Food for Thought 5-31-11

By Josh Kramer

Courtesy of Livetennisguide.com. It is crazy to think that I am picking Novak Djokovic (pictured left) to beat Roger Federer in what should be a great semi-final match at the French Open. Expect a Djokovic/Nadal finals showdown.

It has been a hectic past couple of days in the wide world of sports to say the least.  We got big time car races, the French Open, playoff action, and of course a major resignation.  It has been a jammed pack past 48 hours, but here are some of the main things that have been on my mind.

Tressel=2011 Nixon

I think the world has turned upside down since the infamous “Jim Tressel Resignation.”  May 30th could forever be a reminder of the resignation of the Godlike Columbus figure, or at least for the next 5 years. I was not around during the Nixon Resignation, but I cannot imagine that it received much more media attention than this most recent resignation is receiving.  I realize that media is much more prevalent these days and entirely different from how it was back in the 70s.  Still even proportionally, I would be willing to bet that this story is getting nearly as much attention.  Now I will admit, in a way, I have avoided the ungodly amount of attention given to this situation.  I have had my own opinion on this ongoing  saga for some time now, and now I am going to share it.

First of all, Tressel did not kill anyone.  He did not take part in a villainous crime.  He did not gain an unfair advantage on the field.  But he did commit the cardinal sin.  Or at least the cardinal sin in terms of collegiate athletics.  Withholding information from the NCAA is the athletic version of lying under oath to the Supreme Court.  It is a huge no go.  I do have to admit that Tressel does deserve some credit.  I cannot remember a man who tricked the American public into thinking something that was not true the way that the vested one did.  Tressel made America think that he was the iron fist of integrity for the better part of a decade now.  Whether you were a Buckeye fan or despised their guts, you always thought the man patrolling the sidelines was at a least a “good” coach, though very conservative, and a man with a good heart.  A man who truly typified what moral fiber meant.

Jim Tressel tricked us all.  And now he is paying the price.  These sanctions will make many think of Tressel in a much lesser light, and though they should, his accomplishments on the field in Columbus have been absolutely outstanding.  I mean the guy won a National Championship,  made it to 3 BCS National Championship games, won 7 Big Ten titles, and compiled an astonishing 106 and 22 record.

Buckeye Nation was deceived.  But at the same time, they still should look back on the Tressel years in a fond light.  The man won football games and of course stomped all over hated rival Michigan (9 and 1 record versus the Wolverines).  Sadly college athletics are first and foremost centered around winning.  Integrity, scholarship, and other supposedly important American principles have been on the back burner for some time now.  I also hate to say it.  Tressel is not the only guy that is breaking NCAA rules.  Once the allegations occurred though, the microscope made it impossible to cover up his prior mishaps.  He should have just told the truth initially and things would have never come close to this point.  The real question though is who will the microscope hit next?

Times Have Changed

So earlier today, Roger Federer knocked off French fan favorite Gael Monfils in typical Roger fashion, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6.  Quietly, the former #1 and a man widely considered the “greatest player of all time” has been making his way through Roland Garros with relative ease.   And by ease, I mean he has not even dropped a set as he preps for a semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic.  Yet I found myself tweeting earlier today that Novak Djokovic would defeat the world #3 and all time career leader in Grand Slam titles.

It seems a bit like an oxymoron to me.  Picking Roger Federer to lose to somebody other than Rafael Nadal.  “Federer” and “lose” are not typically two words that appear in the same sentence.  I mean how many times have you thought that Federer would lose a tennis match to any opponent other than the great clay-courter Rafa in the past decade? The man truly dominated the sport for a good 5 year period unlike any man in the modern era has.  That is why he is widely considered or at least in the discussions for being the “greatest player of all time.”  Well sadly for the great one, at the age of 29, he is no longer his once great self.

I do think Federer still has another Grand Slam in him.  But it will not happen on his weakest surface.  He has a much better shot at shocking the world at Wimbledon, which features his favorite surface (grass).  In the semi-finals, Roger will have to bring his “A” Game to have even a prayer against a guy that has not lost this entire year.  A guy who has defeated Nadal 2 times in clay court tournament championships in the past 6 weeks. 

It is hard for me to say.  But out with the old and in with the new.  It is Novak’s time.  And that is why I have him not only beating Roger, but also knocking off Rafa (if Rafa gets there) in what should be an epic final at Roland Garros.

Just some “Food for Thought.”

Let me hear your thoughts though.  Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at contact@thesportskraze.com.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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