We all know that sports create pretty rabid fan bases. American football and the original futbol come to mind. Fans are out of their minds and seem in many cases to froth and drool to the point of pure madness that can, in the most unfortunate cases, result in violence, which really, ironically, concerns matters not the field.
I have been blogging for years (off and on) and recently started focusing my blogging energies on tennis, mainly the professional men’s side of the sport. I have really enjoyed this turn of events; I am so grateful that some readers have appreciated the work and have even contributed to the discussion. Finding even a sliver of this community has been very satisfying, and I hope to establish even more of a community, participate more in other discussions that are literally all over the web. Great to see some very genuine love and insight from the sport’s international spectatorship. Great to meet people with the same kind of passion that you’ve had almost all of your life.
Tennis has been a love of mine for about 35 years, since the late 70’s, early 80’s. My parents and grandparents were avid players and fans. That helps. Of course, witnessing several golden ages of tennis doesn’t hurt either. The athleticism and competitive drama in this sport over the past 30-40 years has been insanely magnetic.
A natural development in fandom is favoritism. Some of us liked Borg, others McEnroe. Some liked Becker, others Edberg, Sampras or Agassi, Federer or Nadal, etc. None of what I just said has any controversy.
But the tennis blogosphere has some of this favoritism built in to their supposed neutral coverage of the sport that renders the coverage cycloptic. This is a natural development of the democracy of blogging, of globalization, technology, etc. This sort of fanaticism I guess is tolerable (we all have favorites), but when seemingly legitimate sources of news and commentary carry this big bias for a particular point-of-view, this is propaganda. In the online tennis world, devotion to a particular player is common on certain sites; in the worst cases, however, the proprietors taunt people of other affiliations or people who are purely analyzing the sport without any specific denomination. Of course, this destroys their credibility (beyond the walls of their little kingdom).
There is one case where a site was at one time dedicated to Roger Federer. We know there are legions of Federer fans who have enjoyed a tremendous run by, perhaps, the GOAT. His run back in the aughts, along with his continued/current success, has created much devotion among fans, and even players alike. This one Federer site, I have learned, changed recently; the owner disavowed said Fed devotion and now has his panties in a bunch for Djokovic. The tables have turned and he now looks down on Federer and those, for the most part, who remain Federer fans.
This blows my mind. I was drawn to the site because of the analysis. But that’s all been rendered pretty insignificant because he’s only got one eye open, if that. As I said in the opening, this kind of fanaticism can lead to madness, sheer lunacy. He doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know, I’m afraid. The discussions on these kinds of blogs are religious in nature, or like some kind of dating site where everyone’s on some new-age drug: the latest and greatest tennis player is our hero and whoever is not on this bandwagon, this drug, is banned from the site.
Listening to him taunt his former readers (friends?) was like some kind of weird cult disintegration. Their leader has had a change of heart. The disenfranchised!
I’m not from that school-of-thought. We all have players that we’re drawn to for a variety of reasons. But this is childish, playground BS.
On my site, I will devote my energies to analyzing the hell out this sport as objectively as I can; and try to provide, above all, a welcoming environment where people of all religions and persuasions and favoritisms can feel comfortable discussing this great sport in civil ways, with smarts and collaboration as our primary tenets.
To such biased perspectives (that supposedly encourage real understanding of the sport): if you’re going to provide any meaningful commentary or news, want to provide some kind of service to all of the inspired and hungry tennis fans out there, pull it together. Because right now your bias has you by the ass, is twirling and slapping you around and rendering the noise an annoying combination of stupidity and arrogance.
Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.