Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The Clarion has an answer.
And don't you dare say that was a trick question.
As for the men, the Clarion has grown quite sick of the modern hype machine. Every new athlete has to be the best, the greatest ever.
This mindset was spawned in the hyper-competitive thinking that says that, "Second place is first loser." The Clarion firmly disagrees.
In our view, during the Reagan era there was a societal backlash in America against the touchy-feely, everyone who participates is a winner mentality of the late 1970's. By the end of the millennium the pendulum had swung so far back the other way, that before she won a tournament, ESPN made Anna Kournikova, the subject of an hour long, athletes of the Sports Century show.
It is also this mindset, that success is only achieved if you are the best, that is behind performance enhancing drugs. At some point there is going to be a limit to the human body's feats. The records for the 100 meters, the long jump, and the mile are not going to continue to be lowered endlessly. There will be no day of the 5 second 100 meter dash, or the 60 foot long jump, or the two minute mile. Not as our species is currently conceptualized, genetics or drugs may change things, but...we digress.
Suffice it to say we at the Clarion think, Tiger Woods aside, there has been massive over-hyping of recent athletes as the best ever or greatest ever at their particular sport.
Having said that, can you differentiate the Grand Slam records of the four male tennis greats above into a clear cut best ever? Could you even identify whose Grand Slam record is whose? (In no particular order...)
Player A had 12 Grand Slam titles and 3 runner's up finishes when this article was written.
Player B had 11 Grand Slam titles and 6 runner's up finishes when this article was written.
Player C had 8 Grand Slam titles and 11 runner's up finishes when this article was written.
Player D had 14 Grand Slam titles and 4 runner's up finishes when this article was written.
Who is the clear cut best ever? Maybe they were all terrific, all-time greats?
(Note: This is all tied up in a demand for resolution that the uncertainty of the universe belies.)
Player A had won 3 Australian Opens, 5 Wimbledons and 4 U.S. Opens when this article was written.
Player B had won 3 Australian Opens, 2 French Opens, 4 Wimbledons and 2 U.S. Opens when this article was written.
Player C had won 2 Australian Opens, 3 French Opens, and 3 U.S. Opens when this article was written.
Player D had won 2 Australian Opens, 7 Wimbledons, and 3 U.S. Opens when this article was written.
Does one of them have to be the best?
Player A---Roger Federer
Player B---Rod Laver
Player C---Ivan Lendl
Player D---Pete Sampras