May 30, 2003

Being nice, or being a weiner?: Venus Williams has a couple words for her opponent after winning a 6-0, 6-0 third-round match at the French Open. While I'm sure they were meant in a kind fashion, is this the right thing to do, or do you just keep your mouth shut and move on?

posted by wfrazerjr to tennis at 05:38 PM - 15 comments

It's the right thing to do. I don't think it's condescending or mean to apologize for what she did. It's obvious that she's telling her "Hey, I didn't mean to embarrass you like that, it's just a game." It must have been humiliating for a professional athlete to be beaten so VERY badly like that. I know that when I lost my soccer game on Monday*, I didn't mind hearing "Sorry." from the opponents. * I was the keeper in an 8-0 shellacking. It's a rec league, but my team had no defence whatsoever. 7 of the goals were head-on breakaways from the 18-yard box in, and 3 of those were two-man breakaways! The last goal was when I (in frustration) ran out to challenge a ball being passed into the box and it bounced off my teammate and past me.

posted by grum@work at 07:51 PM on May 30, 2003

You can't complain that she has enough human spirit to feel bad for what happened.

posted by yerfatma at 08:05 PM on May 30, 2003

Having been on the bagel end of many such efforts, I can honestly say I would like for my opponent to apologize every now and then.

posted by corpse at 08:14 PM on May 30, 2003

Well, it certainly beats a Terrell Owens victory dance, that's for sure. I remember from being a very good table tennis player in my younger years that beating someone handidly on a fairly large stage was embarassing for me. You almost felt like giving them a few points just to relieve them of the embarassment of getting shut out. I never did, however, because I saw way too many one-sided games change too quickly. This being said, an apology may not have meant "sorry for beating you so badly", rather "sorry you didn't have your A game today, that's too bad".

posted by therev at 10:49 AM on May 31, 2003

I agree with all of you to a certain extent. I think it was nice of Venus to offer try to some words of consolation, but I don't think "I'm sorry" are the right ones. I didn't see the actual body language or any clips of the meeting at the net, but I'm pretty sure I would have told her to go fuck herself. Here's why: Grum's example: "Sorry" = "We're sorry the rest of your team played like shit and you were forced to bear the brunt of it. Perhaps if you had actual people rather than statues on defense, you would have had a better day." See, that's commiserating. Venus's example: "I'm sorry" = "You don't have the God-given talents I do. You had no chance today, nor will you ever. For that, I'm sorry." That's patronizing, because she's just reaffirming how much better she is than her opponent.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:52 PM on May 31, 2003

Wow, wfrazerjr, you must be some sort of psychological master to be able to know exactly what she was thinking from the one word she said. I assume that you, as I, don't know Venus and therefore shouldn't jump to the conclusion that she meant it as a slam towards Schett. Perhaps she just felt sorry that Schett had a bad day on the court and blurted something out when they met because she felt embarassed without meaning it. I know I've been in many a situation where "Good game" didn't really apply. Not everyone is a monster inside. Perhaps she just said something weird because she didn't know what else to say.

posted by therev at 04:56 PM on May 31, 2003

Also, Schett upset Venus at Roland Garros a mere 2 years ago. So, at least once, she did have a chance at beating Venus, and I think Venus might remember getting upset at a major 2 years ago.

posted by therev at 05:01 PM on May 31, 2003

Hence, therev, my wording in the initial posting: "just keep your mouth shut and move on." I also pointed out that I didn't see the manner in which it was said. However, I see your point, and I didn't mean to totally take away the possibility that Venus WAS just trying to be nice. She may have been, but I don't think, standing on the other side of the net after getting smoked 6-0, 6-0, that you care a great deal about intentions. As for your example of "good game," again, that falls under the Grum heading of "I'll bet you would be a worthy opponent on another day." How does "I'm sorry" say that? Who was it that said, "Better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you a fool than open it and dispel all doubt?" Certainly not Venus.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:15 PM on May 31, 2003

You are right, wfrazerjr. She could have probably smiled and said nothing. In the heat of the moment, she most likely tried to be kinder than just that. Do you honestly think she really deserve to be labelled the following way for saying Sorry? Venus's example: "I'm sorry" = "You don't have the God-given talents I do. You had no chance today, nor will you ever. For that, I'm sorry." That's patronizing, because she's just reaffirming how much better she is than her opponent." I have no problem saying she probably could have reacted different. I mostly had a problem with your psycho-analysis of her motives. Jumping to that kind of conclusion so quickly stereotypes her as an asshole athlete, which I think is very unfair. Sometimes people just fuck up what they are trying to say when they say it. It's called being in a nervous/awkward situation and not having the time to think of something witty to say.

posted by therev at 06:35 PM on May 31, 2003

Fair enough, therev. You say forgive her, and I do also. I'm not labeling her for life. I'm just saying I don't know how it couldn't come off as bitchiness, and I'm saying that if someone said that to me after a match, I'd be pissed.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:08 AM on June 01, 2003

Umm, was Serena that administered both the ass whupping and the apology.

posted by vito90 at 05:11 PM on June 01, 2003

Kudos to vito90 for actually reading the article thouroughly. *slinks off*

posted by therev at 05:51 PM on June 01, 2003

"God given talent" is not what the Williams' are about. They have worked hard to get where they are, and I suspect that there are few among us who who trade where we are to be where they are, if it meant doing what they have done. She was on, Schett was not, and "sorry" sounds spoting to me.

posted by outside counsel at 08:50 PM on June 01, 2003

What the hell? My God! My humble apologies... Therev ... does this mean we have to start all over?

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:49 AM on June 02, 2003

I think so. How bout you be Abbott this time and I'll be Costello.

posted by therev at 08:59 PM on June 02, 2003

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.