Wednesday, July 23, 2008
For about four months, Cable News Network has been marketing “Black in America” about as hard as Warner Brothers did “The Dark Knight” and Nike is doing the same with the U.S. men’s basketball squad.
As the days abated towards tonight’s premiere (the second part of a three part series beginning with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assaination), the commercials became more omnipresent than political campaign ads, social activists group TV time, and those really annoying Head-ON, Active-ON spots. Driven into your mental whenever you received a break from the robotic ways of Wolf Blitzer or the “Blame everyone but offer no solution diatribes” of Lou Dobbs was the amount of time and effort put into this network event and its buildup.
You heard or saw the following describing the year long investigation that Soledad O’Brien did, even through she did specifically an 18 month investigation:
“A Landmark Mark Multimedia Event.”
“A Groundbreaking CNN Investigation.”
“You think You Know, you have no idea.”
“A story of success and struggle, pain or pride.”
“All of America will get a good perception of what it is to be black in America,” said the award winning reporter.
If you believe any or all of those statements and figure that “Black in America” is going to be something that you never saw before in television history, you are either one of two things, no matter what color you are: a person who badly needs to get the dirt, sleep crust, fairly dust, and any other pieces of debris out of their eyes, or someone who needs to explore the world (and their minds) immediately as soon as possible.
Because quite honestly, despite Facebook groups, E-mails sent, and pre-show interviews making O’Brien the informative interviewee, there is nothing distinctly different that is being said or shown in this two-night documentary that hasn’t been executed or discovered before by human beings.
Particularly (and let’s be frank here) black people who either had a good idea of the important events in American history, those located in the impoverished or economically low communities, or those so aware that everyone is not the same, are unlikely to gain a new ideology from this latest documentary from the network.
In short, there’s no need for me to watch “Black in America.” None of it at all really.
Note (because this always needs to be stated so the backlash from those who think I’m slamming this diligent work by O’Brien and CNN can see it from a reasonable standpoint), as a disclaimer, I surly don’t, won’t and never will speak for all black people. This sentiment is expressed though just me. It may be felt by others, but you get the picture already.
CNN paints this television event as something that is for everyone to watch. It doesn’t seclude anyone from it, and O’Brien intelligently says that “It’s not just a black American story, it’s an American story.”
And this is where I defer instead to watch a New York Yankees rewind, add to my anthology with a slam poetry or music piece, read my Bible, or do some running/weight training when 9 PM hits tonight.
The problem I have with Black in America is that it is portraying itself really for someone who is so naïve and ignorant about what a black person is in America. Seriously, it is a series of programs cantered to those “Who may not have met a black person in their life, have a black friend in their life, or have any idea on whether all black people act the same or not.”
It is a cantering to an audience not astute enough in the least bit to realize how many different outlets in the world show there is no 100% congruency to one person to another in this world, no matter if both their skins colors are blacker than Snoopy or Brian Griffin’s nose. And unless you’re a little boy or girl, it really is kind of embarrassing if you had to discover at least some of the following facts by watching “Black in America”:
- Not all black people end up being married or in relationship with black people.
- Not all black people speak in just jargon and show an inability for eloquence
- Black males are incarcerated in alarming rates that other races can’t even match.
- Single parent homes in the black community have grown exponentially in the last 40 years
Now, there will be some facts in the documentary where I won’t know the specific percentages of “such and such” troubling epidemics facing the black community in this country. And some of the interviews from the regular folk (though any interview with Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, Whoopi Goldberg, and D.L. Hughley won’t put you to sleep) in O’Brien’s journey will mostly be a joy to watch if I decided to tune in.
But the basics would be understood by those who have at least the slightest understanding of these events that has transpired in the 238 year epoch of the United States in regards to African-Americans, no matter what color they are.
Really, though there are special people apart of this with their own special lives, there is nothing really special about “Black in America.” Sorry, there just isn’t in my mind.
As one website points out clearly, this documentary is “A micro look at individual African-Americans that contributes sparingly to the macro picture.”
You don’t have to be an economics major to know that this program that CNN has hyped endlessly just doesn’t get fully into the barrels of the problems in the black community, as well as the chain effects on the rest of the nation’s citizens from this select group of people.
Even more alarming is the thought that this program is lumping itself with Barack Obama’s ascendency to a possible presidency when it originally wasn’t focusing on him. At first glance, me criticizing them for choosing to do this looks absolutely stupid. But when you have questions such as “Does an Obama presidency hurt blacks?” stem from their website, stating that a number of whites are only voting for him because of the “guilt of racism” instead of the desperation for a grassroots Democrat figure after eight years of arguably the worst White House tenure in history, the ridiculousness of it all takes away any sort of top notch credibility for what “Black in America” wants to accomplish in my view.
Once again, I’m not saying you, no matter if you are Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or Indian, won’t get anything out of watching this tonight and tomorrow night. In fact, if it changes you for the better, than bravado, “Black in America” did its job. There will be no need to not fully support O’Brien for her year and a half assiduous grind.
I’m just saying to avoid believing that this is a revolutionary television event that everyone will hail as a turning point in the way most Americans already view each other, especially if they are filled with candor and are rational. From Frederick Douglass to PBS, the plight and study of the black human being in the United States of America has been looked at before, and will be looked at again.
And unless there is something that goes more in depth into the problems instead of bring them up again and treating them like they haven’t been discussed before, CNN’s “Black in America” won’t be as historic as the late Heath Ledger acting was or how Kobe, LeBorn and the rest of team USA want to be.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The television screens and the cups of coffee in the District of Columbia on Saturday were under severe alert, and it wasn’t primarily because of the Washington Nationals this time.
They were in a surly precarious position, especially if either one of those two items were near the premises of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And you wouldn’t be thinking farfetched ideas to consider that both a venti of Starbucks and a Sony flat screen TV kissed each other like they were “Wall-E” and “E.V.E.” in the nation’s capital.
If you didn’t think that scenario was possible, then you surly lived through a multitudinous amount of “What the (fill in the apoplectic connotation) is he doing” and the now proverbial comment from a GOP strategist saying “We’re (well, yeah).”
What caused such strong and shocked reactions from George Bush and his administration, along with the rest of the conservative nation and the John McCain camp? What caused them to go into damage control like a “Code Red” warning was being issued?
It was something that Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Laura Logan, and even Barack Obama (through he came a very close second with the beginning of his trip overseas) couldn’t do: Be the prime minister of Iraq and basically have carte blanche to take the Presidential race to a level only that person could take it.
Nouri al-Maliki, what audacity of him?! Is he trying to write his own “Audacity of Hope”? He is playing politics, our figurehead that we put in charge over there? How could he tell Del Spiegel of all magazines how he feels?!
That was the feeling for those on the “right side” of the country on the wrong side of the final thing they considered their last definitive strength. The flood gates had opened, their levies had broken, and their minds were in full disorder. Because when Maliki spoke once again about a time table needing to be implemented for U.S. troops to leave his country, to make sure that the first time was no fluke of a moment, the actions of the White House and anyone involved in the Republican party was desperation at its finest.
And even more disturbing is the pathetic things that they have done to try and distort the news that they didn’t want to hear. When Maliki’s statements hit their eardrums, they didn’t just press the panic button once. They had a case of ADD with the number of times they pressed it. Instead of trying to come up with concrete ideas for the millions of problems surrounding the country that they have played a major role in, Bush & company demonstrated their mafia like tendencies that have become more of a hallmark than any greeting cards.
Overlooked in Maliki’s basic accord with Obama’s plan is the lack of coverage with how the Prime Minister of Iraq was covertly hectored by an executive office with an approval rating about as low as Verne Troyer (and his sex tape sells). The execution of their tactics was the usual level of what to expect from the former governor of Texas and his staff: a one track belief that what they do is for the good of the country, only for it to come out in a way where their very questionable backup theories (conjured up at the last moment) would be suffice enough for the people’s minds.
Which are their innuendos for saying, “Only we can tell anybody else what to do, and that is it, no matter if it doesn’t favor common sense. As long as it favors our sense. “
At first, their attempt to keep their response to Maliki’s unambiguous statement was totally laughable. If the prime minister’s statements delivered egg on their faces, then their massive blunder of leaking their reaction to the media placed an outside shell on their facades as well. They tried to make the U.S. Central Command be this beacon of journalistic integrity, issuing a rebuttal by spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh that Maliki was “misunderstood and mistranslated” by Der Spiegel. His quotes misconstrued three times, THREE times, by this German newspaper trying to cause trouble, huh?
Only for them to even have more yoke on their noses when Der Spiegel , a paper that battled Communist East Germany back in the day, confirmed what Mailik said was indeed true with no distortions. Except the ones that Bush, Dick Cheney, McCain, and anybody not favoring the Illinois Senator wanted to here. And everyone in the liberal community had a good time with the failed attempt of their adversaries’ desire to not control a beast that they never wanted out of the cage.
It was the latest gift basket given to them in the month of July, relegating Phil Gramm’s whining comments to a website that hasn’t been refreshed in the last few days.
But to look closely though at this dramatic turn of events, first off, there was no dramatic turn of events. Maliki had planted the seeds two weeks ago on requesting a timetable for US troops. He was the official voice for the Iraqi community that needed someone to fully represent how they felt about the situation.
Yet the mainstream media in this country were indeed complacent enough to let this story wither away as the Bush administration hoped it would do so. They figured that Maliki’s initial statements were just a blip on their radar of keeping any hope alive of convincing a majority of the America problem that keeping troops in Iraq was the way to go still. No matter if their reasons to stay switch faster than the tires in a Formula one race as the days past.
Even more concerning, however, than the news outlets letting Maliki’s first statements evaporate quickly, was the consistently deplorable actions of the Bush administration. To try and first belittle his understanding of the magnitude of what he was saying, and then coerce a takeback from his office after the explosive call they made overseas is typical of the shameful actions of arguably the worst cabinet in U.S history.
Their conduct here is just unbelievable, but why is it shocking in the first place? With what has transpired over the last seven years, to think they couldn’t do something like this is critical thinking in its lowest possible form.
Still, though no where near the level of Watergate of course, the plans to keep their thoughts away from the media and develop a cover up that they could make stick, only to get caught in their attempt to do so, is a failure in sneakiness that would make Henry Kissinger go back on Fareed Zakaria and talk about just this.
The damage has been done.
No vice presidential candidate can give Obama what Maliki (and a few others in the government in Baghdad) gave him this past weekend. Not Joe Biden, not Kathleen Sebellius, not Evan Bayh, not Jake Reed, not Chuck Hagel, not Howard Dean or anybody else.
And yes, that anybody else includes Hillary Clinton, plus Bill Clinton and Al Gore, as well.
He gave Obama, or rather, those still in denial, the debatable advantage now in the area of national security over McCain, who doesn’t know that the Czech Republic and Slovakia aren’t one anymore, nor that Afghanistan and not Iraq borders Pakistan.
Yes, there will be some that will continue the banal and nauseating “McCain was right, the surge has worked, and Obama was wrong on the surge” belief that has spread so bad, you wonder if anchors and reporters have lost their ability to actually do an in depth fact check on that “holy” proverb. And yes, there will be those that will continue to believe that despite his numerous horrible statements that McCain still has an advantage in this area (as well as the never debated myth of him more ensconced ina town hall debate setting than his younger competitor).
But no matter how some will try and trade their souls more times than they already have to spin this news as a victory for McCain (since they already based Maliki’s statements on the “surge”, and only the “surge”, improving “conditions on the ground”), only the delusional and sad fool would dismiss how much of a blow these agreements with Obama’s plan have done to McCain, Bush, and the Republican party. And only that fool, or select group of them, will believe that the "time horizon" that Bush has now stated had nothing to do with the impact of both Obama and Maliki's plans on him.
And how they could have also caused major injuries to fresh brews of cappuccino and plasma HD’s across the country.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Contrary to misguided and corrupt media beliefs, Barack Obama has not done the following:
He hasn’t changed his position on Iraq, he hasn’t changed his position on showing how important faith is to him and some in this country. He hasn’t altered his stringent thoughts on child molesters, and even hasn’t switch on his much blasphemous move away from public financing (seriously, he said that he was going to negotiate with the McCain campaign over it instead of fully committing himself to that always questionable program).
In short, Barack Obama hasn’t transformed into a flip-flopper. Of course the same can’t be said about John McCain, whose changed positions so much that he’s not just a flip-flopper, he is “The Spatula.”
But on Wednesday morning in the Senate, no deep research or double checking (for some, it was triple and quadruple times) could really present any claims to dismiss a nearly comprehensive no-no from the Illinois Senator. Correction, it was a total “Oh no” heard not only from progressive liberals, but even some of the most enthusiastic non-extreme lefty supporters of Obama.
The Democratic nominee had caved on the latest updates on FISA, and it was far from the great moments in his run up to November 4th. In fact, it was and currently is the worst moment for him so far in the campaign.
One blemish compared to the 99 million ones committed by his hapless opponent does not make him a phony. It doesn’t make him close to one.
In fact, to blame him solely for some of the Democrats capitulating to George Bush (surrendering to Mr. 28% as Daily Kos publisher Markos Moulistas called it) and a Republican brand that is so bad now it makes Cheerios look cool is beyond stupid. It is a verbal diatribe about as dumb as castigating Kobe Bryant for not leading the Lakers past the Celtics, or for “Get Smart” bombing at the theatres thanks in part to Steve Carell.
"While you’re happy purchasing that novel version of Apple/AT&T’s I-Phone, the company formerly known as Cingular- and the new version of AT&T- maybe tapping your next call. And getting away with it."
Real irrational abomination for this bill leads people to feel real irrational ways and go with real irrational beliefs. And sometimes those beliefs can cloud one’s judgment severely. Giving the blunt of the blame on Obama for this, when he just a part of this, is letting the blood rush to the head be a little too much.
But the other could be said about not the ones willingly to give Obama a pass on this. The ones that will be so color bind with him that they would pardon him even for a mistake such as this. There are plenty of reasons to be smitten with Obama. Just certainly not this one.
For those who don’t know, or particularly care, FISA means the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. It’s been in existence since 1978, and it’s basically wiretapping from the government in order to collect information on foreign intelligence or agents of foreign intelligence. As time and technology has evolved dramatically over the last three decades, the bill wasn’t doing the same until the new millennium.
Before 9/11, Bush and Dick Cheney had already started their push for updating or fully implementing FISA as part of their plans. Their push for the advancement of this bill came before Osama Bin Laden name popped in the heads of most in the States.
Then the bill started to change, with the infamous Patriot Act and now an even more controversial amendment that received less attention then it should, last August’s “Protect America Act”. The reason why for the anger for the last change?
No warrant required to tap anyone, at any time.
Besides the Fourth Amendment abuse of it all, it was another deflating straw in the argument for the fight against terror. Or simply, it was another way to lower the President’s record disapproval rating to numbers lower than a vagabond’s salary.
Despite those numbers, it still didn’t matter enough to 21 Democrats (you have got to be kidding if you thought it mattered to some Republicans) to stand up to Bush and Cheney for one official time in this administration’s tenure to say “nay” to FISA’s new bill on Wednesday. The same could be said to the members in the House, but it even takes a broader light in the bigger house.
The new amendments are not only updates to the President’s (and both government and telecommunications) right to wiretap without that now irrelevant warrant, but also gives immunity to any possible malpractices the same telecommunications may have done by abusing their authority.
In short to the latter, while you’re happy purchasing that novel version of Apple/AT&T’s I-Phone, the company formerly known as Cingular- and the new version of AT&T- maybe tapping your next call. And they have been doing that the last few years, probably illegally, having a field day spying on people when they have no liberation to do so.
It didn’t matter though to the likes of John Rockefeller (arguably the biggest Democrat pushing it), or Mark Pryor, or even Jim Webb, who had to back up his brilliant push for the GI bill with a comprehensive horror like his position on this. For some reason that wasn’t giving any love to the Constitution, they voted for a bill to make them look weaker than that Caveman show on ABC. All this abdication now after fighting for warrants and questioning the rights of what Bush & company wanted since last summer.
And that includes Obama.
He’s part of the crowd, along with Russ Feingold and Chris Dodd, who said he would vote “no” to any bill including telecom immunity. He said he would continue to be apart of any filibuster against the bill even if all ended up going in vain. Because seriously, unless he was in the White House now instead of potentially next year, there was no way he (along with Feingold and Dodd) were going to stop it from being passed. If millions of cries from a majority in the civil liberties crowd and justified obstinate decisions against the request of this administration couldn’t turn around this bill, nothing would have.
But no excuse can exonerate Obama from this one, especially with his astute constitutional background.
There was no reversal on anything else from him on the topics before FISA’s end game, not in the past and not in the present before it came up. Indolence and manipulation tactics from CBS to CNN to push the claims of him being a flip-flopper show the dangerous water the mainstream media is treading. Obama made an example of them this week, saying “They haven’t been paying attention” in regards to those saying he’s soften his position on Iraq. And they are the same ones that weren’t listening or doing intense study on public financing or Second Amendment talk either.
In addition, they, with the exception of MSNBC’s Countdown, haven’t even given daylight to FISA in the leas bit. But it didn’t take long for them to make this into a story to push their Kerry-esque motive on Obama, especially with Hillary Clinton voting against the amendments after failing to do so in other terror related/war bills in the last few years. Only on this topic, there was no partial truth the media could create here (unless they failed to mention that McCain, despite criticizing Obama for his final position on the amendments, wasn’t even there to vote for the thing.)
He could have done it so McCain and the Republicans can’t label him the incongruous “He’s weak on terror like a typical Democrat” anecdote that is about as tired as Mike Myers looking into the camera in his movies. He could have done it to not make Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, through he voted against the bill, look foolish. Because whether it’s the power of some phone company lobbyists or something that they didn’t want exposed by someone or somewhere out there so damaging to their political future, they folded their Pair of Aces to Bush’s pair of threes.
Even more of a punch to the gut is the disturbing fact that Feingold has brought up: that at least many senators didn’t know the full details of what they were voting.
Yes, information was reported classified to some senators.
How an issue such as this, just because it isn’t part of most Americans’ Top 5, or even Top 10, issues they are facing today, can not even be looked conspicuously by the highest public services in the land says a lot about Congress, no matter what party you back. In fact, now matter if it was a bill about Stewie Griffin not being allowed to off his mother, any bill or amendments made to one looked by anybody in Congress should have some close examination to it.
Finally, Obama’s head-scratching reasoning for his final decision to say “yea” a quarter ‘til noon on Wednesday along with 20 other Democrats may have been another possible trap McCain couldn’t place him in, since not only was McCain absence from the vote; he has displayed his “Spatula” like tendencies on this issue as well, saying “yes” one day and “no” the following. It would be the latest example of world class hypocrisy from the Arizona Senator, and it would do him no good to push another failed plan of his.
But Obama doesn’t do himself any good here either. He trapped himself for the first time on this road to Election Day. And maybe so after, because if he is President and doesn’t pursue at least criminal charges on the telecommunications companies possible wrongdoings, then he would lose a little of that integrity that has transform him from the future of the Democratic Party into being the Present of it.
Forgotten in all the gnawing of teeth for the “Donkey Party” is the fact that a majority of Senators on the Democratic slide in the Senate voted against the amendments by a total of 27-21. And when Ted Kennedy came back to help them past the Medicare bill, it was a much needed does of good news on an otherwise damaging day.
One in which Obama made his first obvious wrong decision. Not even the overblown and misconstrued "bitter" comments were anything like this.
He wasn’t the only Democrat lacking sagacity here. Rockefeller (arguably the biggest Democrat pushing it), Pryor, Webb, and many others failed to plead for the 4th as well. Whatever their motives were, it was an embarrassing moment for the supporters of them to stomach.
Including those for the party’s nominee, making the first official mistake that you really can’t defend devoutly, no matter how hard you tried.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Sometimes in sports, we sports writers over indulge in grandiloquent adjectives and ambiguous analogies like this sentence.
And at times, we have a habit at dabbling with them at the wrong moments. They make our job more difficult than it seems, and we place distraction on the readers and ourselves instead of focusing intently on what we are seeing with our eyes. We make the job more difficult than it should really be.
Instead of letting what we witness come to our minds, we fall into a trap of creating or, even more perilously, fabricating a reality that isn’t congruent to what actually happened.
In essence, it would do a total disservice to mention an element that had nothing to do with this match. In fact, even the pre-match hype and the post-match breathtaking moments to think about the glory that transpired in front our irises, retinas, and every part of our ontological perspective can’t be tied together to this 2008 Wimbledon gentleman’s final.
That match made those outside factors become irrelevant the moment that fourth set concluded, though the standard of play, coupled with the rising drama of the day, had long ago made it so.
“The thriller on the Centre Court Villa.”
It was a match that was all about itself. And nothing else.
It wasn’t about the talk of a legendary figure’s last defense of his lofty throne at his first and most precious domicile. It wasn’t about the rivalry generated from the determined brilliance of his Spanish counterpart on the other side of the net, trying to get the title precious to his soul. It wasn’t about a sixth title or a first title. A 13th Grand Slam or a 5th one. It wasn’t about whether their previous match would factor in. And it wasn’t even about what else transpired during the first 12 days of the fortnight.
It was about that last day, and with all respect to the mixed doubles final and its participants of the Bryan brothers, Samantha Stosur and Lisa Raymond, this was the final match of this tournament.
A match that was thee match on its own merit.
A duel that will equal the top duels in tennis history, probably establish itself as the greatest final in the sports’ history.
But forget the comparisons to yesteryear. This match is in its own stratosphere, its own assortment of memorable moments cased by two indelible figures. But they weren’t the only ones apart of it, because the weather certainly made sure it factored in with its great gust of wind and tears from the sky. So did those impassioned fans, who went from concerned about the match ending in straight sets to becoming rapped along in a spectacle drama. Only that was possible by both players entering a unique and near unconscious zone titled “Refuse to Lose.”
“Refuse to Lose” is a place for solely the exceptional. It’s more perfect than any worker’s utopia, more defined than just entering “The zone.” It is an area that encompasses an amalgamation of sheer will along with disciplined nerve. It can leave you breathless with how the fight to prevent one’s self can capture the human imagination. And it can capture the human soul.
“Refuse to Lose” came into inception in this match, when Roger Federer was facing a deflating three sets to love defeat in the eyes at 0-40, 3-3 in that third set, at the hands of Rafael Nadal. From that moment on, from that survival in that game to stave off that horrible feeling, to serving that clinching ace on set point to get the epic comeback belief pumping, the Swiss had joined the Spaniard in that realm.
“Refuse to Lose”, a motto both of these men enthuse to everyone tuned into their duel to the utter death. The fourth set hit your sense of euphoria if you were a neutral fan of this match. Once again, instead of harboring on things to compare the events of this match, just the description will only come close to matching the actions that inspired them:
Federer “refusing to lose” by getting out of a 0-30 jam at 3-4. Nadal “refusing to lose” not trying to give him any itch by surrendering any break points in the set. Federer “refusing to lose” his serve to force the set into a tiebreak.
The match, itself, “refusing to lose” its chance at being something to saver forever, because only it knew what was about to unfold.
The second tiebreaker of the match was an 18 point display that seemed to matter more than any other one in history.
Both players, already masters of the defense to offense and vice versa, took it to a level the game’s greats had nothing seen before. The defense to more defense in order to get that precious offense. The defense that turned out to be actual offense. The offense that ended up as the unfortunately as defense.
It was a constant mutation of who would be the puncher, who would be the counterpuncher, and who would play to their roles at the same time perfectly.
They raised the stakes by following their own formats, their own ways. “Refuse to lose” vociferated through their minds. It wavered in Nadal’s head when he was 5-2 up, two points from winning. A double fault, his last of the match, followed by a backhand into the net. The first time you ever saw signs of tension getting to Nadal.
But “refusing to lose” quickly came back to his soul immediately. Down set point, Nadal scrambled enough like always to force Federer to an easy forehand miss. Change sides, six all. Then, he coerced him into another inaccurate forehand.
First championship point.
But “The thriller on the Centre Court Villa” wouldn’t be anything if neither gentleman exited the “Refuse to lose” zone, no matter what they faced. For Federer, he was staring again at the door, trying to get pushed out by Nadal. He controlled his own destiny on the first attempt, an emphatic serve winner.
Then, came that forehand past at seven-all from Nadal. That spectacular running forehand effort that went by a stretching Federer. For most, that would have been the end of a match. A resignation of “Just too good today” or “It wasn’t meant to be for me after all” type statements. Most would have certainly left the “Refuse to lose” zone after seeing such a devastating blow hit to them.
Not this man, not this prideful champion, not like this.
Second championship point, Nadal looking for that glorious win, going for that moment with more conviction than at 5-2 and 5-3. A deep forehand with a purposeful charge to the net, playing it like the champion at Wimbledon he wanted to be, just like the man across the net. He denied that moment that Nadal wanted so badly with a one-handed backhand pass for the ages. It couldn’t be struck better, by anyone better.
Two points of supreme aggression later, from the one on the cusp of leaving the “Refuse to lose” zone just a minute or so ago, a fifth and deciding set hits us. Hits the television cameras, the phtographers’ lenses, the irises and the retinas of those fortunate to have them properly working. It even hit the endocrine system of the man desperate to keep his coveted position, leading him to take a quick bathroom break before the famous finish unveiled itself to us.
Fifth set of “The thriller on the Centre Court Villa”, begin.
The same themes continued though the first four games, with another rain delay in between. Thoughts of whether this match would be grand enough for one day loomed larger and larger, in similar proportion to the drama it was producing. Both men clinical on serve at the resumption of play, revealing in the all court war of explosion that each inflicted on each other. The fans seemly divided into an imaginary demarcation of being on the side of one “R” or the other “R.” Both sets of supporters, whether it was Federer’s longtime girlfriend Mirka or Nadal’s parents, about as tight as their players’ headbands. It was truly a moment when you felt like holding the hand of maybe even your mortal enemy.
The rain stops, play resumes as the night beckons.
Deuce, 2-all. Federer responses with two serves, Nadal can’t touch either one of them. 3-2, then 3-3, then 4-3.
Then, it seemed like Nadal finally was feeling the effects of being so close but yet so far. He the one now placed in the teetering position, on the edge of the “Refuse to lose” door. 30-40, five points away from a lost that would feel ten times more painful than the final score would show. But like Federer, he doesn’t want to leave this place. Powerful forehand that Federer can’t handle. He holds.
4-4. Then 5-4, then 5-5.
Once again, all of a sudden. Federer is pushed to that exit door. 15-40, Federer facing two break points, Nadal five points away from victory again. His response: Another timely ace, and then a forehand that Nadal can’t control on his backhand. 6-5, pressure back on Nadal.
Just like Federer felt on that backhand past at 7-all in the fourth set tiebreak, most would have been devastated and demoralized losing two break points, losing two match points the way Nadal did. And just like Federer however, he wasn’t ready to leave that “Refuse to lose” zone. 6-6.
Pressure back on Federer, in a 0-30 hold again. He gets out of it with that clinical serve of his, 7-6. Pressure back on Nadal, pressure erased again by him. 7-7
Suddenly, it was getting to that time in the match when destiny would have to help one man usher out the other out of the “Refuse to Lose” zone. It finally had to facilitate in the dirty work of ending something near and dear to our hearts.
It had to make one made the winner, and one the loser.
0-30 down again was Federer, and then two points later, 15-40 position of woe returned. So did him stepping up to the occasion, another ace, and another aggressive dictation with his forehand. Deuce.
Two points later, a second deuce.
And then, destiny and Nadal pushed Federer one step out of the door. It caused one miss on that faithful forehand at deuce, and another one on the sixth break point of the set for Nadal.
8-7 to Nadal, one game away now on his serve, entering the 16th game of the ultimate set.
The match resumes
The forehand long from Nadal to begin the game. 0-15.
The serve and volley out of nowhere. 15-all.
“Refuse to lose.”
Another clutch serve and volley winner, the unexpected of the unexpected in a match where that is the sole measure of standard. 30-15.
Another timely, placid backhand pass from Federer. 30-all.
Nadal forcing play with an intrepid spirit to get a backhand wide from Federer.
Third championship point.
Federer once again, for the umpteenth time in a match that will be remembered for umpteen centuries, shows his intrepid spirit, producing improbable magic with a backhand return followed by several “OH MY GOODNESS” from around the world. Deuce!
He’s not ready to leave.
Does this moment not faze either of them, at all?!
Nadal steps up, somehow broken only one time in this match and still not the winner at a quarter past nine. Three match points gone, and all of them producing not a single choke job from him.
They all resulted from the guts and glory of the man on the other side of the net. Any other person would have said “This isn’t my day, it just can’t be.” But this man from Mallorca, along with this man from Gstaad, takes full residence in the “Refuse to Lose” zone.
Ball toss in the air, and two strokes after seeing another backhand go past him on a match point, Nadal had forced a fourth one. “Refuse to lose” now transformed into something different, because at this stage, no one was a “loser.” Nadal step up again, bouncing the ball with no more threats of a time violation from Pascual Maria, waiting patiently for the final cries from the fans of whomever they backed.
First serve in.
Forehand return from Federer.
Backhand cross court from Nadal.
Then, on the fourth stroke of the 413th point of this masterpiece, Roger Federer didn’t leave the “Refuse to Lose” zone, even if he hit a backhand in the net to suffer the lost of his throne at his most valued home.
Instead, Rafael Nadal entered the “I Won” zone.
Down in relief, stretched out on the ground he was after four hours and 48 minutes of tennis that was more than about tennis. It was about the brilliance of the genre we call sports. The flash bulbs were in total effect for photos, whether digital or other, will hopefully never be deleted from our minds or our cardiac muscle.
There’s no need for direct quotes or psycho-analyzing to see how happy and elated Nadal and his camp is and will be feeling. There’s no need to do the same to look into how dejected and sad Federer and his camp is and will be feeling. That’s for another time, another piece.
Because “The thriller on the Centre Court Villa” speaks only about itself. And it has ever selfish right in the world to do as so.