August 31, 2005

American athletes lose fan following in 'US Open'

Humility is a forgotten trait amongst us Americans. This becomes more obvious and annoying in the field of sports when commentators trash the non American newcomer athletes. For instance, yesterday when Andy Roddick the US tennis sensation was to play agaist Muller, a German youngster from Luxembourg, the commentators had a field day making fun of this young player and his game profile. It was embarrassing for me, an american to listen to those supercilious comments made by McEnroe and the other commentator. It's one thing to praise ones own, but it's definitely pompous and in poor taste to disclaim a competitor without giving him a chance to prove himself. Ironically, this nobody from Luxembourg was responsible for the biggest upset at the US Open when he defeated the American favorite Andy Roddick in a most convincing three set match. The commentators looked sheepish at the end and were speechless after what had happened. Pride doth have a fall...especially when it's misplaced and unfounded.

I had every intention of rooting for Andy Roddick when I switched on the TV yesterday. However, within the first ten minutes of listening to the commentators eulogize Andy Roddick and his serve, I became a die hard fan of Muller, the underdog, who was being mocked and written off even as the two players were warming up for the game. I suddenly found myself hating Andy Roddick for no real reason! I think the commentators and their irresponsible talk may end up in many American athletes losing fans (like me) across the world. We need some lessons in humility from the likes of Federer and Muller who were all but praise for their opponents and also the American crowds. More importantly, our commentators, besides curtailing the amount they talk during the game, need to listen to the British commentators during the Wimbledon and the Cricket world cup. in order to learn what it entails to be a professional commentator.

Competing is healthy and also enjoyable when both sides are given a fair chance to prove themselves. Besides, you cannot always win; and the times when you lose, you have to be able to "stand by the side of the road and cheer as the winner goes by"!


Anonymous said...

while i don't like roddick myself, i see no problem with him being disappointed in himself at losing to someone as poorly seeded as Muller (not sure if that spelling is right). however, i do agree that the commentators are the ones at fault - they need to become less patriotic. it has started becoming ridiculous - they almost seem to be proving their loyalty to the country through their chiding of the foreign players. this has especially become the case with a roddick-like all-american tennis star coming into the scene. before him, american stars were not quite as "american," we had agassi, an earring-wearing, long-haired/bald player, and sampras, a person of not clear racial origins. now that they have an american to back, the commentators have totally exceeded all bounds - they need to control themselves.

Anonymous said...

Sharapova played Sania Mirza in the women’s 4th round match-up. Towards the end of the match, TV commentators interviewed Sharapova's coach. He praised Sharapova’s game (justifiably so) but continuously referred to Sania as “the other girl”, never once mentioning the opponent by name.

There is nothing wrong in being proud of excellence. True excellence, however, can only stand tall when built with humility and respect of your opponent. American or not.

The Humanity Critic said...

great post.