didn’t like.  There was no love lost between him and the referees.

Now, much older he is still the show stopper as a commentator for the Grand Slam tournaments.  He is like “comic relief” from the sidelines and adds a new dimension to TV Sportscasters.

Before the Opening Ceremony tonight he was one of 4 commentators speaking about the day’s first round play. Using his signature line as part of his journalistic style, the crowd roared.

John McEnroe today

John McEnroe today

As he repeated his own words, “you have got to be kidding” the thought ran through my mind of how much that really applies to our world today.

“Did you say we will have to pay more taxes?” “You have got to be kidding me!”

“Guess who got caught doping now? “You have got to be kidding me!”

“Oh please. Not another regulation? “You have got to be kidding me!”

“So they still don’t know what is in Obamacare? “You have got to be kidding me!”

 “Now they want to tell us what kind of soda to drink?  “You have got to be kidding me!”

“That really wasn’t Miley Cyrus the other night was it? “You have got to be kidding me!”

“This just can’t be. Downton Abbey won’t be on until next January? “You have got to be kidding me!”

 

“So are you telling me there really is a Savior named Jesus Christ?”

Yes. There is. And I wouldn’t kid you about that.

He is for real.


John 14: 6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


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My First “Love”


For the next two weeks beginning June 25, TV becomes important to me.

As one who rejects the Kardashians, Beverly Hills whoevers and corny sitcoms, live TV in reality show form will keep me glued.

For many, the art of Tennis is a null and void criteria. My husband can’t understand the excitement of watching the world’s best rallying across the grass Courts of Wimbledon.

Besides his boring outlook on my favorite sport, the art of “Love” across the net has never quite fit his logical brain.

The scoring sensation of tennis originated from France using the word “deuce” as two scored points over the last point depending on who won it.

The 15-30-40 points originated from a clock only they changed the 45 to 40 because it was easier to say. Somewhere along the process they added the “ad” point.

“Love” is considered nothing. That’s right nothing. A big fat “O.”

Maria Sharipova

Many have that one great first love in another person.

In my case, it was tennis.

Growing up tennis was my agenda. Work, family and school interfered with the “calling of the courts.” Playing with friends or tournaments became my sole existence.

My freshman year in college I tried out for the tennis team and made it. My dream had come true.

Besides the fun of the sport, tennis gave me balance, stability, discipline and great exercise. I was in the best shape of my life for over 20 years. Tennis also offered new friendships, camaraderie and competition.

The down side was the many injuries including very badly sprained ankles, sprained wrists and tennis elbow. Years later, the bad news came when I was given the red light to ever playing again due to the complete deterioration of my ankles ligaments and tendons.

Talk about having your heart broken. My first love became a memory.

Rodger Federer

Reminiscing of my love for tennis, who knew there was a better love for me? While spending my waking hours watching the ball rally between the lines, God was waiting, and watching.

He was there when I lost.

He picked me up off the hot pavement when I was screaming with pain.

He was my best and at times my only fan.

He cheered me on from the back row of the bleachers.

He sang for joy in my triumphs.

He sat in the shadows as I glued myself to the idols of tennis history.

He comforted me during seasonal bench warming due to injuries.

He carried me as I limped away from X-rays of beaten down ankles.

He showed up when life’s age set in and it was over.

He patiently waited in line even though he was 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th in my life.

I sidelined God for many years and I was a Bible believing, tithing, church-going Christian.

The selfish training I imposed on myself by the love I had for tennis was a pre-cursor to understanding the awesome grace and mercy of God. As wrong and fracturing as my motives were in the end tennis could do no more for me than any of us can do for each other.

We were not created to fill the void that only God can fill. He did that on purpose so that once we are filled up with him; we can and should give it away.

And that my friends, is what the game of “Love” really is.

Luke 10: 27 “He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

http://highlyfavored74.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/perfectness-in-christ/

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/spiritual-blindness-removed/

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/it-should-be-a-love-hate-relationship/

http://kellylevatino.com/2012/06/23/should-we-love-with-all-our-hearts/

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The 2 men who played the longest tennis match in recorded history.