Well done to the lineswoman who so effectively railroaded Serena Williams’ push for the US Open title. Diminutive in stature and timid in demeanour, but determined to make a name for herself on the big stage with a dodgy foot-fault call despite the seething mountain of prime American muscle looking to ram a fuzzy yellow Dunlop Pro Tour deep into her gullet.
It is these unsung heroes that make professional sport such an unpredictable joy.
I wouldn’t mess with that though. Would you? Old Serena looks like she could grind billiard balls to dust just using her thighs. Even if her foot had been a yard over the line, I think I would have kept respectfully schtum in the fervent hope that she didn’t knock my block off with one disdainful swish of her magnificent bosom. Although…
I must confess a fleeting, awe-struck crush on Serena. She always seems so vulnerable beneath the power - more down-to-earth than the demure, statuesque Venus (though they both have an adorable propensity to giggle when asked flirty questions by puckish reporters).
You feel you could probably buy Serena a drink in a bar without getting your face smashed in for looking at her the wrong way. I bet she’d have a girly drink, too, like a white wine Spritzer, or something – unlike that Amelie Mauresmo who probably sups Bombardier out of a tankard and belches the Marseillaise when she’s had a few too many.
Many have scoffed at me for this unlikely infatuation, but for some reason I keep getting images in my head of that scene in Police Academy where the weedy fellow is treated to a humiliating martial arts pounding and subsequent bedroom domination at the hands of the pneumatic Sergeant Callaghan. Mmmm… Sergeant Callaghan…
I’m over it now though you’ll be pleased to hear. The stark reality of a romantic liaison with Serena Williams would no doubt hit home the moment you suffered a pulverised rib-cage after dressing as a US Open line judge in a misguided attempt at role-play. It also occurs to me, belatedly, that it is not terribly good for a gentleman’s self-esteem if his paramour possesses biceps that are bigger than his head. Nope – it’s Sharapova all the way for me from now on…
I guess one shouldn’t condone Williams’ petulance and flagrant disregard for authority, but it is difficult not to feel a certain rush of excitement when a grand-slam semi-final is ended in such an abrupt and controversial manner. Especially coming, as it did, in the same week as Emmanuel Adebeyor’s ill-judged face-stomping and goal celebration, and the ongoing lunchbox-gate scandal surrounding the unfortunate Castor Semenya (incidentally – why has the expected flood of email gags around the word “semen” failed to materialise? I sense a gap in the market…)
Behaving badly is at the cornerstone of sport. If there were no flashpoints, we would be forced to watch a never-ending stream of dreary, clinical competence – which is OK if you are Roger Federer. Less good if you are Vinnie Jones. Hence the bollock-grabbing, I suppose.
Controversy – that’s what we crave.
We want a puce John McEnroe bursting a blood vessel over a phantom puff of chalk.
We want Paulo di Canio shoving the ref, and Cantona kung-fu-ing some Neanderthal Crystal Palace fan.
We want Mike Gatting and Shakoor Rana in each other’s faces about who filched the last spoonful of lamb dhansak during the luncheon interval (or whatever it was – I forget now). The point being that the image of a tubby, bearded England captain arguing the toss with a belligerent umpire endures in the mind far more vividly than anything else Gatt achieved in his illustrious career (apart, perhaps, from that time he was bamboozled by a freak leg-break tossed down by that chippy Aussie oik).
The Semenya “thing” (no pun intended) has troubled me for a while – as has the constant niggling worry that Usain Bolt may not be a world-beater after all, but merely a drug-addled chancer with an ingenious way of switching urine samples with a nun during the lap of honour.
I have long thought athletics should simply be a massive free-for-all: Lads, take as much nandrolone as you can shovel in your gob; Ladies, gorge yourself on testosterone supplements until you look like Linford Christie. Let’s get the 100m world record down to under 8 seconds and see if a paranoid speed-freak from the Ukraine can clear the sand-pit if he thinks enough aliens are after him.
Wowsers... er...I mean...
In fact, I say let’s take this further still: All sportsmen and women, regardless of their profession, are allowed ONE non-violent display of petulance or aggression towards the referee, umpire or other designated official during each competitive engagement. Extra points will be awarded for creativity, fruity language and threats of unpleasant reprisals in the car-park after.
If all else fails, it should at least brighten up the snooker…