Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Monday, September 14, 2009

In The News: Outbursts Caught on Tape

I recently heard the fall about concerning Serena Williams actions at this years U.S. Open semi-finals match against Kim Cljisters and the resulting fines, losses and criticism that she received. Intrigued,I watched the video of the disputed match online and I was surprised at people's response at Serena's conduct. I have watched enough melt downs by tennis players over the years that make Serena's pale in comparison. Oldies like McEnroe, Nastase, even Jimmy Connors have had serious bad conduct, tossed objects, used the f-word (and worst), really threatened or insulted court officials and they received less punishment. More recent players like Agassi (my favorite), Hewitt and even Federer have had their moments too. It seems that women tennis players are being held to a different standards when it comes to outbursts on court as the men can really go at it.

I also think that people are holding Serena's stature and God-given physicality(5'9", more muscular, black woman) against her. Is she more imposing than say a 5'4" slimmer white player so that her conduct should be more constrained (fear of a big, black woman tennis player)? I am 5'10" and I have a similar built to Serena so I am very sensitive to this issue. I think the line judge may have felt really threatened which is unfair to Serena. And if so then those 6'6" muscular male tennis playing giants should be fined more heavily too as they might be more of a possible physical threat when they argue a line call with officials.

The saddest part is I have seen bad officiating and bad calls levied against Serena time after time and she has handled herself very humbly. In fact, she was definitely cheated in some matches, most notably those against Jeniffer Capriatti and Justine Hardin. I've seen fans like the French boo her and stadiums full of fans who root against her just because of who she is. When she and her sister took some time off for fashion designing and Hollywood events they were criticized for not putting all their energy and commitment into the sport. Serena has received many personal attacks against the physical and aggressive (their words not mine) style of her game and then she is called a whiner when she tries to dialog about it. All this can take a large emotional toll on a player and Serena has to work harder to stay more focus against these distractions.

Serena's an elite athlete and things do happen in the heat of the battle that ordinarily would not occur. I'm not excusing her behavior especially as a Christian woman but I am surprised that she hasn't lost it with them earlier. However, Serena has to have "equanimity under duress" as head surgeon and professor, Dr. LaSalle Lefall, used to say. Also, Serena needs to increase her faith life with lots and lots of prayer and reflection before and during her matches. Having a swear jar at the U.S. Open wouldn't hurt either and they could raise millions of dollars for charity(lol). rAlso, reading the Book of Psalm where David was pursued by Saul would also be good in building Christian character under duress.

Still, the U.S. Tennis Association(USTA) officials really need to do their best to make their decisions fair and consistent for all players or the Williams sisters should consider boycotting their events due to unequal punishment or treatment. Any boycott would be unfortunate to tennis and the fans, as the Williams' bring great energy and excitement to the game. In fact, I rarely if ever watch a women's tennis final if one of the Williams' are not in it.

My sister and I were lucky enough to attend the finals match at the U.S. Open in 2002 when Serena played her sister Venus for the tile. Serena won that meeting but it was a very engaging match. Later, we saw Venus as she was leaving the stadium and she walked right by us. She is easily 6'1" and she seems a no nonsense type of person. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see Serena up close that night as she had left right after the news conference.

My memory of the night is vivid because that was the debut of Serena's black cat suit shorts and the guy in the seat next to me had actually brought a pair of binoculars with him. He keep leaning in on my side and stressing my back just to get a close up view of Serena's derriere. Needless to say that I was very upset at this guy and my sister had to exchange seats with me. The guys date was very upset also as she tried to pretend that his ogling of another women.

Other Outbursts in the news:
Republican Wilson of:
His outburst (shouting"you lie!") at President Obama during Obama's speech to Congress on Health Care reform. As a doctor myself, I really don't agree with the President on health care reform but I respect the office of the presidency and would never have disrupted a speech of any president. Still, Democrats booed President Bush during his speech on Social Security reform so they can not say anything about conduct.

Kanye West v.s. Taylor Swift at the VMA:
This was just plain rude if not a bit crazy. Kanye seemed very contrite when interviewed on the debut of the Jay Leno show but he is obviously still in pain from his mother's passing. In my professional opinion, Kanye may also have anger issues and I think that he needs to get a jump on this and get help now! I have also placed him back on my Hollywood "pray for" list.

Again, I am not making excuses for any of the people discussed above. As for myself, I try to conduct myself as a representative of Christ so at all times people may see God's love in my words and actions. I've slipped once or twice with a few folks and fed the swear jar a few dollars in my day but overall I think I have done well. However, it's easy to feel like you are conducting yourself well when you're here in Hollywood. Here the f-word is like a hello and back stabbing your opponents is as common as a hug. Still, only God can say for sure how close any of us comes to the mark. Here's what the Bible recommends:

2 Peter 1:5-8 (New International Version)

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is clear that Serena, Congressman Wilson and Kanye all acted badly so I'm not going to posts links to videos of any of their bad behavior as its contrary to what the Bible says.

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