Venus Williams laments her second-class status:
Wimbledon has sent me a message: I’m only a second-class champion…. I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean’s original dream of equality is made real. It’s a shame that the name of the greatest tournament in tennis, an event that should be a positive symbol for the sport, is tarnished.
Beat Federer and then you can call yourself a champion, Venus. Until then, you’re merely the best of a lesser group of athletes, at least, you would be if you weren’t getting eliminated in the second round.
And who cares about a “dream of equality” from someone who played in a sham competition with special rules designed to benefit her at the expense of her opponent?
I don’t mind girls’ athletics, except for basketball which is not only lame but seems to be murder on young female ACLs. I’m one of the few coaches who allows girls to play on what is a predominantly boys’ team, but they get no special treatment. And I loathe the equalitarians who talk equality in theory, but like Billie Jean King, expect special treatment for the girls in practice. It was for just that reason that two seasons ago, I went out of my way to let my players humiliate the local girls’ All-Star team in the semifinals of a big tournament.
My boys were winning 2-0, and I’d taken off three of my best players as I usually do to avoid running up the score when we have a lead. The ref had been calling a lot of ticky-tack fouls on my guys, (most of whom were a head shorter than the girls), but I didn’t think much of it until we scored again and the boy who scored bumped into the goalie after the ball was already in the back of the net. Unbelievably, the ref disallowed the goal. The boys were furious, but I stayed calm until a girl blatantly used both hands to pull down one of my midfielders from behind by the shoulders, then tripped over him and was given a free kick. She even pretended to hurt herself although she’d added injury to insult by landing on top of the poor kid. That was the single most ridiculous call I’d seen since an African referee disallowed a goal my junior year of high school on the grounds that had the goal posts been curved instead of rectangular, the ball would not have gone in.
I wanted to lose my temper, but I wasn’t about to do so in front of the boys since our whole approach to the game revolves around discipline. Still, I was seriously pissed. There was no way the ref had been confused, he’d seen the whole thing, and the other coach was actually applauding his players for their ridiculous play-acting and she-thuggery. It was clearly a purposeful effort to aid the poor little overmatched All-Stars. At this point, four of my starters were out, so I called them over to me – all the boys were practically breathing fire by this time – and issued one very simple order: crush them.
It was like releasing the slavering hounds. Although the game was two-thirds over already, the boys managed to put eight more balls in the net before the whistle blew. That was six more goals than we’d scored against any other team, including the lowly ones, so their coach got the message loud and clear. After the game, he came over and began vehemently protesting our “unsportsmanship” but he finally ground to a halt as my only response to his complaints was a contemptuous stare.
“Either play the game, or don’t play at all,” I finally told him. Belatedly realizing that he didn’t have a leg to stand on, he apologized, we shook hands and that was that.
If Venus and company want to be considered first-class champions, there’s a simple answer. Go out and beat the best. And if you can’t, then you’re not a real champion anyhow. In any event, at least do yourself the favor of testing yourself against the best and seeing where you really stand. I know how it feels to be the best of an inferior lot – I was a white sprinter – and the telling thing is that my best times were always recorded when finishing third or fifth or seventh against the brothers, never when I was winning races against white guys.
UPDATE: Speaking of the sexes and tennis, Scott Adams chimes in:
Later today I have a tennis match against a 20-year old woman who plays for her college team on a tennis scholarship. Her mom is the tennis pro at the health club where I play. I am still formulating my strategy for avoiding embarrassment. My current plan is to run head first into the net post when the score reaches 5-0….
The good news is that I hit enough “Kennedys” to actually win. The bad news is that my opponent has renounced tennis and joined the Witness Protection Program so that no one at the club will ask her how the match went.