Loving the French Open

June 22, 2012

Non-Olympic tennis is the great international one-on-one sport where belligerent politically-motivated nationalism doesn’t overshadow the work ethic and perseverance of individual human beings.  The reactionary crowd at the French Open is very interesting.  They present almost an anti-commentary to what the media industrial complex gives us concerning the state’s self-defined greatness.  The crowd boos and snickers when Andy Murray leans over rubbing his back as an apparent explanation as to why he lost a point.  When toughness is demonstrated, it is appreciated by the crowd.  The international crowd reacts when an under-performing player gets petty about line calls.  We observe them making similar observations, having similar feelings, and drawing similar conclusions as we do when we observe our fellow man.

Most of all, the final result cannot be masked by media skewing of the story.  People worldwide know the basics of tennis and can make their own assessments as to which players from which countries really make supreme efforts to get ahead in the sport.  Viewers are free to draw their own conclusions as to what this may mean about other cultures that are affected to varying degrees by government involvement in their lives and economies.  The number of hard-working top players that came originally from former Soviet bloc countries is incredible compared to several years ago.   The scarcity of top American players is also evident.  The image of current United States tennis-playing stature is boosted slightly by players like Varvara Lepchenko (from Uzbekistan) and Maria Sharapova (Russian citizen) who have moved to the U.S. from their country of origin (Lepchenko and others becoming U.S. citizens).   People who have been oppressed for generations apparently really appreciate the ability to apply themselves and to get ahead based on their own efforts.  A viewer is also free to conclude that a bratty player might be from a culture that teaches that you get ahead by throwing tantrums and whining.  It is nice to be able to observe these differences for yourself in a widely-covered sport without the media spoon-feeding you the conclusions that you are supposed to make.   It is the opposite of our non-ability to view the political landscape and war landscape around the world in any truthful sort of way through the eyes of the media industrial complex which decides what we can see, what we can’t see, and what conclusions we must draw.  There is no panel of experts telling us who won the French Open 4th round “debate” between Rafael Nadal and Juan Monaco.  Nadal won it.  No Fox News commentator can claim that Monaco actually won the match because of the commentator’s subjective opinion that Monaco’s backhand is more impressive than Nadal’s.   We can choose to root for any player that we choose to and we can also see that persons of other nationalities aren’t the evil animals that we are told they are.

Watching international tennis also shows us how well people really do get along at the international level when free from government imposed societal boundaries and pre-conceptions invented by state-friendly media.  When you look at the spectators intermingling in the stands of the French Open and on the streets of Paris, you see an impressive international community that interacts with each other and gets along better than what we are told can happen when government is not involved to protect us from the evil imaginary foreign “dragons” that we dare not consort with.   Who am I rooting for?  Nadal (Spain) for men’s singles and Sharapova for women’s singles.

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