Well, it was a depressing sports day, wasn’t it? Let’s start with the least offensive aspect – the US Open men’s final. I didn’t see it, but then, I work for a living like many other people, so I wasn’t home for the 5 p.m. start and wasn’t about to distract myself at the office. By the time I got home, it was all over but the shouting – Marin Čilić defeating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. An even bigger loser than Niskikori – CBS Sports, which must’ve been kicking itself over its star-less final. (Hey, the 5 p.m. start doesn’t help the ratings either, CBS.)
Perhaps the Eye Network can blame Novak Djokovic. I can’t help but think that this was his tournament to lose.
I can see Roger Federer – who is, after all, 33 – going down to the big, hard-serving Čilić. But as good as Nishikori may be, you expect more from the No. 1-ranked player in the world. Maybe it’s just me. But no matter my mood or what’s happening personally in my life or even how I feel physically, I’ve never allowed anything to interfere with my writing or my work. I know that everyone says at the end of your life, you won’t wish you wrote one more article but rather that you spent more time with your loved ones.
But here’s the way I see it: Not everyone can be a writer. Not everyone can win Wimbledon. Obituaries aren’t written about relationships. They’re written about accomplishments.
You have to look at Nole’s opportunities at most of the Slams since 2011 and wonder if he hasn’t squandered them, because of – well, what? We’ll get into that when we explore Chris Bowers’ new book, “The Sporting Statesman: Novak Djokovic and the Rise of Serbia” in an upcoming post.
Of course, Nole and company look like the Alberts – Einstein and Schweitzer – compared to the troglodytes that can be found in the NBA and the NFL.
Now another NBA owner, the Atlanta Hawks’ Bruce Levenson, is selling his team, because he made racially insensitive remarks. Seems he had emailed his execs about how to get more white fans into Hawks’ games, since, he says, Southern whites don’t like being a minority. As a cultural writer, I’ve often had to delve into other cultures and found myself in the minority and you know what? It’s refreshing and enlightening to experience how others live – unless, of course, you’re terribly insecure.
Meantime, the N.C.A.A. has reduced the sanctions on Penn State, which tolerated a climate in which convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky flourished. Bad move. And then, just when you thought the day couldn’t get worse, more video surfaced of Baltimore Ravens’ star Ray Rice coldcocking then-fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator as she confronts him. You can see him dragging her out of the elevator by the arms, one foot bare, having lost its shoe, as if she were so much garbage. Her underwear must’ve been exposed, because CNN blurred her bottom. The whole thing is nauseating, and has led the pundits to wonder what did commish Roger Goodell know and when did he know it, not to mention the Ravens’ front office, which, if you remember, originally tweeted that Palmer was sorry for her role in the “incident.” It would be laughable if it weren’t so outrageous.
What we know is that Rice is out – cut from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the NFL, which should just get rid of him. Domestic abuse – which I explore in my upcoming novel, “In This Place You Hold Me” – isn’t an isolated incident, it’s a pattern. And I don’t care what Palmer did or said to him, he should’ve been man enough to walk away and keep his hands off her.
Let’s end on an up note, shall we? After Serena Williams defeated Caroline Wozniacki for the US Open women’s title 6-3, 6-3, Caro – who’s had a tough year but has made lemonade out of lemons – congratulated her “bestie,” hailing her as an “unbelievable friend” and saying Serena owed her a drink. The two later tweeted pix of themselves out on the town.
For once, civilization reigned.