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Serena Williams: Op-ed written on Sunday that is not going to be published

Tuesday 7/16/19

What the seemingly fun poll about scoring a point off of Serena Williams says about the rampant sport of man-bashing

Recently the fetid salmagundi that is Twitter bubbled over when it was discovered in a poll that one in eight British men believed they could score a point off of tennis legend Serena Williams.

People have long had no clue the level that professional athletes are at, compared to non-professional athletes. You watch on TV. You are removed from the realities of the sport. On TV it goes at a speed that does not nearly capture the speed it actually goes at.

There is a new sport, though, that is rampant in our society, more popular than even the NFL, let alone tennis, and that sport is bashing men whenever the chance presents itself.

People are pretty equally awful when they are awful. It’s not a man thing or a woman thing. It’s a person thing. It’s often a power thing, too. Rare is the person who when fronted with power, doesn’t grab as much as they can. They don’t check themselves and think, “Is this equitable?” That’s both men and woman.

We have become so dogged and hyper-intent on the blood sport of male-bashing. The number one virtue people tend to ascribe to themselves these days is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. I would counter that they should take themselves more seriously, in terms of their character and evaluating their own conduct. This was a fun poll. Silly. Many people answered it with a degree of whimsicality.

If provided the opportunity to compete against the powerful and virtuosic Williams, I bet a lot of guys would be a good sport and take their beating with a smile on their faces. They wouldn’t be training by doing killers in the backyard thinking their chance had come.

Baseline: People say they don’t take themselves too seriously, but they often have a draconian, smothering seriousness that they apply to others. Especially men. Comment after comment like, “If only I had the confidence of a sub-mediocre man.” Nice. That’s really getting to the truth of the matter and helping bring people together.

There have always been individuals who would watch Nolan Ryan and think, "give me 100 pitches, and I'll get a hold of one," and I remember back when I was little the Patriots would hold open tryouts so that some fool across the street from you would pull out his old shoulder pads and head on down to Foxborough and scrimmage against a lot of ex-junior college players and still come home with cracked ribs.

If any non-tennis player—or some weekend warrior, or some ex-high school tennis player who hasn't played in thirty years—tried to stand in against Serena Williams, they would not, in 150,000 attempts, win a point. It's not impossible, but it's pretty close to it (maybe an earthquake would cause her to double fault).

That was not the point of this Twitter trend, though, was it? The point was that here was yet another attempt to try to show how awful men are. Men are bigger, stronger, faster than women, so it makes sense, I suppose, that more delusional men than delusional women would think they had a chance to score a point here.

3% of women felt the same way for their chances. Pretty much the breakdown, based upon bodies and gender—not egotism and sexism—that you'd expect. Albeit from delusional people. And some people having some fun. That does not mean countenancing cruelty and calling it yucks. But rather digging some levity.

Like our elders. Are they the last ones who understand fun now? Because 2% of senior citizens said that they could take a point, which is awesome.

True, they’d actually be far more likely to die—either from fear of the ball or being struck by it—but I love their cheekiness.

And they’ve lived long enough to realize that our society is a lot more sexist than it has been in ages, and not in the way that the self-appointed arbiters of the new, would-be Enlightenment believe.


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