Throughout the years, I have emphasized ever so subtly my deep-seated dislike of sports. I have already made a full exposé on this topic, but what I left out was that occasionally even I, Mojca Pokrajculja, the sports hater per excellence, will succumb to enthusiastic displays of unwholesome frenzy towards athletic pursuits. In other words, it’s tennis season. In case you didn’t make the official page of Roland Garros your homepage during the last two weeks, or if your internet server has been down since Saturday, you might not know that History was made this weekend. First of all Serena won her staggering 31st Grand Slam Title (I was actually rooting for Sharapova, but Serena is just unbeatable) and then there was the Sunday men’s singles finale when a certain someone of Spanish descent won his eight Roland Garros title. I am constantly amazed at Nadal’s ability to make virtually impossible shots from difficult positions. Certain players simply defy the laws of gravity.
Photo source: REUTERS, http://www.europe1.fr/Sport/Multisports/Articles/A-Nadal-la-bataille-1544103/
Even though the entire post could be easily made into an ode dedicated to the Majorcan force-of nature that is Rafael Nadal, I should stick to my agenda. Indeed, my plan was to talk about the final act of the tournament, but not in an annoyingly analyzing way (although I could probably pull that off as well). I watch Roland Garros almost every year. I’ve been a great Rafa fan for the last 8 years and for me this tournament represents the annual sports catharsis. For some inexplicable reason I get very invested with the players I like. Therefore the semi-final match between Nadal and Djokovic was almost torture to watch (but in a good way). It had more ups and downs than Mickey Rourke’s acting career. For Djokovic’s fans it was probably a tragedy in 5 sets. They’ll get over it. Anyway, my goal is not to discuss the virtuoso shots, the double faults or the match highlights (although, they are all available on youtube in HD – so go crazy, I know I have). What was not so glorious was all the drama, and if you watched the match, you know what I’m talking about.
Near the end of the second set the match was interrupted by a group of homophobic bigots. They were standing in the back row holding banners with abusive content. What has this to do with tennis, you ask? Nothing, and that is exactly the point. Members of an anti-gay group simply decided that the Sunday Grand Slam final was the appropriate time and place to promulgate their narrow views on humanity. Let me explain. Some weeks ago, France passed a law sanctioning the same-sex marriage; a fact that did solicit a standing ovation from me, but that wasn’t so well received by all French citizens. Anyway, people being people, some of them got a silly idea into their heads that homosexual relationships are wrong and sinful. Crazy, I know. Be it as it may, they decided to voice their displeasure during Nadal and Ferrer’s confrontation. Regardless of how one feels about their “cause”, sporting events are not platforms for mal-adjusted individuals to spread such verbal filth. It is not in the spirit of sportsmanship.
Eventually, the crowd booed them out (as they should) and they were asked to leave the scene. Just when things were getting back on track, another incident took place. This time a bare-chested man whom I dubbed the Idiot in a Plastic Mask (all copyrights reserved) wielding a torch in his right hand burst onto the central court to make a similar anti-gay statement. It was a scary moment. He seemed to have come out of nowhere and he appeared to be moving towards Nadal. Luckily, the security guard tackled him fairly quickly (talking about man on man action, ironically enough) and eventually he was removed from the court, but it took another minute or so for the smoke to literally blow over. I promised myself to stay above name-calling, but such an act of cowardice could only come from a beslobbering boil-brained lout (thank you Shakespeare Insult Kit). He put in danger not only the lives of the players, but also those of the spectators. This kind of behaviour has no place on a tennis or any other kind of court.
I really hope that the individual in question will be legally persecuted. It is a shame that sporting events must be polluted by such primitive provocations. These people have no respect for the game at all. To think that they spend hundreds of Euros to get the tickets just so that they could cause uproar during the match is ridiculous. I mean, there were people willing to prostitute themselves for those seats, or so I hear. In words of a randomly picked tennis enthusiast who commented on this act of cave-man mentality, “C’était lamentable.” Yes, Mr. Anonymous Commentator, it was. I only hope interruptions of this kind won’t become a regular feature of sporting events. It would be a real pity, wouldn’t it?