Did any of you hear about the recent football match (American football) between two high school teams in Texas? One side was demolishing the other team and went on to win something like 91-6. Even if that isn’t exactly the score, it just demonstrates how one-sided the match was.
The end result of the match has caused some parents from the losing team taking legal action on the winning team for “bullying”. The view is that the coach of the winning team should have told his side to ease off and give the others a chance and not humiliate them.
What? Humiliation has nothing to do with it. Are these people kidding themselves? Are they just so plain stupid that they would expect an opposition side to do something like that? If I were the coach of the dominating team I would be encouraging them to go even harder and win by an even bigger margin.
You learn from the mistakes and losses and that’s the way the losing team and its supporters should be viewing this. It helps to teach the kids important lessons in life skills; that nothing comes easily and you have to work hard and fight hard for everything.
If you fall over then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and have another go.
When I heard of this ridiculous story, two things came into my mind: 1. Only in America and as part of that the fact that someone actually wanted to take legal action. It is absolutely tragic that American society is so litigious and it most definitely does not set a good example to those young people in both teams. 2. When Lleyton Hewitt was very young and was playing his hometown tournament in Adelaide, he was facing an unheralded Aussie. Hewitt was leading 6-0, 4-0 and then lost a game. He was fuming with himself, screaming at himself and the crown got on his case because he was so desperate to win every point.
When asked about it later Hewitt’s referred to the crowd as the “stupidity of the Australian fans”. Bingo! He was absolutely right.
If Hewitt had let up a bit and given his opponent some breathing space a) he should then have been given a hard time by the crowd and media because he was not doing what he should have been doing and that was playing every point at 100% and trying to win every point, and b) he could have allowed the match to turn around and he may have ended up losing.
Can you imagine Serena Williams feeling sorry enough for an opponent and letting them get away with a few points here and there? Never would she do that, not even with her sister Venus, and nor should she. Player have often been asked if when beating someone very easily if they have considered letting up. The player thinks it's a joke if they are asked such a question.
Giving up a few points is tantamount to “tanking” or not caring, not trying or giving less than 100%. Tennis seriously frowns upon that and any players who it is done to would be furious because it could end up a hollow victory.
Not long ago here on wearetennis.bnpparibas there was a story on one of my close friends, Bill Scanlon, who won a “golden set” – he didn’t lose a point in the entire set. There is no way Bill would have been feeling sorry for his opponent. He was going in for the kill and that is just how he must be.
In 2011 at the ATP World Tour Finals in London Roger Federer beat Rafa Nadal 6-3, 6-0. Anyone who thought Fed would give Rafa some leeway would have rocks in their head; or in Rome this year at the BNL Internatzionali d’ Italia, there was no way Nadal was going to allow Federer any chance during the 6-1, 6-3 win.
When you get ahead you have to nail the coffin shut otherwise the person on the other side of the net is going to take every chance their can to get past you and don’t ever think they will return the favour.
So to hear such stupid and asinine comments like the high school football supporters, just goes to show that some people have no clue whatsoever. We can only hope in the tennis community we have way more brains and understanding.