Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Robert Griffin III. There are many roles that fit the mold of presumably, one of the best college quarterbacks to come out in years. He can be described as a Heisman trophy winner, soon to be husband (with a white woman, plays into public scrutiny), son of a two-parent household, exemplary teammate, and is of “bad character?” Does that even sound right? There were unanimous reports of some NFL scouts accusing RGIII of being selfish and not having the greatest character. When these reports were released, I instantly thought back to the first black heavyweight world-boxing champion, Jack Johnson. When you hear comments like that and see the confusion of most analysts from such comments, you cannot help but to see race as the central issue. Many analysts play around this, and will say absurd things like, “Race is definitely not the case.” This only ignores the elephant in the room and does a disservice to society at large. Jack Johnson was braggadocios, married white women, was rich, laughed and smiled in interviews, beat white men in the ring to claim the title, and was a black man born in the great state of Texas. White society at large hated Jack Johnson, and since Jack Johnson, has implemented policies and generalized mannerisms to combat this.  Even when you are sound in physical ability and character, it is not good enough. You will still be criticized and questioned in your demeanor and character. There is a fear of the potential of Robert Griffin III due to the fact he may do it all. He may become one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL, and afterwards, go on to have a career in politics by utilizing his degree in political science. When you are a black man in America who possesses human and social capital, you become unstoppable and feared incredibly at the same time. There’s a fear that daughters of white men will love RGIII as a man (not just as a physical sexual specimen or mandingo), that he could voice his opinions on social issues due to his high cognitive abilities, or that he needs to be compared to top quarterbacks or white quarterbacks I should say such as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers instead of Michael Vick or Cam Newton (black quarterbacks). All this meanwhile,  former top pick quarterback Ryan Leaf is indicted on charges of breaking entry into homes in Montana and steals medications. Although, many sports news outlets make time to run segments on RGIII’s bad character…

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Novak Djokovic (left) and Rafael Nadal (right) holding their respective trophies

Wow, so I have just finished watching the Wimbledon championships, the men’s finals. For those, who have no idea of what the Wimbledon’s are, it is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is considered the most prestigious. Dating back to 1877, yes, extremely historic. Welp, I am not here to give a history lesson; rather, I am here to talk briefly about the tournament. Today Rafael Nadal (no. 1) and Novak Djokovic (no. 2), two of the best players in the world played intensely to win the championship. A tournament to watch indeed. That is if you have any interest in Tennis. If not, I understand, a lot of my friends do not watch or play tennis….or, they think its nerdy, perhaps. In fact, yesterday during a text message exchange, a friend called me a “nerd” because I told her that I was watching the Wimbledon’s. There are several reasons why I watch tennis; I will talk about a couple here today that I am reminded of from today’s match.

In the sake of transparency, I am a Rafael Nadal fan and have been for quite some time, team Rafael! The reason why I am drawn to tennis has to do with the intensity of the game. First, tennis is a sport that requires a deep level of engagement; one can never take their eyes off the ball and the opponent. Second, as with most sports, I am drawn to the level of agility and adept that is required to successfully outplay the opponent, as Djokovic did with Nadal. Djokovic did not win because he is the best player in the world; au contraire, he won because he “played” like the best player in the world. Djokovic and his team knew that Nadal has won two of the last three Wimbledon championships and knew they had to play hard today. This win had a lot to do with dexterity and a hunger to beat the other player. The Serbian champion consistently landed shots while taking advantage of any small miscue from the Spaniard. If you ask me, I believe that Djokovic shot placement was superb and meticulous—it allowed him to win the first two sets. Let’s not forget that Nadal also played amazingly, remember how he broke the 2-0 lead in the second game of the third set, well played. However, in the final set, Nadal double-faulted, which made me cringe as a fan—he never double-faults. Let’s be honest, Djokovic’s defense today was at another level. ESPN’s Patrick McEnroe asserts that Djokovic dismantled Nadal—I disagree with this statement. Third and finally, I am drawn to tennis because of the sportsmanship, respect, and humility that is exuded on the court, particularly after a match. Something that is almost imperceptible in most US sports. For example, one of the many reasons why I am a Nadal fan is because of his graciousness and humility after winning or losing a game. His ability to admit and express his thoughts unequivocally is something that I admire about him.

After today’s match, both Nadal and Djokovic spoke with profound graciousness, respect, and honesty. Nadal said after the game that he was “nervous at 5-4” in the first set. I admired that greatly, for a player to admit to their nerves is really strong. In a response to his win over Nadal, Djokovic said, “When you’re playing the best player in the world, Rafael Nadal, I had to be at the top of my game…” while commenting after his win he is sure to recognize Nadal as the best player in the world. For me, I am attracted to great sportsmanship, humility, and honesty. Humility and honesty is not something you see in all athletes, so when you do see it, its extremely important to mark it. For me, tennis is a sport that brings out my inner nerd but it is also a sport that I continue to enjoy for some of the reasons I have just highlighted.

This was a great match indeed. Novak Djokovic deserved the win; he played excellently both physically and mentally. Nadal made several mistakes that really hindered him from winning, all of which he admits to. Now Djokovic is the number one player in the world and rightfully so, congratulations! Rafael Nadal, I will see you next year and will continue to be a loyal fan. Team Rafa!