The Greatest

“Do you see the light?” shouts Reverend Cleophus James.

Okay this has nothing to do with the band (though I think R.E.M. is making me look again at the light, my Lord these guys were awesome… makes me wonder why we even listen to U2). But yes, I've seen the light. And at the other end is Roger Federer.

ANYWAY, you probably didn’t notice because it’s on at 2 in the morning and it’s a sport that no one watches, but Roger Federer won the Australian Open today. AND HE DIDN’T LOSE A SET THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT.

The guy isn’t good - he’s the greatest.

It’s not often that we get to see the greatest. I got to see Michael Jordan and I get to watch Tiger Woods. But other than that… I missed The Greatest (be it Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth, Jim Brown, Ali/Jack Johnson/Joe Lewis/Rocky Marciano * and even Carl Lewis and Bo Jackson (well I did get to use him in Super Temco Bowl )). My point is, it’s not often that we get to see the greatest. And when they come along, we should embrace them and love them. As humans, we love perfection and beauty. There is a greatness to the beauty, be it a painting or a beautiful women. We are attracted to it. This is why we go to movies or museums… and it’s also one of the reasons why we’re attracted to sports. We could see perfection. Though most of the time we only get drama.

And the drama is great. But it’s the constant of sports. People hate blowouts because they’re no fun… the dramatic element of the game has been taken away. And most blowouts aren’t because one team is THAT much better, it’s because the other team stunk up the joint.

But once in a while, we see the perfect game. That game where the ‘beauty’ of the sport comes across on our TV. This happens most often in baseball and least often in football. This is also why these are the two biggest sports in America: The Prefect and Beauty vs the Drama.

Now I’m not going to develop this any further, thought it is VERY interesting if you agree. What I’m getting at is that Federer takes away the drama of a match… but he delivers on the perfection. The guy does not make mistakes. Every shot seems to be perfectly placed. He appears to do this effortlessly. Even when his opponent is playing fantastic, Federer is just better. The man appears to be undefeatable off of clay.

Federer is something else. I heard he went five sets with Jesus a few months ago in fact. (bada-BING!)

Fernando Gonzalez came into the Final playing the best tennis of his life. He destroyed James Blake and Nadal (ranked #5 and #2 in the world respectively). I thought maybe, just maybe, Federer could be taken.

But no way. The man is amazing. And I’ll say it, Federer right now, is better at tennis than Tiger is at golf. Guys on the tennis tour openly say, “Federer is just better.” Unless the match is on clay, Federer is going to win. And even if it is on clay, it appears that only one man can beat him and that’s Nadal. It’s not even fair.

Watching Tiger can be a joy because he looks like a F-16 that’s going to come and save the day, locks in on his opponents, and then blasts them out of the sky. Tiger rarely dominates an event from Thursday to Sunday (that one Maters win and the Open at Pebble being two exceptions; of course those are the two wins we probably remember before anything else because it was watching ‘perfection’). Watching Tiger is watching a man who is more determined than everyone one else… he HAS to win. But Federer? The guy is so fucking good that he makes it look easy. It looks near effortless. The guy is so fucking good that it doesn’t look hard. Almost every single tournament is like Tiger’s victory at Augusta in 1997 or at Pebble Beach in 2000. It’s like Reggie Bush playing against a bunch of 16 year olds… or Johan Santana facing a high school baseball team. Expect Federer is playing against the best!

I didn’t seePedro in 1999, but I think it’s the closest an athlete has come to playing at a level above the competition constantly like Federer does.

The question is, at this point, can he win the French Open? And if he doesn’t, does that ‘hurt’ his career? I honestly don’t know. But I’m going to be watching.

*Clarence: Oh there they go. There they go, every time I start talkin 'bout boxing, a white man got to pull Rocky Marciano out their ass. That's their one, that's their one. Rocky Marciano. Rocky Marciano. Let me tell you something once and for all. Rocky Marciano was good, but compared to Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano ain't shit.

No comments: