I was pleasantly surprised by some of my readers comments after my last post. My readers say it better then I do, so I thought I would dedicate this post to them. I hope they don’t mind! Here are three comments that I got today when I switched on my computer, from my post “Is Federer Arrogant?”:
I think you make a good point about tennis players, especially the great ones, “needing” a bit of arrogance. Another word for arrogance is confidence, or self-assurance. Had Federer not had his “arrogance” or incredible self-assurance, he would’ve listened to all the media claptrap about how he was done and dusted a year ago, and retired/hired a coach/adopted a double handed backhand/skipped the clay season etc … Had Federer not had his “arrogance”, he probably would’ve given up when he got down 1-5 in the second set tiebreak against Roddick. His ability to block out criticisms, and to believe in himself even when he’s down a set or two, down a break – is part of his success. He’s ‘arrogant” enough to say “I’m Roger effing Federer, I can win this.”
And thank god for that.
This comment is from the owner of the blog ‘All I Need is a Picket Fence’, who wrote that wonderful article about the fuss over the nr. 15 that was on Roger’s jacket after he won Wimbledon. We both wrote posts about the criticism Roger receives without knowing about each other’s posts. Once again I thought this was another spot on comment. I really couldn’t have said it any better myself. This is exactly what I was trying to get across in my last post, and why a certain amount of ‘arrogance’ is actually necessary. To reach the dizzy heights Roger has, he had to be almost unrealistic at times. Roger has an almost unrealistic belief in his own abilities, and that is exactly why he has achieved the things he has.People don’t realize just how brutally competitive tennis is.
Sometimes I’m amazed when I hear Roger say that he would rather face Rafa in the final of an important tournament. Like the US Open last year for instance, after Murray beat Rafa in the semi-final. Roger desperately needed to win that grand slam title, but even at that time he said he would rather have faced his main rival in the final. I mean there is just no fear from the man. Even though for his fans it was better that he faced Murray in the final, it was a disappointment for him. He just thinks on a completely different level then other players, and that’s what makes him great. The fact that Rafa had such a great record against him didn’t matter at all, he wanted to play him in that final and beat him. For a lot of people this is arrogance, but like Dootsiez rightly said, it is unerring self belief.
The US and UK are like two cousins. They are the best of friends who share the same values (dominating the world and thinking that there ways of existing is the best) and feel that if you are not in with what the US and the UK does business, than you are the hated enemy. If Roger was American or British and succeeding like this, you would not hear the end of it. That is why they keep hyping up Andy Roddick and Andy Murray ALL THE TIME. Even, Rafa, who is from Spain “humble type of people”, and Nole “who’s country, Serbia has been to hell and back”. But since he is from Switzerland, who’s image is of rich county who’s people are “high society” The US and UK sees him as “arrogant”.
I also feel like this “global economic recession” has alot to do with people’s anger and hate these days. Sports are used as a vehicle for entertainment and they see athletes being sucessful and making alot of money, while Mom and Dad are being laid off, starving and home being foreclosed on. People expect athletes to be idols who are to be worshipped and role models. I can not think of a greater role model in sports than Roger, We are spoonfed all the negative role models in sports who chase girls, get all boozed up, drugged up and I hope that he gets this recognition that he deserves.
Roger is a leader and all people who play sports should recognize this. ROGER IS NOT ARROGANT.
This was another great comment from a regular reader of mine, and the fact that she is American herself is important. When you are American or British yourself it’s very easy to buy into that lie of superiority. It takes a special person to say no to it and realize that all beings are equal. I believe this feeling of superiority has brought untold misery on the human race, and it continues to do so. As long as there are countries, societies and groups who think they are superior to the rest, the human race is doomed. I know this is turning into more then a tennis discussion, but this superiority complex from some nations are once again coming into play when we talk about Roger Federer. This is why I have said I take a certain amount of satisfaction from the fact that Roger is not from the US.
If you always want to be the best in everything and never give credit when you don’t have the best you are starting to border on a dictatorship. And again it’s not like America hasn’t had great sportsmen in the past. They had Jordan, Ali, Ruth, Johnson, Nicklaus, Woods, Lewis, I mean there is no shortage. That is already amazing for a single country and those are not all of them. Why not give credit where it’s due? I guess it’s because Roger may be greater then all of the above that they are having such a hard time with this. And like my reader said, coupled with the fact that he is from a country that is ‘high society’ in Europe, makes them jealous. It’s all a bit sad for me. Why do we let social, cultural, racial, religious, national and all kinds of boundaries play such an overly important role?
What does all those things matter in the end? Don’t we all have so much in common? Dont’ we all want the same thing? Don’t we all just want to be happy? It’s such a simple thing yet we make it infinitely complicated for ourselves. And my reader makes another extremely important point. The media feeds us these role models and celebrities who are really not good role models at all, and yet we worship them. But when an authentic role model like Roger comes along we only focus on the 15 on his jacket! It’s a sad state of affairs and it has to stop. We need more role models like Roger!!!
After everything Roger has achieved, two majors and both of them so historical and important, I think it´s sad that the topic of discussion is the jacket,people like to tear others down, all this seems so insignificant compared to Roger´s achievement…
I really didn´t see anything wrong with his speech either.His true fans will allways be supporting him.
Look another message I read on Roger´s t-shirt after an interview to TyC SPORTS of my country:”VICTORY IS FOR EVER”.
This comment comes from another one of my readers who live in the US, Ines . Once again it’s hard to understand why people like to tear others down. Maybe it’s time for them to try something new, try to lift people up and see what that feels like. Try it, you’d be surprised at how good it feels! You will feel what it’s like to view humanity as a whole, and you will experience oneness with all things. This is what we desperately need in these times, to return to oneness as a human race, and realize how much we all have in common, not what we don’t. And besides, it makes no sense at all to try and tear down Roger’s achievements, it’s completely futile. He has achieved what he has and no one can ever take that away from him. Victory is indeed forever…
Ps. I fully realize this post could easily have been in my spirituality blog and I might well make another post there about this matter, but I think Roger is more then just tennis. There are many things we can learn from him.
Update: I seem to be making a habit of these updates now, but it’s good that i can because I often think of things that I had left out in a particular post. Here are some additional thoughts:
How does it reflect upon a country, group or individual if they can’t give recognition where it’s due, as opposed to giving credit where it’s due? I think of two greats of the game, Sampras and Borg, which provides a great example here. Borg has always struck me as someone who does not want to see his records broken. At the French Open he was rooting for Soderling in the final. Granted Soderling was from his own country, but he actually said he think that Soderling will win. To me that is taking a bit far, and that was proven by how easily Roger disposed of Soderling in the final. It seemed like it was Roger’s destiny, and almost everyone wanted to see Roger finally win the French Open after being in the three previous finals.
Then I think of Pete Sampras who always said that if there is one guy who he would like to break his slam record, it is Roger. He even made the trip from his home in the US to see his friend break his record, and no one could have been happier for him then Pete when he won the title. Now lets look at these two different approaches and how it reflects on these individuals. To me Borg seemed selfish and rigid. He didn’t impress me much, and I now think less of him then before. Pete on the other hand seemed so appreciative and modest, and he is now an even bigger legend in my eyes. And I think others feel the same. The fact that his record got broken is not important, but the humility he showed when it was broken is important. Winning is not everything.
This is because not everyone is blessed with the same amount of talent. The best you can do is make the most of your talent, which Pete did of course. Therefor it was not hard for him to accept Roger breaking his record, because Roger simply has more talent, and he also made the most of it. The fact that Roger has more talent then Pete doesn’t make it unfair, because Roger also had more to live up to then Pete. This is where winning is so overrated in our society. It’s not about winning, it’s about maximizing your potential. No one can ever ask more of you. It’s a shame that in our society only the very top performers are recognized, because there are people working just as hard but simply don’t have the same amount of talent. Therefor they deserve the same amount of credit.
I think the reason Borg is not as modest as Pete is because he didn’t actually make the most of his talent. He walked away from the game when he was about Roger’s age. He had already won 11 grand slams, and could have won even more then Pete. So that was a waste of talent in my mind. My point is it’s important to give credit where it’s due, because it puts you in a bad light of you don’t. And it’s not hard to give credit, it actually feels good! In light of that fact it really is astonishing that people could still find it hard to give Roger credit.